YOU ARE IN FOR THE GREATEST ADVENTURE OF THE NEXT 18 MONTHS!
To be honest, missions are hard. You know this. I am not the first person to tell you, but I don’t think you can understand how hard it is until you get there. But know this: Your mission is so do-able! You can do it! I have full confidence in you and so does the Lord.
Here is a few of those things I wished I had known:
The first week in the mission field is the hardest.
You have been dreaming about this since you can remember. You have been trained, you have been pumped up (thank you MTC) and now you realize that you have no idea what you are doing. You feel awkward, you are wearing new clothes, in a new place, with new people and that can be terrifying. So, don’t be worried when you feel like you are the least prepared missionary ever. WE. ALL. FELT. THAT.WAY!
Develop mission-appropriate coping skills before you go.
My primary stress coping skill is 1)sleeping and 2) introverting (reading, watching TV, drawing by myself.) Obviously, my life was in line with the standards of the church, but there are certain things you cannot do on a mission. Because of this, I had to learn new relaxation skills on the job, which can be difficult and create additional stress. I did it, but I wish I didn’t have to. (cooking, journaling, and stretching(i know lame)).
Get one of those calendar books. You know the ones where you open it and there are these 30-31 little boxes in each month…. After a long day, journalling can be just another thing to do when you are literally so tired. So. I got this idea from my perfect trainer. She would write only a few words about what happened that day in the calendar. I always included one thing I was grateful for. Made a whole lotta difference.
My favorite mission skirt was a 1950’s navy blue with white polka dot pleated skirt. $3. Thrift shops have tons of appropriate length skirts. Once you decide to go on a mission, make a habit of stopping at random thrift stores. Be picky, but not super picky. Sometimes you won’t find a single thing that will possibly work, other times you will come out with bags full. BUT thrift shops save you stress, money and time.
Learn to budget
My recently returned missionary friend reminded me of the importance of knowing how to budget. There have been many a sister who has completely run out of money. You have enough money on your card. The church will provide for you, but be diligent stewards of The Lord’s money. Spend what you need, but maybe limit your fast food. (Honestly, you’ll want to do this anyway… The weight gain problem is real. Especially in the states).
I feel that some weight gain is inevitable. So here is how to control it. Don’t have seconds at meals (or if the culture insists upon seconds, serve yourself a small first serving). Work out during workout time and lastly, don’t worry too much. As soon as you come home, you will drop the pounds.