Sister Jenny Spencer with a family that was baptized in Madagascar.
As I look back on my mission, I wish I had known that the Lord would send so many curveballs my way. They always came at me out of nowhere. And the unexpected experiences arrived anywhere on the spectrum from horribly intimidating (being transferred to a completely different third-world country) to incredibly uplifting (feeling as if the Spirit was a tangible, constant companion). I just wish someone had told me beforehand to expect the unexpected—both the good and the bad.
So if I had to give some advice to future missionaries, it would be this: roll with the punches. Don’t get too caught up in things that are out of your control. You can’t choose who you’ll serve with; you can’t choose where you’ll be; you can’t choose who accepts your message. You can only choose how you’ll react. Your attitude towards your mission experiences will be just as important as the experiences themselves. Learn to appreciate the miracles and learn from the disasters. Your mission is what you make of it—and of yourself.
So there’s my two cents. What's your best advice? Add yours in the comments below or send an email to email@example.com. Here are a few gems that our readers have already submitted on Facebook:
• "One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was 'remember you are human.'"
• "Write in your journal and wear out your camera."
• "Read John Byetheway's What I Wish I Knew before I Went on a Mission."
• "Remember that it's the Spirit's job to convert those you come in contact with. It’s the missionaries’ job to love those they come in contact with and to show Heavenly Father's love through example and service. Lean on the Spirit in all things."
• "You will have the rest of your life (and eternity) to think back and either regret or feel good about your mission. Make sure you make good use of every hour."
• "Get your own testimony of Joseph Smith before you send in your papers. Sincerely pray to know for yourself. (Keep praying if the answer doesn't come right away.) Write down your experience when the answer comes. Share your experience before you go and enjoy sharing it every time you teach."