You’ve made the decision to serve an LDS Church mission, and regardless of where you are in your missionary preparation, you likely have no idea what to expect.
Sure, you’ve heard countless mission stories from others but what will your mission be like and what should you know before you go?
If we’re being honest, nothing can prepare anyone for the experience of serving a mission. Still, that won’t stop us from trying. Here are nine things people who have served missions say they wish they had known beforehand brought to you by Deseret First after years of experience in meeting the financial needs of LDS missionaries:
An elder is shown serving in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission
I wish I had known that it takes time to figure out how to be yourself and a missionary simultaneously, and that’s OK.
There is a transition period for all missionaries where you are still trying to figure out how to be a missionary while also maintaining your personality. Yes, the Lord called you for your specific strengths and weaknesses, but you also wake up each morning and put on a tag bearing his name. This requires finding a delicate balance. Be patient with yourself as you try to figure out where that balance lies.
If you initially feel like a missionary robot, don’t be alarmed. Be obedient. You will eventually find ways to work your personality into the work. It may happen while playing peek-a-boo with a little girl who reminds you of your little sister or when you decide to doorbell ditch a surprise for a lonely little old lady in your ward. This is when being a missionary will become fun.
You will find that you really do have to lose your life in order to find it.
Missions, when served properly with all "your heart, might, mind and strength," allow you to find yourself. Your true best self. Doing a mission halfway or while focusing on what's left behind will never allow you to become what God intends for you to become.
You may return home to find that you don't know how to be yourself without also being a missionary. This is okay too.