Q&A: Questions and Answers

    “Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, June 2000, 10

    Special Issue: Your Mission

    Q&A: Questions and Answers

    Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

    I want to serve a mission because I know it’s the right thing to do, but I’m very nervous about receiving a mission call. How do I know I’ll have what it takes to be a good missionary?

    New Era

    • Remember, your calling comes from the Lord. He will help you succeed.

    • Do all you can to prepare, especially when it comes to personal prayer and scripture study.

    • Clear up any unresolved sin. A clear conscience will help you focus on effective preparation.

    • Enroll in seminary or home-study, excellent tools for learning the gospel so you can teach it to others.

    • Learn to take care of yourself and get along with others now.

    For some people, the harder the mission, the better. Such people tend to be pretty adventurous. They have the ability to see that although it might make them uncomfortable to be a missionary, their discomfort is a small price to pay for the spiritual growth they will experience and the blessings they will bring to themselves and others. For others, however, a mission can be so intimidating that even the most worthy individuals can wonder whether or not they can really go through with it.

    Prophets and Church leaders have reminded us to take heart when it comes to fear about serving a mission. In a general conference address, President Thomas S. Monson said, “Entering the mission field can sometimes be an overpowering and frightening experience. President Harold B. Lee was talking to me one day concerning those who feel inadequate and are worried when they receive an assignment in the Church. He counseled, ‘Remember, whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies’” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 50).

    Assess your worthiness. Are there any matters you need to take care of through the repentance process? Do you need the help of your bishop? If so, don’t put it off. Taking care of unresolved sin will help you focus on the other things you need to do to prepare to be a messenger of the Lord. You’ll also be able to handle life’s other challenges much better when you’re not unnecessarily burdened.

    After a personal worthiness inventory, there are other important things you can do to be prepared spiritually. You’re much less likely to be scared about a mission if you really have a knowledge and testimony of the gospel. Get in the habit of daily scripture reading. Concentrate on learning the seminary scripture mastery verses. Pay attention and ask questions at Church meetings and in family home evening. Make a real effort to make your prayers more meaningful. Ask Heavenly Father for the strength to overcome your weaknesses and fears.

    Finally, begin learning now to be a self-sufficient and independent person. Join your parents in the kitchen to learn how to make some simple meals. Get acquainted with the washer and dryer. Develop a peaceful and loving relationship with your siblings—it’s great practice for getting along with your mission companions. If possible, do something to earn extra money. Not only will your income give you important practice in how to budget, but it will also give you a way to contribute to your mission fund.

    No matter what happens, being a missionary is a different kind of life than what you’ve been living up until now, so there’s bound to be some nervousness. But if you’ve done your best to be worthy and prepared, you won’t be able to keep from being pretty excited, too.


    When my brothers prepared for their missions they prayed, studied, stayed morally clean, and never lost sight of their goal to go on a mission. I learned a lot about missionary work from them. If I follow their example, I know I’ll have what it takes to be a good missionary too.

    Jami Farmer, 15
    Sandy, Utah

    I know a lot of missionaries, and they were all nervous about going on a mission, but it seemed that once they got started, they had a wonderful experience teaching the gospel. I think that faith in Heavenly Father is one of the best things a missionary can have.

    Sarah Davis, 15
    Welland, Ontario, Canada

    Doctrine and Covenants 4:5 states: “And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God qualify him for the work.” If you follow this advice, you’ll become the missionary our Father in Heaven would have you be.

    Elder Spencer M. Smith, 19
    California San Fernando Mission

    Since you have a desire to go on a mission, you are already halfway there. Remember that when you’re a missionary, someone could be waiting to hear what you have to say, and that the Lord is with you.

    Lindsey Jacobs, 14
    Sandy, Utah

    The main thing you need when you’re preparing for a mission is a desire to serve. A true desire to gain a testimony, work hard, be obedient, and give dedicated service to the Lord will make you a great missionary.

    Elder Kevin Bryant, 25
    California Long Beach Mission

    Photography by Craig Dimond, posed by model

    Shortly after President Hinckley arrived in England, where he served his mission, he began to feel discouraged about the work and his ability to do it. He wrote his father a letter expressing his feelings and wondering if he ought to come home. His father wrote this reply: “Forget yourself and go to work.”
    A good missionary is one that is willing to work and sacrifice, no matter what his natural abilities or talents might be.