Everything to Take on a Mission

What Does Everything a Male Missionary Takes on Their Mission Look like?

This is one Elder’s Luggage before putting it all in a suitcase:  Click Imgur Link

And for Sister Missionaries?  Can’t find a photo yet.  Still Looking

Coming home early

Coming home early from my mission, was a nightmare scenario that sometimes kept me up at night on my mission.  It was an irrational worry I’m sure.  But, I have a lot of sympathy for Missionaries that come home early for whatever reason.  There is a great pull to stay and finish your mission. This is an important thing, otherwise more would come home.  However, for those that do come home early, there must be compassion and an accepting when they come back.

This SLtrib article says that 58% of early returning missionaries felt they were treated coldly or indifferently by ward members.  73% reported feelings of failure.  In defense of indifferent ward members, it is somewhat of an awkward scenario when you unexpectedly run into someone that you thought was still on a mission.  What the heck do you say?  “Hey, I thought you were on a mission?”  “How was the two months you spent on your mission”?  “Why did you come home?”  All, crappy questions.

When I was recently confronted with this scenario at Church, this is how my conversation with my young friend went.  “I am proud of you”.  I gave him a hug and then we moved the conversation to what his plans were now.  It was the best I could think of.   And I am proud of him for coming to church after coming home early from his mission.  It is a difficult thing.

 

Should I serve a Mission?

I have a daughter.  Sometimes she says she wants to serve a mission, sometimes she says she doesn’t want to serve a mission.  Sometimes I want her to serve a mission and sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I don’t care either way.  I really liked the bullet points in the new era article to Young Women on making the choice whether or not to serve a mission.

In answers to thought and prayer on whether to serve, here are some possible responses:

  • Yes, you want to serve, and now you’re called to the work (see D&C 4:3).
  • Yes, even though you never thought you’d serve a full-time mission, it feels like it’s Heavenly Father’s plan for you at this time in your life.
  • Yes, it will be right to serve in the near future, so prepare diligently, but wait a little longer for the right timing.
  • No, it’s not right at this time, but it may be in a few years.
  • No, Heavenly Father has a different plan for you, even if serving a full-time mission is something you’d like to do.
  • No, you don’t want to serve a full-time mission, and you don’t need to.
  • No response at all—perhaps this is one of those times when Heavenly Father is leaving the decision up to you because He trusts your choice.

The sister missionaries from our ward came over last night for dinner.  It reminded me of when I was on my mission and how much I enjoyed having sister missionaries in my district.  They brought a maturity and grace that we learned from.  So, to my daughter I won’t give any advice other than make sure you are ready and completely certain that you should go.

Apply for College before my mission?

Should you go to college for a semester before going on your mission? Should you apply to college, get accepted and then defer? The deseretnews brings up a good point in this article.  Now that many can go on their mission right out of High School, it is tempting to just put off even the thought of college until you get home.  It used to be that those that decided to go to college would spend a year there first and then they knew where they were going when they got home.  It has now become a little more complicated…..

One problem with putting the college decision off until after your mission is that there are application deadlines and testing requirements.  More than one missionary got stuck at the end of their mission without having any post mission plans.  It is more difficult to make post mission plans during your mission than it is before your mission.  So decide now, do you want to go to college after your mission?  If the answer is yes, than you should probably contact the college admissions department and see what their policy is on deferment.  If you can apply, get accepted and defer, your stress level in coming home will be a whole lot less.

As the Deseretnews article says “Apply and defer, it is one of the most important things you can do.”

Missionary Bags

See the GiftsForMormons list of the Top Missionary Bags

Missionaries wearing backpacks has been an image in the mind of many people for many years.  It had become almost as iconic as a nametag or white shirt and tie.  That is why we were surprised when the rules changed and we found out that Missionary bags were no longer backpacks.  We quickly re-grouped, re-loaded and came up with a list of Missionary Bags that are now approved and Mission Worthy.  When considering which backpacks were good enough to be considered for GiftsforMormons.com, we considered the following criteria:

1).  Durability: You want your missionary bag or shoulder bag to last for the duration of your mission.  When I went (Over 10 Years ago) I bought the cheapest JanSport bag that was available at Walmart.  After carrying heavy books and materials around for about 1 year, the shoulder strap completely tore off.  I was stuck in Russia without a bag.  So, I went down to the Rinok and bought another one of the cheapest bags that I could.  After two months it broke again.  My next bag was an expensive leather shoulder bag with an American logo.  I wasted way too much time and money on cheap bags.  So, you will want to look for a leather, cotton canvas, or ballistic nylon that will last throughout your mission.

2).  Functionality: You don’t want stuff to fall out of your bag.  So, you need a bag with good deep pockets and strong zippers.  On your mission, your bag is going to be flapping all over the place.  It is going to upside when you ride your bike, it is going to be all over the place as you try to squeeze onto the bus and it is going to be neglected as you rush to transfer all of your belongings.  The LAST thing you want to worry about is having all of your materials, pencils and books falling out while riding your bike or while in the bus.

3).  Comfort:  Find a bag that sits comfortably on your shoulder and hip.  Most bags have the ability to adjust sizes which will be necessary for the bag to rest neatly on your hip.  A skinnier shoulder strap may not be as comfortable as a thicker one.

4). Looks: You want to look good.  Or, depending on your personality, you may want to look a little different than what everyone is doing.

5).  Price:  Getting ready to go on a mission is expensive, just ask your parents. ;}.  So, you don’t want to break the bank when considering a missionary bag.  However, at the same time, don’t make the same mistake that I did.  The least amount I would spend on a missionary bag is $50.00.  The most I would spend is $80.00.

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