The best advice I ever received was about a month into my mission. I was naturally struggling to learn the first few principles of the first discussion in Japanese, and struggling to stay interested every day in repeating the same brief sentence to everyone: “chotto ii desu ka?” (roughly, “Hi, do you have a minute?”). I met one day with my Zone Leader, who was short, with dark hair and huge hands. He was from Kentucky. We knelt down on the tatami mats and he asked me how things were going. I explained that I was really glad to be on my mission, but that I was struggling. His response was a little surprising, but I felt his love, concern, and caring:
“You need to do things that scare you.”
Somehow I managed to volunteer to speak in sacrament meeting the following week. All in nihongo, of course.