“Success isn’t the absence of failure, but going from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm!” This thought has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and others who’ve shared a common lot in life: Each experienced lots of failure! And each emerged with what is surely considered cumulative success in their hard-fought endeavors.
Successful preparation should provide a new missionary with a reinforced testimony, a heart to love and serve others, and freedom from dangerous influences of the world. On June 3, 2018, President Russell M. Nelson turned his focus on the youth and provided a powerful call to arms to help them achieve just these goals. His counsel to be proactive with spiritual commitment is an action plan for all prospective missionaries.
Focused missionaries set effective, specific, and measurable goals that serve the larger goals of the mission and the needs of their area. Setting and accomplishing goals before the mission build confidence and experience with the process. President Nelson provided five directives for youth, including preparing missionaries, that demonstrate the types of goals missionaries make, achieve, and extend to investigators and members during their service:
- “Disengage from a constant reliance on social media by holding a seven-day fast from social media.”
- “Make a weekly sacrifice of time to the Lord, for three weeks in a row.”
- “Do a thorough life assessment with the Lord, and perhaps with your parents and your bishop, to ensure that your feet are firmly planted on the covenant path.”
- “Pray daily that all of God’s children might receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
- “Stand out. Be different. Be a light. Give to a friend one copy of the booklet For the Strength of Youth.”
The first directive received high attention, and many youths began their social media fasts immediately. All the items on the list, however, can be just as powerful. Sacrificing time to the Lord in small amounts to start is excellent support for preparing missionaries who will soon sacrifice all their time—a massive commitment that can be made easier with practice. The type of assessment President Nelson proposes should be performed regularly and is one part of the formal interview process.
President Nelson addressed this devotional to all youth 12-18 years old. These are prospective missionaries, and the prophet made clear the gathering of Israel and the role of the youth in it is both immediate and essential. Whether your youth plan to serve a mission or not, begin following these directives immediately, and use them and prayerful inspiration to help set further goals for personal and spiritual development.