Dear Bro. Chris Blackhurst & MM 8th Ward Young Men.
Having been on the mission for eight months to the day now, I have learned many things about life and especially about the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I could have learned no where else in the world. I have been thankful for what I had done to prepare to serve the Lord for two years but also wish I could go back and do a few things to prepare more effectively. I am thankful for the work ethic I fostered before coming out here because without it I would have been wasting my time. Above all things, hard work pays the most and goes the furthest. Here are a few suggestions for each of you to prepare effectively to serve the mission.
1. Read the Book of Mormon, Study it!
2. Read the Bible, at least the New Testament. The world knows the Bible and if you know the Bible, you can have a greater influence on people. You can link the Bible to the Book of Mormon in many ways. Study and find those links. Find the links to the Restoration.
3. Study Preach My Gospel. Get Familiar with the lessons now, get familiar with the mission schedule. If you think you can learn them in the MTC, you are mistaken. There are so many things that go on in the mission field you don't have time to learn the doctrines last minute. Start now.
"Before ye seek to declare my word, seek to obtain my word."
In the mission we declare the word of God, so seek to obtain it now!
4. Begin Talking with everyone you come in contact with, practice starting conversations and getting to know people quickly. I have seen so much time wasted because missionaries are scared to talk with people. You are expected to talk with 150-200 people every week and have a gospel discussion with them. Become a talker now, develop those people skills.
2 Timothy 1:7-"For God hath not given the spirit of fear, but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND." Do not be afraid or ashamed of the gospel you bear, for Christ is your companion wherever you go!
5. Be Prepared! When you get to the mission field you get trained for 12 weeks, after those 12 you could be training like me haha. And after only seven months you could be a district leader, I’ve seen missionaries become leaders in the mission after just three months. Be prepared to take anything by the horns.
6. BE EXACTLY OBEDIENT. Obedience is the price we pay for miracles. By obedience we show our faith to our Heavenly Father. By obedience we obtain the spirit and without the spirit we cannot do anything! Practice being submissive, obedient and humble. At times wethink rules are dumb but they are there for our joy and happiness, just accept them as they come. Pray for strength.
7. Do Everything to make your testimony hard as rock. "Remember that it is upon the rock of our redeemer who is Christ the son of God that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea his shafts in the whirlwind, yea when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you it shall have no pwer over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, wheron if men build they cannot fall." The Lord is building us into men on the mission. And we can recieve no witness until after the trial of our faith. Our faith is constantly tested and tried in the mission field. Build upon that rock now so that you will not be shaken in anything.
The mission is awesome! You will meet great people, you will see miracles, your faith will become as iron. You will come to know the gospel more vastly. The Gospel is so complete and so simple yet so complicated, we learn more everyday, but we can learn more and faster than ever on the mission.
The mission is 10 years of university, only the professor is God Himself, all powerful, all loving all knowledgable. You gain skills and trades here far beyond anything you can learn at home. Maybe sometimes we feel the gospel is boring, church is boring, the scriptures are boring. Above all, I testify that The Gospel of Christ is everything! Nothing else matters. Ipod, X-box, computer, facebook, movies, tv..you name all the material things of the world and it all adds up to nothing. Money cannot buy salvation, it cannot purchase true happiness. Only Christ can purchase true happiness and salvation through His blood. Come unto Him and purchase bread without money and without price. Bring other to Him. Come on a mission and experience the greatest blessing of life. Come experience the joy, the treasures, the wisdom. Nothing else matters!
In Mosiah Chapter 9 we learn about the people of Zeniff and their war with the Lamanites to take back their own land. Zeniff arms the people with bows, arrows, cimeters, swords, clubs and all manner of weapons of war that they could INVENT! They took upon themselves the full armor of God, the breastplate of faith, the helmet of salvation the sword of truth. They prayed and supplicated with the Lord that they might be successful that the Lord would deliver them! God hear their prayers and delivered them out of the hands of the Lamanites. Now liken this to yourselves. Prepare for battle, your time is almost here. It comes quick. Take upon yourselves the full armor of God, pray for strength, arm yourselves with all manner of weapons that you can INVENT! The scriptures, your prayers, your fasting, your love for the Savior, take up all these weapons and join the ranks!
I Testify that this is the Work of Our Savior Jesus Christ, this is His great and marvelous work and a wonder. Fill yourselves with the attributes of Christ, learn them in PMG chapter 6. They will bless you. Drink deeply from the words of life in the scriptures daily, they will bless your life. I Testify that God lives, He has a great plan for us, Christ Lives, He has saved us from sin and death. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, Christ directs His church through Him. Joseph Smith did see God the Father and His son Jesus Christ He was a prophet of God! The Book of Mormon is True.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Braden Cottle
New Zealand Wellington Mission
Missionary for the Lord Jesus Christ