As our son, K.C., was on his mission, he had time to reflect upon his mission preparation – and even lack thereof. It was exciting to see our missionary son speak and encourage his younger brothers and sisters to serve. He wrote a great letter home to his younger brothers and gave them some suggestions for their missionary preparation. K.C.’s advice is generally applicable to all youth who are now contemplating serving a mission. Share his words with your young men and women. In October of 2004, Elder Hunt wrote:
“Recently I have felt some desire to write to you both. I wish to make amends where necessary and help inspire and instruct you in your preparations for missionary service – especially with the changes that are currently taking place.
I feel as though I haven’t always been a very good example to either of you. Throughout our early years, I spent a lot of time being the bully and a pretty big jerk. I realized the error of my ways before leaving and tried to be better – but never really went through the complete repentance process, I think. So, I wanted to apologize to each of you and let you know that I was in the wrong – “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and well be forever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Spirit.” I would also ask for forgiveness from you both. Will you forgive me? I hope that we can all learn from my poor choices and be better people because of it.
It is an exciting time to be a missionary! I don’t know if you know about what is taking place at all, or how much you may know. But, I figured I’d give ya’ll a live – “from the field” explanation of some of the new changes and maybe in some way, help prepare you both for when that time comes.
As I became a missionary, they had just recently done away with the memorized discussions. So, in the MTC, we learned how to “Teach by the Spirit” by writing outlines of what was contained in the old 6 discussions. That worked great, for the most part, and prepared us for now.
In the MTC, we were given a lot of materials to help us teach. We had the discussions, the New Member Lessons, The Missionary Guide, and the Missionary Gospel Study Program booklet. All of that totaled about 700 pages of information.
Well, the General Missionary Committee, The First Presidency, and Quorum of the 12, decided they wanted to reduce all of that to one book – with no more than 250 pages. They did just that. The end result was “PREACH MY GOSPEL”. It is an amazing tool for missionaries. It is designed to make better missionaries and to teach them how to study better and to learn and teach the doctrine of the church.
With “PMG” comes a revised set of lessons (rather than “discussions”) which teach the same doctrine of the 6 discussions, but much simpler – and in only 4 lessons. We then study the lessons, and create our own lesson plans to include: 1) the doctrine, 2) Supporting scripture(s) and 3) Teaching “by the Spirit”. The bold, clear, and direct commitments were somewhat overlooked before, so this all focuses on commitments and being BOLD. All of this is what you can expect to learn, live and teach. There have also been other more minor changes: A set 30-minute workout time, unified area books and a number/people tracking system for reporting.
I feel as though I am here preparing the way for you. I’ve thought a lot about you both with these new changes. “Raising the Bar” and “Teaching by the Spirit” were mere preparations for this new way of life and work. I am part of that generation of missionaries. But, you are both part of the next generation – which I would say is greater. You will both come into the field after all these preparations have been made and implemented. You are to be the greatest generation of missionaries – for you will have the greatest tools available to be better missionaries and to teach better! Never before have missionaries been endowed with as much as you will be!
Hopefully I’ve got you excited to be a missionary! You really should be! And now, some counsel that you will hopefully take to heart:
- You must have a testimony of Jesus Christ and His Atonement – as well as The Restoration and all that comes with that knowledge.
- You need to know how to study – not just read – the scriptures. (And I’ve included a copy of the new missionary lessons for you to study if you so desire. Memorize the main doctrinal points in order. Memorize scriptures form the lessons.)
- Memorize D&C 50:13-22, as well as D&C 4.
- Live the Gospel completely. You can’t afford to deviate in the least. Repent and purify yourselves.
- Be a missionary NOW! Go on exchanges, help teach, talk to your friends who are not members.
- Save money for your mission and for afterwards. Pay your tithing and fast offerings.
- Appreciate mom and dad’s counsel – as well as that of other leaders – and live it.
Hopefully, I’m not preaching to you (or to the choir) but these are things that I could have done better at – and that I know will help you to be more prepared to serve the Lord. Look forward to missionary service. It’s AWESOME!
One more piece of advice and then I will close. Don’t worry about girls and getting all serious with them before leaving. Just have a good time and get to know a bunch of people. Ninety per cent of them girls that you hang out with now will be married by the time you get home, anyway. I promise!
God is our loving Heavenly Father! He created a plan for us – including The Atonement – so that we can return to him! Jesus fulfilled that infinite and perfect Atonement. They spoke to Joseph Smith and through him, restored the truth in its fullness. We are led by a living prophet today! The Book of Mormon is evidence of all of this! I know it is – because I’ve done my homework – and hopefully, you are too! I love you both! … LATER …”
ELDER KEVIN C. HUNT
Although his counsel is now ten-plus years old, it is still very valuable for today – even though the pace of missionary work has quickened manifold even since that time. And with recent changes in missionary age for service, and all that we have heard about “raising the bar”, our preparation of future missionaries must be stepped up and taken to new and higher levels.
And with the recent announcement by President Monson – about boys being able to serve at age 18 and girls, at 19, the preparation of missionaries rests very squarely – and with a lot of force – upon parents and families. It now must all happen before the children graduate from high school. Seminary, Scouting, Priesthood and Young Women can all help but very clearly, the responsibility now – more than ever – is upon parents and families.
So, how are we going to do it? (We’ll talk more of that later!)