6 Common regrets of LDS Missionaries
As I think back to my mission I found I had a few regrets. Either things I wished I had done, or that I had not done. I wanted to know if these feelings were unique to me, or if others felt the same way. So I talked with many returned missionaries, as we talked I found a lot of our regrets were similar. Here are 6 Common regrets of LDS Missionaries.
- Writing In Your Journal (Or lack thereof)
This is probably my biggest regret, and I’ve found it is the same for most missionaries and RM’s. Let’s face it, people especially guys don’t like to write. Plus, we’ve all had those days that at the end of a day of tracting we can’t even think of anything worthwhile to write about. Here are some ideas to record your journey.
If you’re a missionary with an iPad record what happened that day using voice memo, you can email yourself the recordings every week (to save space). Record not just the miracles but the funny things, and how you’re feeling. And this is my personal favorite, look for and record how you saw the Hand of the Lord in your life that day. I love the words of President Clark’s wife.
“We can see the hand of the Lord in every experience we have if we are willing to look. That is how we find joy through our trials.” ~Sue Clark
- Taking More Pictures.
It has been said, “A picture is worth a thousand words” I did not fully understand this until my mission. Why is it worth a thousand words? Because a picture contains more than just an image, it contains a memory. When I look over the pictures from my mission and pictures of companions, I am reminded of my companions, our funny experiences, and most importantly miracles that happened to us. Looking through mission pictures is like reading a mission journal.
So take a minute, step back and ask someone to take a picture! Who knows, if you ask someone they might be curious and it gives you a contact situation! (Just make sure not to look like a tourist)
- Taking Study And Planning Seriously.
The opportunity to study the Gospel like you have on the mission never happens again. Take advantage of that opportunity, study the missionary library! But more than just learning the Gospel applying yourself in studies now will teach you how to study which is very important in college.
The same applies to planning, almost every missionary I served with loathed planning, especially weekly planning. But now that they’re all RM’s they wished they had taken advantage of learning how to plan and become more organized. Time management is one of the greatest skills someone can learn.
“For you to grow in the gospel and stay on the path that leads to eternal life, you need to develop a habit of gospel study. The study habits you develop as a missionary will bless you personally and help those you teach grow in their faith in the Savior.” Preach My Gospel page 17
- Experience The Culture
For the first half of my mission every preparation day was the same, email, clean, my companion would write some letters, we would then either nap or play sports… This got old really quickly, we were not taking advantage of where we were living, experiencing the culture! When I got transferred to the Maine Coast, all of that changed, we started doing things on Pday, we visited Acadia National Park. We took tours of the old churches in Bar Harbor. We started experiencing the culture of where we lived! And Pday became something that we looked forward to, it became a recharge!
Do things on Pday, visit buildings, see the sights. You have chances to see and do things you might never have again! Don’t regret passing them up!
- Food The Good, The Bad, And The Recipes!
Let’s be honest, some of the food offered to missionaries probably among the nastiest things ever concocted. But the other end of the spectrum also happens a lot! Some of the best food I’ve ever had has been on my mission! Your mission also offers a chance to learn how to cook! My last companion asked me to teach him a few cooking tricks. Not only was fun, but it strengthened our companionship unity, and it tasted wicked good!
Learning how to eat cuisine that is different is hard but worth it! Ask for recipes and/or learn how to cook the local cuisine! I can’t tell you how many missionaries don’t do this, and end up craving the food from their mission with no way to get it. Plus often times asking for the recipe is considered a great compliment! (Just make sure it is not offensive in the local culture)
- Diet and Exercise.
This one is very important, not only for missionaries but for everyone. On your mission, you have a chance to establish habits of healthy eating and exercise. Sure it is hard, but as a missionary it is a commandment from God to get up at 6:30 and exercise. As we would say in the Manchester New Hampshire Mission. “You choose if you will be obedient every day at 6:30”.
Diet is an extremely important point. Most missionaries I know at one point or another on their mission want to lose some extra lbs. But careful and wise on how you approach this, and never impose your weight loss diet on members who are want to feed you. If you strive to become a wise steward of your body the mission can change your life. Personally, my trainer stressed this at the start of my mission, I was 300 lbs and because of his efforts and encouragement, and the help of my other companions I lost 50 lbs on my mission through diet and exercise.
Take advantage of this time in your life to learn who you are, and become the best version of yourself. You will never have a chance like this again to learn and grow and to forge eternal friendships.
If you liked this you might like one of these other popular articles or giveaways.