Mission Callings
Resources for Managing Intellectual Demands

“Resources for Managing Intellectual Demands,” Adjusting to Missionary Life (2013), 41–43

“Resources for Managing Intellectual Demands,” Adjusting to Missionary Life, 41–43

Resources for Managing Intellectual Demands

Intellectual demands affect us differently. The abilities we have will be enough to accomplish God’s work if we trust Him to make up the difference between our skill and what is needed. Suggestions below may help with some issues. Also refer to the “General Principles for Managing Stress” section on pages 17–22 for additional ideas.

elder missionaries studying


Learning the Language

  • Study Preach My Gospel, chapter 7. Prayerfully apply this chapter, “How Can I Better Learn My Mission Language?”

  • Keep working hard. Trust the Lord to bless you with the gift of tongues as you need it to accomplish what He desires. Remember, few missionaries become completely fluent in a new language. The Lord knows you, called you, and will use your strengths to bless others. He will compensate for your weakness. Contribute all the gifts you have.

  • Have fun with your new language. Sometimes it is easier to speak a new language when we don’t expect ourselves to be experts.


Staying Organized with Goals and Plans

  • Use the scheduling tools you were given in Preach My Gospel. Study chapter 8, “How Do I Use Time Wisely?” These tools have been carefully developed for missionaries and will help you accomplish your purpose. Focus on one thing at a time, and don’t get overwhelmed.

  • Don’t rely on just your memory. Write down names, addresses, appointments, lesson plans, and goals. Post reminder notes for important things on the door, the fridge, by your bed, or in your planner.

  • Put everything you’ll need the next day in a specific place before you go to bed. Then you won’t risk forgetting something important. Keep important things in the same place so you don’t waste time looking for them.

  • When you get distracted, kindly but firmly direct your attention back to your task. Do this as often as you need to.

  • Turn your day over to the Lord. Once you have done what you can to plan thoroughly, ask Him to work things together for your good. Be flexible and responsive to the Spirit.


Not Feeling as Smart or as Capable as Others

  • If reading, studying, or memorizing is hard for you, be patient with yourself. Take short breaks frequently at first; then gradually study for a few minutes longer at a time. Take notes on what you read to help you remember. Read out loud (quietly) if it helps. Try memorizing by (1) repeating things out loud, (2) reading or writing things several times, or (3) moving around and acting things out as you learn. See which technique works best for you. Use other strengths you have, such as contacting potential investigators, navigating, or being cheerful.

    sister missionary reading
  • Keep your sense of humor when you make a mistake. Then try again.

  • Find the strength in a weakness. Sometimes having a weakness teaches us strengths like compassion, empathy, patience, humility, and reliance on the Lord. Sometimes a weakness (like being easily distracted) has a strength that goes with it (like noticing things others miss). Look for the strengths that might come from your weaknesses.

  • If you feel jealous of someone else’s skills, refocus your attention on your personal mission. Put your energy into developing your strengths and contributing them to the work. This is your mission. (See Preach My Gospel, 10–11.)