The only thing I hate about e-mailing on Monday is that it takes me so long to write to my mission president. Aside from personal matters and work progress, I would still need to write on the missionaries in my district. That would take at least 30 minutes for me to finish. Then when I take a look at the computer clock it doesn’t leave me enough time to write a quality e-mail to my family now! So I will try to make this letter a quality and quick one.
So on Saturday I just turned one year. Hump Day! There was nothing really special about it. Some missionaries have asked me whether I do get the trunky feeling already, but I said nope. In fact, in the evening I had to travel to Santa Cruz to two baptismal interviews for the sister missionaries in my district. I passed them (though not because it’s my anniversary) because I perceive that they are prepared. The sisters asked me if I could perform the baptism, and I said I will. It’s going to be my first time. I’ve had baptisms in my mission already but I haven’t done the ordinance yet! So I’m nervous and excited at the same time.
Because I’m already old in the mission, I want to write a brief letter to the young men in the ward and to those who are prepping themselves to serve a full-time mission. In doing so I shall give 5 tips or advices which should help you in your preparation (and Bishop Shaun, if you will, please print this letter out and attach it to the bulletin board for them to see). They are:
- Repent! Let me paraphrase the words of Elder Holland in his conference talk several years ago. In this battle between good and evil, you cannot play for Satan whenever temptations come along, and then expect to suit up for the Savior before temple or mission time, as if nothing has happened. No missionary can be unrepentant of sexual transgression, profane language, or pornographic indulgence and then expect to challenge others to repent of those very things. It just can’t be done! The Spirit will not be with you, and the words will choke in your throat as you speak them. You cannot travel down what Lehi called “forbidden paths” and then expect to guide others to the straight and narrow one. But whoever you are and whatever you’ve done, you can be forgiven. Every single one of you can be forgiven of any transgression with which you may struggle. The weight of your sin will really catch up with you in your mission. I’ve met missionaries in the mission field who ultimately went home because they can’t carry the guilt with them. So I’m asking you to repent. Be active and be clean. If required, get active and get cleaned. Don’t be afraid to talk to Bishop Shaun. I know our bishop, and he is a reasonable man. He can and will help you with whatever you are struggling.
- Read and study Preach My Gospel and the scriptures! Don’t follow my example. Many of you knew before I was ordained as a missionary. I didn’t read my scriptures nor did my daily prayers, and I loved skipping seminary classes.But many of you will gain profit if you follow this counsel. Familiarize yourself with the doctrines of the Church and study the missionary lessons. Know the Apostles and Prophets of both old and modern, and learn from their counsel. Your teaching will be more effective if you actually know what you are talking about!
- Save and budget your money! I speak to those who are impulsive buyers like me. Most of the missionaries in the Philippines receive at least 8,000 pesos in support, but they are only for expenses on food, transportation, and hygiene. Every single cent that you receive from the mission is the widow’s mite. You cannot be here to spend thousands as though the Church is paying you a personal salary. It is the Lord’s money, and remember in Malachi, the Israelites robbed Him in tithes.
- Learn how to plan! It all begins in planning. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. You can start ahead learning how to plan by planning for your life and for your mission preparation. Learn how to successfully make goals. They extremely important. As a current district leader, I have seen how planning can change an area and ultimately the lives of numbers of people. You will be happy to see that change in them because you decided that you will plan for 30-60 minutes just for their spiritual progression.
- Be exactly obedient, and wake up at 6:30am! I can’t stress this out enough. Begin waking up early while you are still at home. Be early at any home teaching or church activities. The Lord does not accept Filipino time. We follow His own timetable. For obedience, if you want to be happy in the mission, follow the white handbook. Remember, wickedness never was happiness. These will be the best 2 years of your lives. And these 2 years are of the Lord. They are not yours. But you will reap eternal happiness and gratitude for this rare opportunity to represent Him wherever you are assigned to labour.
I think these counsels should be enough! I hope you young men read that and
internalize the advice which I have given you. If the English is too deep, then ask someone to simplify it for you. The same goes to any young woman who has the desire to become a full-time missionary. I love you all! Keep those e-mails coming!
In closing, enjoy this picture with me and a siamese cat!
Philippines San Pablo Mission