Hey bud -
Can you read the email below and respond for the young men (& women) in our stake. I just need you to send me any advice for those who are preparing/considering a mission and a few comments about what they can expect once they're in the field.
Love and miss you son!
I dont know if I ever went to anything like that?! But I think this will be an awesome thing and I’m happy to help!
How to prepare... hmmmm… I think there are a lot of things you can do to prepare. Helaman , a very familiar scripture, talks about building upon the foundation of Christ. In 3rd Nephi , Christ talks about how as we come to church, partake of the sacrament and renew our covenants we are building upon that "rock" or foundation and he makes some great promises! He tells us that if we don’t do those things "the gates of hell are ready, open to receive them." Well, conversely, this also means that if we are continually coming to church and living worthy to partake of the sacrament that those gates will be closed. Point #1: GO TO CHURCH!!
Second word of advice comes from 2nd Nephi 33:10, one of my absolute favorite verses in the scriptures. Nephi testifies of Christ and the divinity of his calling as The Lord's mouthpiece. He admonishes all of us to listen to his words because they have been given to him by Christ. It is surprising how often we’re asked to listen. As we listen to living prophets and the prophets of old we will gain a divine understanding of His work that will benefit all of us. Point #2: READ THE SCRIPTURES!! STUDY DAILY!! (Yes this also includes PMG).
The third and final word of advice on what to do to prepare for a mission comes from Alma 26, one of my favorite CHAPTERS in the Book of Mormon. Ammon is talking to the people about the great effect their work is having and will have on the people. He talks about how as they went out they had hoped "to be the means of saving some soul." But as they went out their work affected many! "Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruit of our labors and are they few? I say unto you, nay, they are many." This happened because they shared a message that was important to them. They bore sincere testimony of the things they knew to be true. Point #3: BARE YOUR TESTIMONY!! GO HOME TEACHING AND TEACH!! GO OUT WITH THE MISSIONARIES!! Father's, have your sons share the message during your home teaching visits (I’m so glad you made me do that!). Sons, have faith that you will strengthen the testimony of your wonderful families you have stewardship over! Experience is the best teacher. I wish I would have learned that sooner. The testimony inside of you has been given to you by The Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead!! What a precious gift! It truly is an amazing thing. The adversary will try to tell you differently. Don't let him!
As for what to expect when you're in the field, expect hard work! Expect to be out of your house most of the day. Expect to be tired. Expect The Spirit to work so strongly in your life you will be exhausted in every sense. You will have spiritual promptings you didnt know you could have. Listen to them! President Monson is a wonderful example of this. Your nature will change if you align your will with God's. You will become an instrument in His hands. You will see lives change because of this wonderful message. Expect your testimony to grow. Expect your horizon to be expanded as to what you are capable of. Expect your companions to teach you what is right and what is wrong – you don’t know everything! Expect their teachings to come by counsel and by example, both the good and the bad. Stay firm in your testimony and reasoning for being on a mission. "Remember who you are." (That phrase has stuck with me my entire life. I remember you telling me that as I would walk out the door to go play football with Clayton and Robert in our front yard and not knowing what you meant. You said it when you dropped us off for seminary and every time I left the house. But, every time you said it I felt the Spirit of Truth remind me of what was right). Expect your mission to become hard enough, at times, you feel like turning back. Every missionary, as REPRESENTATIVES OF CHRIST, will be expected to walk through their own Gethsemane. They will have to carry their own cross to Golgotha. But as we do that remember that there was One who walked before us. Remember what He has done for me and for you because it WILL change your life. It has to! Just as Joseph Smith says in the 127th section of the Doctrine and Covenants "Deep water is what [we] all want to swim in." As we sign the bottom of those mission papers we are declaring to Christ and our Father in Heaven that we want to do a hard thing. It is something I have come to know and come to love. This work is literally the greatest work we will ever do. Paul glorified in his tribulations, as we should glorify our God when the going gets tough.
Go forth and Serve!
Elder Daniel Peterson