“FYI: For Your Information,” New Era, June 1989, 48–51
Some skills that you will often use on your mission you can start learning now. Don’t shy away from learning these skills because they will come in very handy on your mission.
Learn a second language. In school, sign up for language classes. Even if you learn German in school and end up serving in a Spanish-speaking mission, it will help. It’s easier to learn another foreign language when you’ve already studied one.
Keep practicing the piano. If you have the chance to take piano lessons, don’t quit until you feel comfortable playing hymns. This ability will be a welcome asset to the people you will serve.
Get used to different foods. Learn to try new and different things to eat. On your mission you’ll have the chance to eat many dishes that may be foreign to you. Learn to try new things.
Accept speaking assignments. When asked to be the youth speaker in your ward, accept the assignment and learn how to prepare a good talk. You’ll have many opportunities to speak on your mission.
Learn to cook and do laundry. It will make your life as a missionary much easier if you already know the basics of keeping your clothes in good shape and preparing well-balanced meals.
Practice memorizing. Learning how to memorize as you are growing up will help when you are faced with learning discussions and scriptures.
Learn to meet people politely. On your mission, you will make many new acquaintances. Learn now how to be polite and sensitive in meeting new people. Develop the ability to listen to newcomers and make them feel welcome.
Currently the average cost worldwide for a missionary is $300 per month. Actual costs can, of course, vary substantially above or below that depending on the specific mission. However you should consider this as a minimum amount.
In addition to the monthly cost, you should plan on approximately $1,500 in initial costs before leaving for the MTC. This would cover the costs of clothing purchases, luggage, scriptures, other proselyting materials, and the first $100 for travel.
If you plan for missionary service with these figures in mind, you will find yourself well on your way toward meeting the financial needs of a mission.
If you would like to get a head start on mastering the scriptures you will need on your mission, here is the list suggested in the missionary gospel study program:
The Purpose of Missionary Work
Finding People to Teach
Baptizing and Fellowshipping
In order to receive a mission call, you must be recommended by your priesthood leader. You can talk with him and let him know of your desire to serve a mission, but you cannot recommend yourself. You arrange for an interview with your bishop or branch president, who will determine your worthiness and ability to serve. When he recommends you, a Missionary Recommend form is then completed and signed by both of you.
The bishop also gives you a Health-Dental Record form. The health portion of the form is completed in part by you and in part by a licensed physician, who then returns it to your bishop. The dental portion of the form is given to your dentist, who completes the form and returns it to your bishop.
If the Health-Dental Record indicates nothing that would affect your ability to serve effectively, you are then referred to your stake president or mission president for another interview. You take along with you the Missionary Recommend form and the Health-Dental Record form. Two photographs need to be attached to your recommendation form. These photos should be appropriate for a missionary. If the stake president concurs with the bishop to recommend you for a mission, he signs the Missionary Recommend form and forwards it along with the Health-Dental Record to the Missionary Department for processing and ultimately for assignment.
The following are a few statistics relating to missionary work worldwide. The numbers are rounded off.
Number of Missions
Number of Missionaries
in the field
at the MTC
from the U.S.
from other countries
The following countries use mostly native missionaries: Colombia, El Salvador, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Samoa, Tonga, United States. Other nations have some local missionaries, but not as high a percentage as the nations listed.
You’ll begin your mission at your assigned Missionary Training Center, where you’ll be involved in intense gospel training to prepare you for the mission field.
Your stay at the MTC will depend on your mission call. If you’re going to a mission where the language spoken is foreign to you, your stay will be eight weeks and language training will occupy about a quarter of your training hours. If you are going to an area where your native language is spoken, your stay will be about three weeks. All missionaries learn the missionary discussions, develop teaching skills, study the scriptures, and learn about the culture and customs of the people they’ll be teaching.
At the MTC you’ll have a room that you will share with companions. Just as you may have done at school or at home, you’ll have a routine of making your bed, washing your clothes, and keeping your room neat and in order.
You will attend language and gospel study classes as well as classes to prepare you for teaching and for a foreign culture depending on your call.
You will sit down to good meals with other missionaries in the cafeteria. This is a chance to enjoy talking with others about their interests and backgrounds.
At the MTC you’ll participate in a regular program of healthful exercises such as jogging, calisthenics, volleyball, and weight lifting. It’s a nice break from your studies and helps keep you healthy and energetic.
You will have the opportunity to hear from Church leaders in weekly devotionals. You will be part of a branch that holds regular Sunday church meetings. Also, weekly temple attendance is encouraged on your preparation day.
For missionaries, common courtesy in church is essential. Here are a few things to think about:
Smile pleasantly and greet members and investigators warmly.
Lower your voice and slow your pace in congested areas.
Avoid boisterous behavior.
Be prompt for every meeting. Be in your seat five minutes before the meeting begins.
Do not comb your hair or clip your fingernails in church meetings.
Do not eat, chew gum, or use toothpicks in church.
Join in singing all songs.
Listen quietly and attentively. Do not sleep or act bored.
Help, don’t hinder, the reverence in the chapel.
Join in an audible “amen” at the conclusion of prayers.
While serving as a missionary, your appearance should be suitable for a representative of the Lord. How you look should strengthen what you say, not detract from it. Appropriate dress and grooming will help earn the respect and trust of those with whom you work.
Missionaries should dress conservatively. Elders wear white shirts and conservative ties and business suits in conservative colors while proselyting and to all meetings, unless otherwise directed by the mission president. Sisters wear conservative colors. Skirts and dresses should cover the knees. Pantsuits and floor-length shirts and dresses are not appropriate.
Elders should keep their hair trimmed above the collar and ears. Extreme or bulky styles are not acceptable. Elders should not have moustaches or beards, and side burns should not extend below the middle of the ear. Sisters should choose hairstyles that are conservative and easily maintained. Missionaries should keep their hair clean and neatly combed at all times.
Missionaries should be neat and clean in every way.
Several books are suggested reading to help you prepare to serve a mission:
The LDS editions of the standard works.
Gospel Principles (PBIC0245).
A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, LeGrand Richards, rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1966).
Jesus the Christ, James E. Talmage, 3d ed. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1916).
The Articles of Faith, James E. Talmage, 12th ed. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1916).
Truth Restored (PBMI0164).
Books with PB numbers following the title can be ordered through Church distribution centers. Other books can be obtained or ordered through LDS bookstores.
Note: If you want to read the Book of Mormon three times in two years, you need read just two pages per day.
Your time as a missionary is precious, so each day should be used to full advantage. Following is an example of a recommended daily schedule:
Study time with companion
End proselyting; plan next day’s activities
If you are serving where you are learning another language, spend time each day studying that language. Schedule time also for writing in your journal and for regular exercise.