Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thoughts on Preparing

Let me just start with this.........

Preparing for a Mission is OVERWHELMING. 

If you are anything like me, you had all of these grand plans and ideas and schedules and dreams of how you were going to prepare when the time comes..... because preparing for a mission before you actually have your call would be silly. 

I learned the hard way that sometimes that's not the best idea.  In this game.... slow and steady definitely wins the race. 

So now that my preparation time is all but up, here is what I have learned. 

1. {Learn about your Mission}
From my experience, the more you learn and read about your mission the more excited you will be.  The more excited you are, the less scared you will be and the more motivation you will have to prepare.  I'm pretty sure I discovered almost every single blog with anything that even remotely has to do with Fiji or Missionaries and it was such a help! Pictures and stories and experiences from missionaries that are already there are a huge blessing.  I also stalked facebook and instagram and even Mormon.org profiles for tags and key words that might lead me to missionaries in Fiji.  Also..... talk to people! Take advantage of friends and family that know someone who knows someone who knows someone.  The more you learn the greater the Love you'll have for the people.  And at the end of the day.... it's the Love that gets you through and makes it all worth it. 

2. {Study Book of Mormon Mission Stories}
Some of my best teachers in this preparation journey have been Alma and Amulek and the Sons of Mosiah.  They are Fabulous.  You can learn so much from the patterns and attitudes that are recorded in those stories.  And what's better is these missionaries are coming with you! You can always turn to these stories for answers and advice and learn from the Spirit. 

3. {Study Preach My Gospel}
I wish I would have spent more time on this one.  Sometimes it didn't seem as inviting as looking up the current weather in Fiji or learning to count to ten, or researching the foods they eat, but it's important! That book is packed with information and inspiration.  I'm excited to continue to learn from it. 

4. {Develop a Pattern of Study}
I had a hard time with this one at first, because I wanted it to be perfect.  I was overwhelmed with the details.  How much time in Preach my Gospel? How to mark my scripture?  The important thing is to do it everyday.  Find a time that you can devote to learning.  Start with a prayer and listen to the spirit. I love to imagine Satan cringing every time I open my scriptures or write down a new thought in my journal.  Also, don't forget to use utilize talks and Ensigns and books and mormon messages etc. They are so many wonderful resources!

5. {Prayer}
Developing a relationship with Heavenly Father is essential.  Tell Him your fears and your concerns and your joys and your progress.  Ask Him for help.  He wants to help. Prayer is powerful.  Pray for the people of your mission and for the missionaries all over the world. 

6. {Look for Missionary Opportunities}
You don't have to wait to be set apart to be a missionary.  Real life experience is one of the things that helped me the most.  I realized that it's not that hard and it brings soooo much joy.  Sharing the Gospel here made me so much more excited to be a missionary. 

7. {Add Drops to the Bucket}
I saw a blog post a year or so ago that completely changed the way I think.  If you haven't read it or heard of it, please......

Stop what you are doing and READ IT! 

It is called ....... Drops of Awesome

I am a bit of a perfectionist and often find myself in the oh-so-familiar trap of not starting because you don't have a perfect plan yet.  This concept helped me realize that it's ok.  You don't have to be perfect.  Just keep doing good.  Keep moving forward.  Keep adding drops to the bucket.  Don't get discouraged because you can't spray water in your bucket through a fire hose.  Be grateful for the drops.  

I love what she says here.......

"I believe in a God who loves us and roots for us and cheers for every Drop of Awesome we can manage. Our victories are His victories and He wants us to feel joy. Not later, when we no longer make mistakes, but right now."

I know that Heavenly Father doesn't expect me to be perfect.  But I'm sure he gets real sad when he sees that I am beating myself up and preventing further progress because I expect myself to be. If today I only manage to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon or even a verse - it's ok. It's still a drop of Awesome added to the bucket.  And tomorrow I can try harder and add even more drops.  It's a beautiful thing. 

Don't get discouraged. Keep adding Drops. 

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