Missionary Planning

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 LDS Living

Here are some fun LDS moments caught on Google Street View. Don’t miss the Rome Temple ones at the bottom! They will take your breath away.


A brilliant sunburst over the Helsinki Temple! So lovely.

And hello to the Elders at Piazza della Signoria in Italy, circa 2008. I like how the statue in the upper right appears to be looking at the Google Street car too.

Pretty nifty bikes there, Elders! This is from 2009 in the Netherlands. I wonder what they’re doing now…

Read the full article at MyBestLDS.com.

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3 Things to Understand About Your Temple Endowment
(Image via ldsliving.com)

(Source: LDS Living; By: Cory Jensen)

Have you ever found yourself distracted or bored in a temple session? Or maybe sensed that there is something more to it, but you aren’t quite getting it? If so, please know that you are not alone and that it doesn’t need to remain that way.

Coming to understand our endowment is a very personal and sacred journey that we each must make individually. Here are three things that may help you along your way.

1. Covenants are not simply two-way promises.

First, we need to better understand covenants. Ancient Israel never claimed to be the Lord’s “two-way promise” people. They were the Lord’s covenant people and understood covenants as a sacred, binding relationship. Our modern definition misses the point.

These covenant relationships could be made between two individuals or between an individual (or group) and the Lord. They were entered into through a formal ceremony that generally involved several specific steps, which are reflected in the modern temple endowment ceremony. Each of these steps was highly symbolic and held great meaning for the participants, but the central idea behind them was always that of combining or merging identities, or of two becoming one.

Our gospel ordinances are important because they permit us to enter into a covenant relationship with the Lord. The first ordinances of the gospel are intended to bring about our spiritual rebirth. We covenant with God at baptism. Later, the temple ordinances are given to further our spiritual growth and maturity and to deepen our covenant relationship with the Lord. Recognize that when you left the temple on the day you were endowed, you left with promises from the Lord directly to you. Not promises made to some ancient prophet or people, but promises made to you. We need to understand them and their significance in our lives.

Read More at LDS Living

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Tonga: 55 Youth from 1 Stake go on mini-missions; New King and Queen honoured
Elder O. Vincent Haleck of the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife Sister Peggy A. Haleck, attend the Coronation celebration in honour of Their Majesties King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u. (Image via mormonnewsroom.org.nz)

It’s been a busy summer in Tonga for many LDS families. Mormon Newsroom recently reported on LDS participation in the Royal Coronation celebration in July, and a large youth mini-mission effort that took place in June.

LDS Participation in Coronation Celebration

During the past week, missionaries and other Church members participated in the Coronation celebration in honour of Their Majesties King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u. Prince Ata, a recently baptized member, offered a gift on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He presented his parents with a beautiful painting of the first King of Tonga, Tupou I, whom the first missionaries met with in 1891.

Tonga: 55 Youth from 1 Stake go on mini-missions; New King and Queen honoured
The Tongan King and Queen were presented with artwork created by artist Tevita Pola’apau. The work portrays the first King of Tonga, Tupou I. (Image via mormonnewsroom.org.nz)

55 Youth from the Halaliku Stake Serve ‘Mini-missions’

In June, 55 Tongan teens from the Halaliku stake went on 3 day ‘mini-missions’. At least 80 people attended Church that week because of the faithful efforts of these young men and women. The youth also participated in other missionary activities, such as scripture study, family history work, sharing the Book of Mormon, and attending a devotional. The video below describes it more detail and shows pictures of these delightful youth.

Boyfriend or Mission? Thoughts from a Returned Sister Missionary
(Image via missiongeek.net)

(Source: Mission Geek; By: Lindsey Williams)    

Before my mission and during my mission I was a huge advocate for sisters serving missions. If a girl told me she was going to leave a boyfriend to serve a mission I supported that decision. In my mind nothing could be better than a mission. If things were truly meant to be between the girl and her boy, it would work out.

It’s weird. Now that I’ve been a missionary my thoughts have actually changed. I loved being a full-time missionary and I know it was part of God’s plan for me. I still smile when people from my mission call me “Hermana Williams.” But now I look forward to the time when I get the eternal titles of “wife” and “mother.”

Chances are you, or someone you know, will eventually face the question of, “Should I stay with my boyfriend or should I serve a mission?”

Luckily for you, you found this article. Now I’m going to give you the exact way to figure out how to choose between a boyfriend and a mission. Are you ready for this?

Hahaha, just kidding. There is no exact way. But, I am going to give you the best advice I can to help you make this decision….

Read more at Mission Geek

Children return to farm while father takes LDS mission
(Image via kevinlovelandfamily.weebly.com)

Southeast Idaho potato farmer Kevin Loveland will leave his farm in the control of his young daughter in order to spend the next three years serving a mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

FORT HALL, Idaho — The past few months have been a crash course in agriculture for 26-year-old Rebecca Loveland.

Children return to farm while father is mission president
Kevin H and Ann H. Loveland (Image via deseretnews.com)

Her father, Kevin, considered it a privilege he couldn’t refuse when he received an unexpected calling in October to serve the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a mission president.

Rebecca was fresh out of graduate school, having earned a master’s in public administration from Brigham Young University, and had just started a job running business internships with Utah Valley University in Provo.

But she’s left that job to manage the family’s 5,000-acre grain and fresh potato farm, while her father spends the next three years training 200 LDS missionaries in Bentonville, Ark. Her mother, Ann, will be charged with overseeing the health of the missionaries. Her 15-year-old brother, Neal, will also make the trip to Bentonville.

Read more at Capital Press

Commentary on New Member cuts out tattoos to serve Mormom mission
(Image via www.missiongeek.net)

Note: This article was first published at Mission Geek, and is written by Ione Cussen.

Pasi Haufano didn’t always want to serve a mission, it wasn’t until he was in his mid-twenties that he even starting to consider the idea. But when he’d made that choice, nothing was going to stop him. His perseverance became a beacon of faith, an example of determination that has quite simply become legendary.

Before and after photos of the tattoo
Before (Image via www.missiongeek.net)
Mormon missionary removed tattoos to go on mission
After tattoo removal (Image via www.missiongeek.net)

Pasi was raised in a Polynesian (Tongan/Samoan) home in New Zealand and was Baptised in 2006, but he didn’t really understand the significance of what he was doing. “I knew I had to be baptised, but I never understood the doctrine behind it”, he said, “I couldn’t even remember the name of the church, I didn’t know that there was a Book of Mormon.”

Years later, a friend of Pasi’s, Jimmy, was also baptised, and he encouraged Pasi to come back to church. “He invited me every Sunday. He’d come and wake me up, I’d probably be hung over from the night before, but he’d say ‘Hey Brother, come to church today’, and I’d always make up excuses to why I couldn’t go.”

Jimmy wasn’t going to give up. He went every Sunday, despite refusal after refusal. He eventually found just the trick to getting Pasi out of bed: food.

“Hey Brother!” Jimmy said, “Come to church today, because after church we’re going to have a picnic!”, “When I heard that, I was like ‘Ok! I’m going!’” Pasi recalls, “He kind of tricked me!”

Pasi went to church that day, and afterwards went with Jimmy to visit some less active YSA. “I didn’t even know what I was doing, but it felt so good. Just being there, visiting these people, putting a smile on their faces, I had never felt this before and that feeling was the miracle.”

Pasi kept attending church and YSA activities, until one day he found himself going to mission prep with his friends. In one of these classes, a member held up the Book of Mormon and bore his testimony. It was here, astonishingly, that Pasi saw the Book of Mormon for the first time. Pasi was blown away, “he said his testimony with such conviction that I made another oath to myself, an oath to read that book and find out what he was talking about”.

Pasi was soon invited to a mission prep camp in Hamilton (just over an hour away), and he began reading the Book of Mormon. “It was here I learnt about Lehi and his family, and I read about Nephi and his struggles, and I thought, ‘this is my family right here, these are my struggles’”.

It was through the Book of Mormon that Pasi gained a testimony and knew he needed to serve a mission. Pasi filled out his mission papers and sent them off. Yet, he was completely unaware of the difficult decision he still had to make.

After “months and months” of waiting, and watching friends leave for their missions, Pasi started to wonder if he just wasn’t good enough. “Maybe I haven’t been forgiven, maybe I’m not trying hard enough,” he thought. “I just felt useless, abandoned”.

Pasi was finally called to meet with his Stake President, who told him that his mission application had been declined on the basis of his very visible tattoos. Pasi’s heart dropped.

Read the rest of the article at Mission Geek

Things to know before your LDS Mission Call
Image via www.ldsdaily.com

My mission was different from what I thought it would be. I imagined I would knock on a door, the father of a family of six would answer, and the entire family would be baptized the following Saturday. Throngs of investigators would gather around the baptismal font and feel the Spirit and they would all be baptized the following week. I imagined sending home weekly pictures of me with my investigators dressed in white ready to become members of the Lord’s true church.

To be completely honest, my first few weeks in the Spain Madrid Mission was a little bit of a shock for me – culturally and spiritually. I doubted my abilities to speak the language, and even in the strength of my own testimony. I remember thinking, “Could I really do this for 2 years?” I loved my mission – there isn’t a day I don’t think about how it has blessed my life. I want you to love your mission. Since being more fully prepared will help you in that endeavor, here are a few things I wish I would have known before I served. Some of them took a few months in the mission field to learn, others took a few years after my mission to learn.

1. Working with members is more than just asking for referrals.
In order to get referrals from members, you need to gain their trust. They aren’t going to send some random people they barely know wearing dresses or ties to visit their loved ones. You will need to gain their trust by getting to know them and letting them get to know you. Attend ward activities where you might have opportunities to talk with members in a less formal setting. Find opportunities for service where members will be – show them you are a hard worker and capable of getting things done. Help members understand they are putting their friends and family in good hands.

Mission Prep by Brandon Young
Image via www.ldsdaily.com

2. You are a literal representative of the LDS church.
If you go to McDonald’s and the cashier is impatient and short, you are going to have a bad taste (no pun intended) for McDonald’s – not the cashier. Their interaction with you reflects poorly on the company. By wearing a name tag with the name and logo of the church, you are representing the church. If you leave your smelly garbage in the hallway in your apartment for your neighbors to see, they might not know you, but they will know you are missionaries of the Mormon church. If you are seen having shopping cart races in a grocery store, you are going to leave a bad taste about the Church because you are wearing a nametag. Understand that your nametag bears the name of the Church, which bears the name of the Savior. Be sure to act accordingly.

3. Not all missionaries are perfectly obedient.
Before I became a missionary, I thought all missionaries were sinless and perfect. Missionaries were little angels sent straight from heaven. I remember being a little shocked my first few weeks in the mission field when I discovered that neither was true. Don’t be surprised if your companion drinks Mountain Dew or has a tattoo. They are trying to be better just like you. We all come from different backgrounds and life experiences. Don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you.

4. Obeying all the mission rules isn’t easy.
There will never be a time in your life that you will have so many “rules” and such high standards as you will while serving as a missionary for the Church. If your mission president tells you not to take naps, you might feel guilty when you fall asleep during lunch study. Getting up every morning for two years straight at 6:30am might be a challenge for you if you are a night person. Understand that if you or your companion sleep through your alarm and don’t get up until 7:06am, you are not vile sinner. Repent and get up on time tomorrow. The mission rules are strict and can be difficult to keep – do your very best.

5. Be obedient.
The rules outlined in the white handbook and others implemented by your mission president are in place to protect you and your companion and help you keep the spirit that missionaries need to be successful. Don’t ever think that a rule doesn’t apply to you. If you obey the mission rules with the same zeal and dedication that you would approach any other commandment, you will be a better missionary.

Read more at LDS Daily

Image via ldsdaily.com

As missionaries, we knew that “Meaningful goals and careful planning will help you accomplish what the Lord requires of you.” 1

With hours, weeks, and months ahead of me, I knew the real test of my planning skills was about to begin. Looking back, I failed that test spectacularly. But I’ve learned a lot in the time since and I’m here to share some tips that will help you harness the planning tools of missionaries.

Editor’s note: this article appeared originally on LDSDaily.com.

Full Missionary planner
image from elderbraydenfivas.blogspot.com

1. Make a Schedule and Stick to It.

Whether you plan each day out or simply set goals once a month, pick a schedule that works for you and stick to it.

2. Set Goals.

Here are some tips suggested to help missionaries set goals: Follow the Spirit. Measure your progress daily, weekly, and monthly. Be specific and realistic, but set goals that will stretch you.

3. Create Your Own Key Indicators

Missionaries have numerous key indicators that help them focus on their purpose to invite all to come unto Christ and make sacred covenants. These include lessons taught, investigators at Sacrament, and new investigators found. Create your own key indicators to help you achieve your goals. Key indicators can be seen as ways to measure your effort to reach your goal. An example: If you have a goal to read your scriptures every day, key indicators could include how much time you spend a day reading, when you read, or how many chapters you read.

To read the final four tools, read the original post on LDSDaily.com.

Show 1 footnote

  1. see chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel.