This booklet is a resource we gave the new missionaries today. I’ve copied the first few pages for you to read if you’d like to get a feel for the excellent resources we have for these missionaries. (The entire booklet is more than 50 pages long and has a section of very useful tools and tips for dealing with stress of every variety.)
Stress counselors tell us you should never do more than two big things at a time in your life–things like getting married or moving or going off to school or losing a friend. When big events double up, stress happens. It’s a normal thing.
Each arriving missionary is paired up with a “Senior Companion,” someone with experience in the mission. From that moment on each missionary has the responsibility to stay with their companion, within eyesight and hearing of each other. It’s a responsibility most have never experienced before and takes some getting used to.
Then there is the busy missionary schedule. They have long very structured days, free of television, video games, cell phones, computers. They spend several hours a day in personal and companionship study, preparing lessons to teach as they greet people throughout their day, and some are learning and perfecting their language skills. Many are not used to waking each day at 6:30 am and continuing until 10:30 pm with a long busy day in between those hours.
Those first 12 weeks are certainly a period of adjustment to a very different lifestyle. Many missionaries long for home, their comfy beds, the security of home and family to surround them, familiar foods, someone who they can engage in casual conversation without having to attempt frantic translations.
This booklet is a huge help to our missionaries. The assessment below also helps them identify what might be causing stress, and then the suggestions and tools in the rest of the book give dozens of ideas of ways to deal with those challenges. I hope this will be helpful to you. I’m also new, and this has been helpful to me.
This booklet is excellent. If you are a parent of a missionary, please be aware that there is a huge amount of adjusting that takes place in these next 12 weeks! It’s an exciting time, but can also be a bit stressful. Please encourage your missionary and be their best cheerleader. Keep your focus on the work, the future, and their strengths as you write to them. President Lewis and I will also do our best to help in any way we can. We love these missionaries!
Here are a few helpful suggestions you might share:
- Look for ways to serve others! Missionary work is a call to service. Begin now to look for ways to reach out in love to those around you, a kind word, an act of charity, or friendship.
- Focus on strengthening your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Seek the spirit through prayer, study, uplifintg music. Ponder upon how Heavenly Father will strengthen you to do his work.
- Develop an attitude of Gratitude – Offer a prayer of tratitude each day for those things you have been blessed with and the calling you have received.
- Be kind and patient with yourself – remember everyone gets frustrated or makes mistakes at times. Remember that thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness are not from the Lord. Know that the Lord understands and will be with you every step of the way.
- Expect the unexpected – the missionary experience is different for everyone! Be open and receptive to change!
An adjustment period for missionaries is entirely normal. It is not in any way a sign that they lack faith or a testimony of the gospel. They are learning the skills that it takes to be successful and that takes time. Life as a missionary will be different than anyone could ever tell you or try to prepare you beforehand.
“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up”
— Doctrine and Covenants 84:88