When I was younger I liked to waste time. But before I left on my mission, my grandpa advised me that I should “Work hard.” As I thought about what it would mean for me to work hard, I realized that time wasting would need to be a thing of the past. While in the MTC I was amazed at how much time was available if I didn’t want to waste it. I made 3×5 cards with scriptures I wanted to memorize and studied them while waiting in line. I found that when I focused my energies on studying, I was able to learn much more than I previously thought possible.
Throughout my mission I was blessed by trying to make use of every minute, but one story that particularly stands out happened in the first month of my mission. My companion and I were on exchanges with members. A ward member and I had an appointment for 7:30, and we arrived at about 7:20. Rather than waiting in the car until the appointed time, we decided to knock on a few doors. At the fourth door a man answered and we explained that we were missionaries and had a message to share with their family. He told us he was not interested and so we began walking to the next house.
But before we had left the driveway, a woman came to the door and asked if we were Mormons. When we said yes, she invited us to come back. It turns out that Lisa (the woman at the door) was a member of the church, although she had not been for many years. She had two children, Jessica and David who were old enough to be baptized but did not know anything about the church. She invited us to teach them the missionary lessons.
To make a long story short, some of the greatest teaching experiences in my first area were with Jessica and David. I loved those children and it was a great joy to see them get baptized. Ironically the person that we had originally supposed to see that night chose not to learn more about the gospel. But I was so glad that we had used our time wisely, and by so doing met a wonderful family.
I believe that one of the greatest lessons you can learn before your mission is to use time wisely. Of course it’s okay to have fun – you don’t have to be studying for your mission nonstop! At the same time, I believe that many teenagers would bless their lives and their future investigators and companions by spending a little more time before their mission preparing for their mission. As you choose to study Preach My Gospel, memorize passages of scripture, seriously study the Book of Mormon, and so forth, you will be preparing yourself for one of the greatest experiences of your life.