Here at LDS Mission Tracker, we often receive orders from people sending their third or fourth, or even their fifth child on a mission. For first-timers, preparing a child to serve a mission and getting through the application process can feel overwhelming, and there may be many questions. We hope to answer a few of the most common for you.
Who is Eligible To Serve?
Any worthy young man who is 18 years of age or any worthy young woman who is 19 years old is of appropriate age to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Older couples may also be called to serve, as well as older individual men and women.
What are the Spiritual and Physical Requirements?
Although there are avenues for repentance, every effort should be made throughout the years preceding the time to serve a mission to prevent and avoid problems of a spiritual nature. The apostle Paul taught us that we will not be tempted above our ability to resist, and ideally, that should be the
motto we all live by. An interview with the Bishop and possibly the Stake President may be needed to determine worthiness or what is required to attain it. See President Thomas S. Monson’s address in the April 2010 Ensign, entitled “Preparation Brings Blessings” for more details.
As far as health goes, of course, close adherence to the Word of Wisdom is advised. In addition, a missionary must be able to walk up to six miles a day and or ride a bicycle up to 12 miles per day. There are also weight guidelines to ensure that health can be maintained. Again, a visit with the Bishop may help clarify those requirements. Read “Missionary Health Preparation” from the March 2007 Ensign for additional information.
Spiritual preparation is also important to the preparations. Developing habits of daily scripture study and personal prayers will prepare you for the work and make adapting to those routines in the field much easier. Seminary attendance, as well as regular participation in Sunday classes will also be important. Young Men should attempt to fulfill priesthood assignments they are given. Where possible, going on splits with local missionaries is helpful. David L. Beck, General President of the Young Men’s organization, answered many relevant questions in this helpful article. It also applies to spiritual preparation of the Young Women of the church.
Finally, emotional preparation should not be ignored either. For many youth, this may be the first extended time they have spent away from their home and family. Homesickness can be hard to deal with. The expectations of missionary service producing one baptism after another, and miracles being a daily occurrence, should be moderated and realistic. They should understand how to deal with disappointment and rejection, as well as a loss to a large extent, of their home support system. Parents should help youth learn to deal with issues on their own and teach them how to make good decisions in difficult situations. Study “Preparing Emotionally for Missionary Service,” by Robert K. Wagstaff for additional suggestions.
We hope that your youth are able, with work and perseverance, to attain a level of worthiness and self confidence they need to qualify for this life-changing experience.