“Learning More about What’s in Store,” New Era, Oct. 2014, 32–33
Since President Thomas S. Monson announced the change in age for missionary service, youth all over the Church have eagerly responded not only to the invitation to serve but also to the invitation to prepare to serve. And one way to prepare is to learn more about what’s in store if you become a full-time missionary.
Some youth in Norway did exactly that during a day-long “Missionary Experience” hosted by one of the wards in their stake.
The youth gathered at the meetinghouse in a room that represented a missionary training center. “We received an assignment to learn about a country,” says Jakob R. “It gave us a feeling for what it must be like to receive a mission call and know that you could be called to a place that’s different from what you’re used to.”
“Then we went next door to meet a returned missionary who was playing the role of a mission president,” says Simon W. The returned missionary and other returned missionaries talked about what to expect while serving a mission. “I thought it was really neat to learn from returned missionaries what to expect during a full-time mission,” Simon says. Participants also received a name badge, were assigned a companion, and were instructed to remain with their companion at all times.
Workshops taught the youth about developing spiritually but also about managing temporal needs such as doing laundry, following a budget, and staying in good physical condition.
“I particularly enjoyed the workshop about how to start gospel conversations,” says Inger Sofie J. “That’s something I can start doing right now.”
“I enjoyed discussing how to use Preach My Gospel,” says Karl Frederik O. “I had always thought that missionaries had their own list of scriptures to learn, but I found out that what I’m already doing in seminary will help me as a missionary and so will what I’m already studying in Preach My Gospel.”
Many young men said that one of the most memorable workshops included hands-on experience with ironing a white shirt. “It reminded me that there are a lot of practical skills I can work on to get ready for a full-time mission,” says Jakob.
“I learned that there is a lot I can be doing right now to join with the full-time missionaries serving here so that we are all part of the same team,” says Sarah R. “Members are missionaries too.”
As a reminder that missionaries serve all over the world, refreshments featured recipes from a variety of nations. “That reminded me that I should try new foods now so that I’m used to trying things I don’t eat all the time. That will help me to adjust more quickly if I’m called to a place where they eat things I’m not used to,” says Simon.
“At the end of the day, after we heard the testimonies of two of the youth and two newly returned missionaries, we sang the hymn ‘Called to Serve,’” says Liss Andrea O. “I felt that if I keep singing this hymn all the time, I will have a constant reminder that when we are missionaries, we are serving Heavenly Father and He will bless us.”
By the end of the day, the youth in the stake understood that not only are they preparing for potential missionary experiences but that they can have missionary experiences right now and through the rest of their lives.