Mission Prep

If you enjoy watching Prepare to Serve video interviews with returned missionaries, you should be pretty excited about this. Lifey.org will soon host custom-built, embeddable video players for each mission, so that you’ll be able to easily browse all the video interviews for each mission.

Here’s an example of what the mission video players look like:

It takes a good chunk of time to create 450 of these mission video players, so it may take until the end of the summer for them all to be completed, but we’re adding new mission video players every week.

Simply click on your mission in this Lifey LDS Mission Index to see what resource we’ve created for your mission so far.

And if you live in the Utah area and would like to share your mission stories on the Prepare to Serve YouTube channel, email [email protected] . Thanks!

If you were inspired and entertained by the new Saturday’s Warrior, you’re sure to be inspired and entertained by some of the stories Elder Kestler (Clint Pulver) shares in his new interactive video autobiography. Enjoy! Some of his mission stories are hilarious..just sayin’!

0 1919
LaVell Edwards BYU football Mormon mission
image via deseretnews.com

Mormon missions ruin football players.

The idea is heresy today, but it was considered gospel inside and outside the LDS Church in the 1950s, ’60s and when LaVell Edwards took over as BYU’s football coach in 1972. It seemed irrefutable. Nearly everyone believed players left on missions as fiery competitors, strong and fast, and that they returned home soft, weak and slow.

Edwards and his assistants had scant evidence to the contrary, so in his first two seasons, they did what every college coach had done for decades. They told BYU players who left on a missions that they couldn’t guarantee them a scholarship when they returned.

It’s unimaginable that a coach would yank a scholarship over a decision to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today, when 16 different college football teams from coast to coast fielded 162 returned missionaries last fall.

But in 1961, brothers Bruce and David Handley sat in a BYU team meeting with late head coach Hal Mitchell. “Handley,” Mitchell said to Bruce, “you still going on that mission?”

“Yes,” Bruce said.

“Then you don’t need to stay in this meeting,” Mitchell said.

Bruce Handley got up and left. David Handley didn’t.

“To this day, that’s the biggest regret of my life,” David Handley, who is 78, said this week, “that I didn’t get up and walk out with my brother.”

Edwards, the Hall of Fame coach who died Dec. 29, arrived at BYU as an assistant coach in 1962. The story of how he overhauled the missionary culture in the school’s football program mirrors other sweeping innovations he introduced to the sport. It starts with players who wanted to shatter mission myths and includes a new LDS Church president who was about to call for a massive expansion of Mormon missionary work.

Read the full article on Deseret News.

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 from mylifebygogogoff.com

I preface this article with this. I have been a temple worker and in the past 3 years since returning from my mission I have visited 65 different Temples and I have gone over 200 times, I love the Temple! What I am saying is 100% ok to talk about outside of the temple. Here are 4 things I wish I was told about the Temple before I was Endowed!

1st Go to the Temple again as soon you can.

When you receive your endowment often it is a big ordeal with friends and family coming together to go with you. In the hustle and bustle of the day often you miss the subtle things that happen, by going to the Temple again as soon as you can, it will give you the chance to better understand the ordinances you have just performed and the covenants you have entered into.

Don’t forget to do initiatories! Often members go back for an endowment session and completely forget about initiatories, my brother-in-law did not do any for over 5 years after he received his endowment. They only take about 30 minutes to do 5 vicarious initiatories, but they are jammed packed full of blessings!

“The supreme benefits of membership in the Church can only be realized only through the exalting ordinances of the temple. These blessings qualify us for “thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers” in the celestial kingdom.” – President Russell M. Nelson.

Read the full post on My Life, By Gogogoff.

0 1975
via ldsliving.com

With an acting career ranging from LDS films to popular TV shows, Corbin Allred, who most recently starred in The Saratov Approach, has enjoyed plenty of success. We recently sat down with him to find out lessons he’s learned from his characters, why Natalie Portman called to wish him luck before his mission, and insights into why he now works primarily in the medical field.

Q: Which role has been your favorite?

A: Honestly, I would say the opportunity I had to work with Ryan Little on the Saints and Soldiers films—those were some of my favorite experiences in my career. It could be because I’m a pretty patriotic person; I have family that has served in the military. My grandfather served in WWII, then the Korean War. To do projects that pay homage to those who have sacrificed so much for us was really just a privilege.

Q: Which Hollywood star has been your favorite to work with?

A: I worked with so many wonderful people that I’d say one of the most gracious actors I’ve ever worked with was William Petersen who played on CSI, the original CSI, he was the main character.

An actress I worked with was Natalie Portman. I did a film called Anywhere but Here with her. I played her boyfriend in the film and she was just so, so kind and humble. She’s one of the most intelligent people that I’ve worked with. She’s very educated and smart about film, but also about general things.

When we were working on that film, I had told her that I was a Latter-day Saint and we visited just a little bit about religion. I told her that a mission was something that I was going to do and she told me to let her know if I was going on a mission and where I was going. And so, several months later after filming that film, I got my mission call and I shot her a message that I had received the call and where I was going. The night before I went into the MTC, she called to wish me luck. You know, this is somebody I had worked with months before on a film. She didn’t have to do that. She was very, very interested in what I was doing and cared enough to call me—to take time out of her busy schedule and her day to call me and wish me success on my mission. She knew just from our conversation that it was very important to me, so I thought that was very classy of her and very kind and gracious.


Following his address, Pope Francis warmly individually greeted and shook hands with several faith leaders including President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Image from MormonNewsroom.com

In a new video series from Mormon Channel called Hope Works, guest speakers present TED-style talks to promote faith and hope. In one of the videos, Samuel Hislop presented a speech, entitled “We Aren’t God’s Only People,” to explain the positive effects of faiths outside of our own.

Samuel Hislop opens up to the audience, sharing an experience from his mission when his inability to understand other religious views drew him away from Christ.

Serving an LDS mission in eastern Ukraine, Hislop was surrounded by many Eastern Orthodox Christians, who greet one another on Easter with the Paschal greeting, “Иисус Воскрес,” meaning “Jesus is risen.” Even members of the Church participated in the greeting, since many converted from the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Read the full article at LDS Living or watch the speech below:


Elder Dallin H Oaks
image from lds.org

Elder Oaks shared some powerful keys to making missionary work more authentic and helpful for both the investigator and the member who is sharing. Here they are from the notes that we took.

1. People learn when they are ready to learn not when we are ready to teach them

Others typically want the results of the doctrine, not the doctrine itself. People are open when they are seeking more happiness or a change in their life.

2. As we speak to others, we need to remember that an invitation to speak more about Jesus Christ and his gospel is better than an invitation to learn about the Church.

The point of going to Church is not to simply be there. It is to partake of the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. This should be what we center our missionary work around. Not getting people to learn about the Church, but about Jesus Christ. Like the Book of Mormon says: “…hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.” (2 Ne 33:10)

3. When we seek to introduce people to the gospel, we should do this in ways that are authentic in loving concern for the person

We should only share it with people when we have sincerely sought to find ways in which aspects of the gospel will truly help that individual with specific needs that they have and not force the gospel on someone because they won’t be saved without it.

4. Our efforts to share the gospel shouldn’t be limited to just the people we know.

Elder Oaks shared a great example this with the cab driving missionary in Rio.

We can share with anyone around us. Not just those we know. We might even be in a better position to share as a stranger than as a close friend or relative.

5. Ward bishoprics plan a special sacrament meeting for visitors.

That way the church is represented well in a meeting specifically catered to visitors being able to understand simply and feel welcomed and uplifted.

6. There are many natural opportunities to share the gospel that we can be proactive with if we just think about it more often

There will always be opportunities to share the gospel if we seek after them. If we are ready and we ask the Lord to help us to share, the opportunity will arise and we will be able to speak to people naturally about the gospel.

7. Young peoples’ expertise with social media gives them a unique opportunity to share the gospel

Elder Oaks jokingly reinterpreted a scripture about loosing our tongues that they can utter. He said it might now say “loose their thumbs that they can utter.” And then he added “Go to it youth!”

There are incredible opportunities to share the gospel using social media and this was another apostolic endorsement that it is not only possible, but should be used.

This talk was given by an apostle, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, and was likely (as he mentioned in the talk) based on many of the similar principles that have been taught by Clayton Christensen in his book The Power of Everyday Missionaries. 

0 1140
image from the Faith Counts YouTube Channel

Groundbreaking research finds religion is not only good for the soul, it’s also good for the economy. A new study commissioned by Faith Counts reports the total economic contribution of religion in America to be nearly $1.2 trillion, equal to the world’s 15th largest economy.

Dr. Brian Grim of Georgetown University and Melissa Grim of the Newseum Institute unveiled their new study at a panel event September 14, 2016, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“For the first time, we have been able to quantify what religious institutions, faith-based charities, and even businesses inspired by faith contribute to our country,” said Dr. Grim. “In an age where there’s a growing belief that religion is not a positive for American society, adding up the numbers is a tangible reminder of the impact of religion.”

“From our work with diverse faith communities across the U.S., we know that despite differences among individual religions, there are many more things that bring us together,” added Kerry Troup, spokeswoman for Faith Counts, a nonprofit, nondenominational organization comprised of many religious communities who represent nearly 80 million Americans.

Read more at Meridian Magazine.

0 1401
Image from Benjamin Criddle's Vine (embedded below)

In “Sir Galahad” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the title character says, “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.”

I am convinced that physical health affects spiritual health and vice versa. The Lord would have His missionaries be as healthy as possible in order to best serve Him. Missionary work is just that: spiritual, mental, and physical work!

As a member of the Missionary Medical Committee, I am continually reviewing the physical health and medical problems of actively serving missionaries. Unfortunately, about 3 percent of LDS missionaries are sent home early due to unforeseen health issues. Let’s review several areas where appropriate preparation can mean avoiding many of the reasons why missionaries struggle physically.



Full-time missionaries must be able to walk an average of six miles per day and ride a bicycle 12 miles per day. The Missionary Handbook recommends exercising 30 minutes daily, Monday through Saturday. Avoiding fatigue and weakness helps to stave off the discouragement and rejection that come at times during missionary service. Getting off the couch and learning to put in a hard day’s work would be invaluable preparation for a mission.