As Director of Etiquette and Personal Development at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, she spent six years teaching etiquette to missionaries.
That was years ago, and that calling no longer exists. Yet, says Nanci Wudel, now a member of Mesa 30th Ward, Mesa East Stake, the need has never been greater for missionaries to learn these skills.
A BYU journalism graduate, Nanci is an independent video producer/director and has appeared in many national television commercials. She was the Mesa Easter Pageant director for nine years.
“Manners is much more than knowing which fork to use,” Sister Wudel says. “It’s about how to present and conduct yourself in virtually any situation. As emissaries of Jesus Christ, our missionaries need to know how to relate to others, how to take care of basic hygiene—in other words, how to be their best selves in appearance and actions.”
With this in mind, and at the suggestion of several mission presidents, Nanci wrote and produced a video called “Manners for Missionaries” in 1994.
“Now, 20 years later, it is as relevant today as ever,” she says.
While the information is essential for missionaries, it can apply to virtually anyone else, of any age, from every culture.
“I have had requests for this from mission ‘moms’ throughout the world,” Nanci says.
“Manners for Missionaries,” now in DVD format, has segments on table manners, how to build credibility and how to be more confident, gracious and modest. It also teaches about fitness and nutrition, clothing care—including how to iron shirts and remove stains—and apartment cleaning—including making a bed and cleaning a bathroom.
One Amazon.com reviewer says, “It has helped our children learn manners in a positive way.” Another says, “This is great! So helpful for families, college students, teens, and just about everyone. … the hairstyles and dress are a bit outdated, but [that] doesn’t take away from the message. The principles are really well taught. … Well done and a lot of information.”
From its inception the project was, and continues to be, a labor of love and a way for Nanci to contribute to the Church’s missionary efforts. Nanci donated her time and efforts to the project, and, over the 20 years since its creation, all proceeds from sales have gone back into the Church’s missionary fund.
The DVD is only available on Amazon.com, and, to find it, you must enter “Manners for Missionaries” in the search bar.