Missionary FAQs

Of the 419 missions (as of March 19, 2016) in the world, some are very expensive, some are very cold, some hot, some humid, some dry.

But some are just plain DIRTY.

This list is by no means comprehensive and doesn’t mean that there are unsanitary conditions even in some of the mission apartments in Provo, Utah. Ahem…P-day cleaning! However, we wanted to come up with a list to help missionaries who are preparing to serve in some of the least sanitary countries so that they can know what to look out for and how they might avoid getting sick.

If an elder shakes hands with 20 people per day (on average) and has a 23 months in the mission field (after their time in the MTC), they have shaken hands with 13,800 people by the time their mission ends. For sisters thats 10,200! That’s a lot of hands! We don’t want to make moms nervous or anyone nervous for that matter, but there are things you can do to make sure you are keeping yourself healthy during your mission. But first, here are the missions in the countries with the least overall sanitation:

The Least Sanitary Mission Countries

  1. Brazil (There are 34 Missions)
    • I listed Brazil as #1 because not because there are 39 million people without proper sanitation, but because there are 34 missions. That’s more missions than any other country other than the US (124 missions) and Mexico (tied at 34), but both the US and Mexico have much better sanitation than Brazil.
  2. India Banaglore and India New Delhi Missions
    • 818 million people in India don’t have access to a toilet connected to a septic tank. That’s a lot of squatters. Toilet paper? I don’t think so. And without a toilet are there places to wash hands?
  3. The 6 Nigerian missions (Benin City, Calabar, Enugu, Lagos, Owerri and Port Harcourt)
    • 103 million people in Nigeria don’t have access to proper sanitation
  4. Indonesia Jakarta Mission
    • 109 million people lack access to sanitation in Indonesia
  5. Vietnam Hanoi Mission
    • 22 Million don’t have access to proper sanitation in Vietnam
  6. All the Philippines Missions (There are 21)
    • 22 Million don’t have access to proper sanitation in the Philippines
  7. Democratic Republic of Congo (3 Missions)
    • 50 Million don’t have access to proper sanitation in DR Congo
  8. Ghana (4 Missions)
    • 20 million in Ghana don’t have access to proper sanitation
  9. Kenya Nairobi Mission
    • 27 Million in Kenya don’t have access to proper sanitation

This information came from takepart.com (see the infographic at the bottom of the article).

What can you do to stay healthy in these missions?

  1. Keep your hands clean with HAND SANITIZER.
    • PureBioGuard is the best hand sanitizer we have found. In countries where running water is not clean or is not available, hand sanitizer is absolutely key. PureBioGuard is way inexpensive and one pack can last an entire mission (per missionary). You can read more about it here. With just one use, it is engineered to keep your hands clean all day long no matter how many hands you shake and even if you wash your hands. PureBioGuard is alcohol-free, Triclosan-free, non-toxic, and completely safe for kids, pets, and the environment. It will last 12+ hours and has been proven to maintain effectiveness through up to 10 hand-washings! It will then shed naturally as the skin regenerates a new layer. This brand is actually used by many missions around the world already who buy it in bulk (but is not officially endorsed by the Church).
  2. Just say NO to meals that are not sanitary.
    • Be kind to members who cook, but if it comes down to it, it really is okay to say no to a meal that you know was not prepared with properly sanitized hands or in a sanitized home. This can be very difficult because you don’t want to offend the members or investigators. However, remember that over 10,000 hours of proselyting time were lost in just 4 months (according to one study from the BYU department of health sciences) because of illness/injury. Prayer does work, but God expects us to be as wise as serpents so we shouldn’t eat food that we know is not clean.
  3. Keep YOUR apartment clean.
    • Even in these countries, mission presidents do all they can to find apartments that are in good places and that have access to sanitation. Take advantage of that! You don’t have to live like the people to come to love the people. Yes, the Lord will bless you, but you need to do all you can to be part of the answer to your parents’ prayers to keep you safe and healthy. Do your laundry, shower, keep the mission rules about hygiene.
  4. Exercise!
    • Obedience. Yes. It works. If you take the time to exercise each day, your immune system will be much more prepared to fight off anything you do pick up while shaking hands or using a random bathroom while in a pinch in your area.
  5. Pray
    • Yes, please keep asking for help to stay healthy and strong. You are being prayed for in every temple around the world. You are being prayed for in your family’s and friend’s and ward’s prayers. Add your prayers to theirs.

Elders and sisters, please, be wise. The Lord needs you to be healthy and strong and you can do your part by staying clean. We hope this helped you.

Top Countries Without Sanitation
Via: TakePart.com

Infographic and information from Takepart.

Image via Missionary Geek

We’ve all heard it before. The ‘Doom and Gloom’ speech that starts with, ‘Missions are tough’! Like that shocks anyone anymore. No, we’ve all heard it a thousand times in mission prep classes. “Missionary work is work, and it’s tough, and you can’t come home, you’ll get bitten by a dog and have people slam doors in your face every day… oh, and you’ll lose your right leg on top of that…. b.u.t. (with a long pause) It’s worth it” they say.

So, if you’re looking for a Doom and Gloom list, then you’ve come to the wrong place. Here are 8, very common, positive parts of being a mormon missionary. So whilst you mission prep, think of the good times you’ve got coming.

1, You may actually like your companions 

RM’s can’t seem to talk enough about their ‘worst’ companions, but in fact you’ll probably make more lifelong friends than be stuck with challenging people. I’ve not met a missionary yet who doesn’t keep in contact with at least a few, years and years on. They are kind of comparable to your war buddies. You come back into civilian life, where most people don’t know what it was really like. But your mission companions do, they relate completely. Remember, you can learn something from everyone you meet.

2, You could lose that extra bit of weight or, bulk-up  

What a perfect opportunity to walk, cycle, run and play sports. Even if you don’t normally. Just start slowly and build it up. You’ve got 18-24 months to get into some good habits and a companion to help you to do it. The more you notice a change, the more motivated you’ll be. Whether you want to bulk up or lose the weight, there’s time and support to make it happen. It’s easier when everyone’s doing it. To read more, check out: how to lose weight on a mission  #bestversionofyou

Read the full article at Missionary Geek.

Have you ever been asked a question about being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but you weren’t quite sure how to answer it? Check out a few of the most commonly asked questions, and read some scripture-based answers that you can use the next time you’re asked one of them.

Question #1: Are you Christian?

The short answer: “Yes, absolutely. I believe in God the Father, in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. I believe that Jesus is my personal Savior, as well as the Savior of the whole earth, and that it is only through His grace that we are able to return to live with Him in heaven.”

The essential points you will want to make are:

1.While we don’t believe in the Holy Trinity as a three-in-one being, we believe in the Godhead—God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost as three separate beings, with the first two having bodies.

2.You have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

3.You recognize Christ as the Savior of all mankind.

4.You fully understand that it is only through the grace (Atonement) of Jesus Christ that we are able to progress in the next life.

Anything less than these four points will leave you vulnerable to criticism that Latter-day Saints are not Christian. But the good news is that all four of these doctrines are fully embraced by the Church.

SCRIPTURE SUPPORT:

Usually we will want to demonstrate our support of gospel truths with scriptures from the Holy Bible, but, in this case, our best support comes from latter-day scriptures as we make our case for our basic Christianity and that the Book of Mormon is truly a second witness of Jesus Christ.

2 Nephi 25:26 We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ . . .

Moroni 10:32 Yea, come unto Christ . . . then is his grace sufficient for you . . .

2 Nephi 33:6 I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell . . .

Doctrine and Covenants 76:22 This is the testimony . . . that we give of him: That he lives!

Question #2: What makes your church different?

As it turns out, I’ve been asked this question more often than any other. It is, of course, completely open-ended. The problem is that open-ended questions can lead us into some very long and windy answers, which will likely not be a blessing to the one on the receiving end of our rambling discourse.

But here’s an idea: When I’m asked this question, I change it. After all, as we attempt to convince the world that we are, in fact, Christians, why answer this question by immediately talking about our differences? Why not talk about our similarities—which your friend will probably find equally interesting and possibly surprising.

The short answer: “Well, first of all, even though we do have some differences, we have way more things in common than you might guess. We believe in God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. I believe that Jesus is my personal Savior as well as the Savior of the whole earth and that it is only through His grace that we are able to return to live with Him in heaven.

“But we do have some differences. One of them is the Book of Mormon. It’s a book that we believe to be additional scripture that testifies, just like the Holy Bible, that Jesus is the Christ. Have you ever heard of the Book of Mormon?”

Okay, that’s a little longer, but you can see the direction. First, quickly emphasize what we have in common. Then mention a single difference (such as the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, temples, living prophets, continuing revelation, etc.) and see where the conversation goes. Prime it by asking a question of your own, as in the example above.

Scripture Support:

For our commonality with other Christians, see the scripture support list for Question #1. To support the Book of Mormon with references from the Holy Bible see:

Ezekiel 37:16 The stick of Joseph, the stick of Judah . . .

John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold . . .

Read full article at LDS Living.

Young adults are 90% safer on a mission
via missiongeek.net

Ten Mormon missionaries died in 2013, Seven in 2014 and only four, so far, in 2015. Despite the number of full time serving missionaries rising, the number of deaths has decreased. How does the LDS Church keep 80,000 missionaries safe?

In a rare statement issued in Oct 2013, a month after the 10th missionary died, Elder David F. Evans, said “Mormon missions are inherently safe”.

The official statement came as the LDS Church coped with a wave of more than 100,000 young women and men added to its missionary ranks in just three years since the October 2012 announcement lowering the missionary age to 18 for men and 19 for women.

But they are way lower death rates for the same age group across U.S. and world populations — as tracked by the World Health Organization. Same aged rates of death for non-missionaries are six to 20 times higher, depending on the measures used.

Read the rest of this article at Mission Geek

If you know anyone who experiences same-sex attraction, watch this video!  It will open your mind to what are some of the challenges they face and unique opportunities they have to serve an honorable, full-time mission!

*Watch more videos about Brett’s mission in the Dominican Republic, interesting facts about homosexuality, etc.

*Watch videos with 500+ RMs from different missions!

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Mormon athletes who go on missions
Elder Motekiai Langi, who's going to play football at BYU after his mission. (Image via @MotekiaiLangi on Twitter)

Understanding a lot of things about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be an uphill battle. Here’s some help to sportswriters seeking to understand missionary service.

I know Mormons are a little different. I don’t expect every person everywhere to understand a religion and its culture so well to be experts in everything they say or write.

However, Mormon athletes in college have been around for a long time, and so has the idea of those athletes serving missions. A recent article from NBC Sports about top basketball prospect (and Mormon) Frank Jackson highlights several points that typically make members of the LDS Church groan in the missionary-athlete discussion.

I’m not here to pile on the writer. After all, some of the mischaracterization seems to come from Jackson himself. But nothing about a two-year mission would constitute “working on your game.”

So in an effort to help sportswriters everywhere understand missionary service (okay, some sports writers who will hopefully read this), as well as other sports fans and interested parties, I’d like to paint a picture of what a mission is, both in a broad look and a very detailed sense.

Big Picture

Let’s start by talking about the term “take a mission trip.” I couldn’t detail it better than Greg Wrubell did on Twitter, so that’s a place to start.

Simply put, the reason LDS folk groan at “mission trip” is that it doesn’t quite paint the picture of what an LDS mission entails. A “trip” usually implies some degree of brevity: Your family trip to the Grand Canyon, for example. Many members of other churches do embark on mission trips: 2-3 weeks, perhaps 2-3 months to give service to a third-world area, teach English, and teach about the faith.

Such trips are awesome, and it’s fantastic anyone would invest any amount of time and money to give to others and try to make the world a better place. None of this is meant to belittle those efforts.

The LDS mission is a full-time way of life for two years. A young man or woman leaves home and makes missionary service their life, called to and living in a part of the world not of their choosing.

LDS missionaries are set apart as ordained ministers and are directed to teach anyone who chooses to listen, and invite them to “join the fold,” if you will. This does involve the typical picture of knocking on doors and meeting in the homes of those interested in hearing their teachings. It also includes helping build up local church congregations and supporting local leaders, organizing and carrying out service efforts, and, in many areas, teaching English classes.

This calling is taken very seriously by the Church, its leaders, and the missionaries themselves. Quite literally, a missionary wears the name of Jesus Christ on his shirt every day and is expected to do as he would do. I don’t recall scriptural accounts of Jesus going off by himself to put up shots or squats. So at the very basis of what a missionary is, he or she represents something greater and is meant to forget self in the process.

Read the rest of this article at: Vanquish the Foe

10 Things You wish you Brought on mission
image via http://gospelgirlrm.blogspot.com/

They send you a very helpful packing list, BUT my strongest advice is to find someone who recently served in the mission you have been assigned to and ask them for packing advice. Here is a list of things that they don’t tell you to bring on the list that you’ll write home later asking your mom to send you. Save her the postage and bring them.

1). Laminated pictures of your baptism, family and your temple to put in your scriptures that you can show investigators.
2). Recipes. You’ll have days without lunches or dinner appointments where you’ll want more then anything your mom’s home-cooked meals, or you’ll have a family night where you wish you could let your investigators try mom’s famous cookies.
3). Make or buy a Plan of Salvation diagram in your mission language. This will save you time in the mission when you realize how much this will helped you teach and helped your investigators understand God’s plan for them in a simple and visual way.

To read the rest of the things to bring, see the original post on gospelgirlrm.blogspot.com

10 Things you need to know before serving a full-time LDS Mission

“Missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience.” -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland1

Maybe you have read John Bytheway’s book What I Wish I’d Known Before My Mission. There are some things that I think everyone who is going to serve a mission should know. Please don’t think I’m trying to scare you off with these. (make sure you read the last one or you’ll think I’m a cotton-headed-ninny-muggins). 

 

1. A mission isn’t physically easy

Mormon Missionaries Walking
image from meetmormonmissionaries.org

Some days on my mission we walked over 10 miles in one day. There were days when we had so many appointments that we had to run from one to the next in full suits. Not all missions walk all day or bike all day, but some do. Full-time missionaries may relate to this picture:

Missionary Shoes Destroyed
image from gummowsintaiwan.blogspot.com

2. A mission isn’t emotionally easy

image from ikerseydavis.blogspot.com - Notice goals VS actual...hard day.
image from ikerseydavis.blogspot.com – Notice goals VS actual…hard day.

The mission is not for the emotionally weak. You will be yelled at by people you never met before who accuse you of things that are not true. You’ll likely be made fun of at one point in your mission. You’ll have companions who you do not agree with. You’ll have heart break when investigators and members reject you after developing a relationship with them. You’ll likely witness the worst of the world and the worst side of people.

You’ll only be able to talk to your parents and family twice a year (Christmas and Mother’s Day)

You can’t date or flirt or even think about members of the opposite sex the whole time (I guess you can think about a special someone back home, but keep this in mind).

3. Things will be different when you come back

  • Technology: I left when only wealthy people had cell phones and USB drives didn’t exist (I’m that old). I came back and everyone had a mobile flip phone and was staring at it all day. Facebook was huge and I didn’t have one. Many missions now use technology (like iPads) to share the gospel, but there will be many things that will change.
  • Social life: my friends were all gone to different parts of the country for jobs or still on their missions. I had to make a new group of friends.
  • Family life: when I left, my best friend and I were blessing the sacrament together. I came back and he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. It broke my heart.
  • Your body: my body went from collegiate sprinter to olympic walker. I lost almost all my upper body and quick-twitch sprinting muscle and exchanged it for walking muscles.

 

Before and After Mission picture
This is my cousin Tate before and after his mission.

4. “Full-time” missionaries work much longer hours than “full-time” employees

Full Missionary planner
image from elderbraydenfivas.blogspot.com

A typical full-time job requires 40 hours a week.

If you include study and planning time, a typical full-time missionary works 55 – 66 hours a week with no breaks for the entire mission. Each mission may vary a bit, but you are a full-time missionary, not part time. You eat, sleep, and drink missionary work, all day, every day for 18 months to 2 years.

5. Sunday is NOT a day of rest in the mission

Sunday day of rest

You probably work harder on Sunday than almost any other day of the week because this is your day to bring people to church. Call investigators, go pick them up, remind them, get members to pick them up, give talks, give lessons, then after church, you just go out and do the same thing you do every other day. Sunday is prime time to find people. It is no time to rest for missionaries.

No more Sunday naps.

P-day becomes your only rest time, but you don’t want to rest during it because it’s your only time to read and write letters, shop for food, and get any other things done that you can’t do during the rest of your “work” week. On P-day, there is no P-night, you work that evening too.

6. You will miss a lot of new movies TV shows and epic YouTube videos

This may be harder for some than others. But you are taken out of the world. You go on a mission-long fast from mainstream media.

7. People will hate you for wearing the tag

missionary door knock
image from sptimes.com

Regardless of the good person inside of you, some people will hate you just because you have a name tag on. You will be persecuted because you are Mormon or because you are Christian or both.

Read Elder Hollands talk about this. 

8. You’ll be fed really CRAZY food.

9. Some days you will want to quit

There are days when everything goes wrong, people spit in your face, you step in dog poop, the investigators you had hope in put the copy of the Book of Mormon in a bag on the door with a note, your power goes out, it rains, you get sick, you get fleas or bedbugs, your suit gets ruined, and your companion gets cranky.

These are days never to be forgotten.

If you currently feel this way, listen to Elder Holland’s talk called “Don’t you Dare Come Home.”

If you did come home, read this.

10. It will be the most amazing experience of your life. Period.

happy LDS Missionaries
Image from sierraleonefreetownmission.blogspot.com

Despite the difficulty of a full-time mission, missionaries come home loving their mission more than any other experience in their life up to that point.

happy Mormon missionaries
photo from liberia-monrovia-mission.blogspot.com

When I was a teacher at the MTC, I told the missionaries I taught that the mission is kind of like a rosebush. It is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen from a distance. As you get closer to it, it becomes even more beautiful and all the details become more evident.

Happy Sister Missionaries
image from sisterbriggs.blogspot.com

Then you enter the mission and even though the roses are more beautiful than you have ever seen from afar, it is painful and the thorns prick and scratch you until you bleed. Just when you are about ready to cry out because of the pain, you exit the rosebush. You look back at the beautiful roses and think about going through the bush. Then as the distance increases and your wounds heal, this bush becomes the most beautiful bush you have ever seen. You love and cherish that bush that has become even more beautiful to you after going through it. Any time to see the roses looking back, you don’t remember the thorns, you only remember the good and the roses are even more rich and beautiful than they were before.

Happy LDS Missionaries
image from presidentmcintyre.blogspot.com

The mission is such a beautiful thing. Don’t be scared away by how hard it is, remember that it IS hard, but that it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. The mission was probably the hardest prolonged experience I have ever had in my entire life, but I look back on it as the greatest conglomerate of life-changing experiences I have ever had. It has formed me into the person I am today.

Mormon Sister Missionaries
image from thecitizen.com

 

What else do you think we need to know before serving a mission?

 

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Over 80,000 missionaries are serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Missionaries can be single men between the ages of 18 and 25, single women over the age of 19 or retired couples. Missionaries work with a companion of the same gender during their mission, with the exception of couples, who work with their spouse. Single men serve missions for two years and single women serve missions for 18 months.

Video from Mormon Newsroom. See more on MormonNewsroom.org

Over 80,000 missionaries are serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most are young people under the age of 25, serving in nearly 400 missions throughout the world. Missionaries can be single men between the ages of 18 and 25, single women over the age of 19 or retired couples. Missionaries work with a companion of the same gender during their mission, with the exception of couples, who work with their spouse. Single men serve missions for two years and single women serve missions for 18 months.

 

Video from Mormon Newsroom. See more on MormonNewsroom.org