Missionary work requires sacrifice, maturity, and a testimony and a young man or woman who wants to serve must begin preparing in his childhood. In these quotes, President Monson shares thoughts and stories that suggest how young people should prepare to serve as Mormon missionaries.
“Our studies reveal that most of those who embrace the message of the missionaries have had other exposures to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—perhaps hearing the magnificent Tabernacle Choir perform, maybe reading and viewing press reports of our well-traveled President Gordon B. Hinckley and his skillful participation in broad-ranging interviews, or just knowing another person who is a member and for whom respect exists. We, as members, should be at our best. Our lives should reflect the teachings of the gospel, and our hearts and voices ever be ready to share the truth.
Fellowshipping of the investigator should begin well before baptism. The teachings of the missionaries often need the second witness of a new convert to the Church. It has been my experience that such a witness, borne from the heart of one who has undergone this mighty change himself, brings resolve and commitment. When I served as mission president in eastern Canada, we found that in Toronto, as well as in most of the cities of Ontario and Quebec, there was no dearth of willing helpers to accompany the missionaries and to fellowship the investigators, welcome them to meetings, and introduce them to the ward or branch officers and members. Fellowshipping, friendshipping, and reactivating are ongoing in the daily life of a Latter-day Saint.”
Thomas S. Monson, “They Will Come,” Ensign, May 1997, 44
One day I was in the men’s suit department of a large store when I encountered two missionaries with their mothers. It isn’t difficult to spot missionaries or their mothers. The two elders were conversing, and one said to the other, “Where are you going on your mission?”
Came the reply, “I’m going to Austria.”
The first missionary responded, “You lucky dog, going to Austria! Those beautiful Austrian Alps, that wonderful music, those delightful people! I wish I were going there.”
“Where are you going?” said the missionary assigned to Austria.
“California,” came the answer. “You know, less than two hours away by plane. We go there every year for a vacation.”
I could see by the expression on the mothers’ faces and the near tears of one of the missionaries that it was time for me to intervene. “Did you say California?” I asked. “Why, I once supervised that area. You have an inspired call, Elder. Do you realize what you will have in California to help you? You’ll have chapels and stake centers that dot the land, and they’ll be filled with Latter-day Saints who can be inspired to be fellow missionaries with you in sharing the gospel. You are a very fortunate missionary to be going there.” I glanced at the other mother, who said, “Brother Monson, say something about Austria, quick!” I did so.
Young men, wherever you are called will be right for you, and you will learn to love your mission.
Thomas S. Monson, “That All May Hear,” Ensign, May 1995, 48
We are a missionary-minded people. We have a divine mandate to proclaim the message of the Restoration. You young men here this night are on the threshold of your missionary opportunity. That energetic missionary from the Book of Mormon, even Alma, provides for us a blueprint for missionary conduct: “This is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy” (Alma 29:9).
I add my personal witness: Our missionaries are not salesmen with wares to peddle; rather, they are servants of the Most High God, with testimonies to bear, truths to teach, and souls to save.
Each missionary who goes forth in response to a sacred call becomes a servant of the Lord whose work this truly is. Do not fear, young men, for He will be with you. He never fails. He has promised: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88).
“And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God” (D&C 42:6).
Thomas S. Monson, “Missionary Memories,” Ensign, Nov 1987, 41
Missionary work is hard work. Missionary service is demanding and requires long hours of study and preparation, that the missionary himself might match the divine message he proclaims. It is a labor of love but also of sacrifice and devotion to duty.
An anxious mother of a prospective missionary once asked me what I would recommend her son learn before the arrival of his missionary call. I am certain she anticipated a profound response which would contain the more familiar requirements for service of which we are all aware. However, I said, “Teach your son how to cook, but more particularly, teach him how to get along with others. He will be happier and more productive if he learns these two vital skills.”
Young men, you are preparing for your missions when you learn your duties as deacons, teachers, and priests and then perform those duties with determination and love, knowing you are on the Lord’s errand.
Thomas S. Monson, “Who Honors God, God Honors,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 48