10 ideas to prepare to serve a mission

Back in July 2000, just after I graduated high school and while I was preparing to serve as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints myself, I gave a talk in sacrament meeting on preparing for a mission. In that talk I spoke about nine things that young men and women preparing to serve missions should work on now:

  1. Want to serve a mission.
  2. Choose to serve a mission.
  3. Learn to recognize and invite the Spirit.
  4. Get to know the scriptures.
  5. Be excited about the gospel.
  6. Earn money.
  7. Learn to know and love foreign cultures.
  8. Learn to do housework.
  9. Live a morally clean life.
10 things to prepare to serve a mission (handwritten list)
The handwritten list of 10 ideas to prepare for missionary service that I wrote while I was serving as a missionary myself. I recently rediscovered it while sorting through and digitizing personal papers from my mission.

When we published this talk in the October 2014 issue of Dialann, I noted that I meant to include ten things to work on, but I inadvertently skipped number 8 when I recorded this talk in my journal back in 2000 and, I presume, when I presented it. So recently when I was sorting through and digitizing a number of items from my own mission — I served in the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission from 2001 to 2003 — I was interested to find a handwritten list of 10 updated things those preparing to serve missions should focus on. Unfortunately this list doesn’t have a date on it, so I don’t know when in the course of my mission I wrote it. I also don’t recall how I used the updated list; was it in a church talk or presentation, or just my own musings that I chose to put on paper? I don’t know. But, whenever I wrote it, it had the bit of authority I could claim as a missionary with at least some experience under my belt.

Here’s the list.

1. Have a willingness to serve.

  • Have a willingness to serve the Lord and others in the way the Lord directs through His Spirit — the Holy Ghost — and his inspired servants.
  • D&C 4:3 — “… if ye have desires …”
  • essential to receiving mission call.


2. Learn to cook.

3. Learn to clean.

4. Learn to budget time and money.

5. Learn to ride public transportation.


6. Learn to like different foods.

7. Attend church meetings, seminary, and institute.

8. Read the Book of Mormon and other scriptures. Memorize

  • “scriptures” include the words of modern prophets
  • Memorize:

9. Learn to say “thank you” and “please.”

[I drew a line here to separate these items under “Learn to be dependent” from item #10.]

10. Do missionary work now.

Now, nearly 15 years after the end of my mission, I look back at this list and still think that it’s a pretty good one.

Here’s the original handwritten list. Please note that this is not my usual handwriting; I was clearly writing these notes for personal use, so I didn’t see the need to take the time for my normal, very neat penmanship.

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