Are you worried about how you’ll do adjusting to mission life? That seems to be a pretty common preoccupation with many missionaries preparing to go out to the field. After all, up to this point in your life, you’ve been choosing your bedtime, outfits, daily activities, what to read, and where to go (and you still will, to some extent). But things are going to be different once you put on that tag.
Those feelings are natural, but don’t let them overwhelm you. Sure, life will be different—for the better. Think about what Preach My Gospel has to say: “Obedience is the first law of heaven. It is an act of faith.” (122) That’s right—obedience means a lot more than just doing what you’re told. When you do what the Lord asks, you are growing in faith. Take your call for example. The Lord has asked you to leave behind your home and family to serve Him for 18 months to 2 years. Your first leap of faith happened the day you sent in those mission papers. You’ve already grown more than you know. This is just the beginning of many tests of faith to come throughout the duration of your service.
So what can you do now to prepare for a mission of exact obedience?
1. Choose now to be an obedient missionary. One thing that is going to register poignantly in your mind as a missionary is the ability to choose—also known as agency. Remember, you can choose to be happy about doing what is asked of you. No one is making you frustrated but yourself. It’s mind over matter.
2. Conversion starts now. The best way to prepare for the missionary lifestyle is to gain a testimony of the work for yourself. Why are you choosing (there’s that word again) to serve? Who is this benefiting? Whether it’s 18 months or 2 years, this time is not about you. It’s about the people you’re called to serve. It’s about God and His love for all His children. If you can convert yourself to His eternal purposes, then adjusting to mission life will come much easier.
3. Serve, serve, serve! Love everyone around you. Bless their lives. If you get in the habit of serving now, mission life won’t be so foreign.
4. Read the Missionary Handbook. This little book will become your best friend. Familiarize yourself now with the guidelines it sets. Then you’ll know a little of what to expect when you leave for the mission.
Adjusting to mission culture may seem a little scary, but you are promised that, through obedience, you will “increase faith, knowledge, wisdom, testimony, protection and freedom” (PMG 122). And, if you’re not feeling too confident in yourself, remember that the Lord has placed all of His confidence in you. That’s why you received your call. This is your opportunity to prove to Him your willingness to obey and follow Him. You won’t be perfect, but the Lord knows your heart. You do your best, and you’ll see miracles.