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Advice for Young Women Considering Serving a Mission

Mormon Young WomenI asked my panel of returned sister missionaries: How would you counsel a young woman who is not sure if she should go on a mission? Here are their responses:

“I would say to really ponder and pray about it; if it’s something that crosses your mind often, then I think that it’s something worth considering seriously. Make up your mind, one way or the other, and ask the Lord if that’s what He wants for you, and He’ll let you know.” Jessica Rex, Arizona Tucson Mission

“Be sure! A mission is no easy task. It is physically demanding and spiritually demanding. Each mission is different, but even where I served, it was tough. Why is it you are considering going? You have to have the desire! I saw more than one sister go home early, and it was always a sad thing, whatever the reason. Make sure you want to do it, and if you decide you do, be prepared! It will be much more difficult than you ever thought, but it will bring greater joy and happiness than you ever thought as well.

“As a sister, you aren’t required to go, but sisters bring something that sometimes Elders can’t. We worked with one particular family, and I know that if it were Elders that worked with them, we wouldn’t have seen the same success. With them, it was necessary. I can’t exactly explain why, each circumstance is different. Go because you have a desire to serve the Lord, and want to serve others, not because someone wants you to do it. My mission was a great experience and great preparation for the rest of my life, but was not a cake walk. If you are not sure, find your answer. The Lord will bless you, follow His guidance.” Wendi Condie, Montana Billings Mission

Mormon Women“Don’t go unless the spirit specifically directs you to do so.” Kristin Wardle Sokol, New York Utica Mission

“Prayer and searching the scriptures for direction. I always knew I wanted to go, but I really tried to find the confirmation about whether it was right or not. I kept a scripture journal and looked back on it when I was getting ready to put in my papers. Everything in my scripture reading pointed to me going on a mission. I knew that the Lord was leading me in the right direction through the answers I got from the scriptures.” Laura Daniels, Argentina Neuquen Mission

“Pray and read your scriptures. The answer might not come immediately, but keep praying to know. A mission isn’t for everyone. The young men are the ones that have been commanded to serve. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t go. If you do, great! Work hard and be obedient. Your life will be blessed. You can’t go wrong if you serve a mission. However, if the opportunity arises where you met your eternal companion, don’t make him wait. Marry him! :)” JoLynn Hansen, Texas, Houston East Spanish Speaking Mission

“A mission is a challenging and frustrating thing at times, but it is also rewarding and fulfilling as well. The decision for a young woman to serve a mission is different than for a young man. We are encouraged, but not required to serve a mission so therefore it requires us to really ask the Lord if that is what is right for us. Sometimes in life God allows us to make the decisions and then He supports us in that. Sometimes we just know that that is what God would have us do, and other times we know that there is something else that God needs us to do. I guess what I am saying is that God will support our righteous decisions.

“If we decided to go to school, get married, or something else then He will support us. It is when we know deep down that He needs us to serve His children somewhere in the world that we are held accountable for our decision should we choose not to serve a mission. God loves us so much and helps us along our way. I knew in my heart that a mission was what God needed me to do. Not everyone will feel that, and some will feel that they could choose either. God is a wonderful parent and allows us the opportunity to serve and grow in so many capacities. My advice is that you pray and really find out if God needs you to do something, whether that be serve a mission or whatever it may be.” Katie Gividen, Russia Rostov-na-Dony Mission

“I think there are a few ways I could counsel young women about serving a mission: 1) I’ve always been under the impression that there’s a good, better, and best: for me going to school and working qualified as good and better…. but serving a mission was best. Going on a mission could be best for you. You’ve got to ask God that question. Your feelings will be a good indicator of what is right for YOU. However, sometimes if there are multiple good things for you to choose from, God might allow you to make the choice— and if that’s the case, go on a mission! :)” Emily Craghead, Arizona Tucson Mission

“Do it. What’s 18 months when it just might bring you closer to God than you’ve ever been; help you understand who you really are; bless the young Elders by showing them how it’s done when committed to it; and receiving life long blessings far out weighing the sacrifice for such short service.” Patti Rokus, Temple Square Visitors Center Mission

What are your thoughts? What’s your advice for a young woman thinking about going on a mission? We’d love to hear from sisters who didn’t go as well as those who did. Please share your comments.

Sister Missionaries, What Made You Decide to Serve?

Sister Missionaries Serving“My patriarchal blessing talks about me serving a full-time mission. After I graduated from Ricks College, I turned 21, and I wasn’t dating anyone at the time. I knew what my blessing stated, but felt I should still pray about serving. It took a few months before I got my answer. It was during my scripture study. I KNEW that I was suppose to serve, and I had the desire to serve. I felt so blessed to have the gospel. I felt in debt to the Lord.” JoLynn Hansen, Texas, Houston East Spanish Speaking Mission

“Growing up I always felt like I was going to go on a mission and had the desire to go. When my 21st birthday was approaching I prayed about it and got the impression not to go. I was shocked and mostly frustrated that my righteous desires were being met with an answer that I didn’t want. About 6 months after that I then felt the urge ‘Go and go now.’ I fought the feelings off for about 3 months until I finally talked to the bishop. I always had the feeling God would ask me to go when it wasn’t easy for me to go, when I had finally been accepted to a major I wanted and I finally felt like things were going ‘perfectly’ in my life. I’m so glad I listened– even though it was hard. My mission has blessed my life and will continue to bless me and my future prosperity forever, I know this.” Emily Craghead, Arizona Tucson Mission

“When I was about 12 another sister from my home ward went on a mission and I thought she was a great example. Since that time I knew I wanted to go. My patriarchal blessing also confirmed this decision.” Laura Daniels, Argentina Neuquen Mission

“My family means the world to me, and it is a huge blessing to know that I have the opportunity to be with them for all eternity, and I wanted more people to know of this opportunity that Heavenly Father has given to us.” Jessica Rex, Arizona Tucson Mission

“I had always thought that it would be really neat to go on a mission, but I never thought very serious about it until one day during a study group at BYU. We were studying for a final and one of the girls there had served a mission. I asked her a few questions about her mission, and the only thing that I remember her saying is that it was the best decision that she had ever made. I immediately felt a strong impression that I needed to make that decision for myself. I prayed about it shortly after that study group and felt so strongly that I needed to serve a mission. I have NEVER regretted my decision to serve a mission. It has blessed my life in ways that I never would have imagined. I would do it all over again, and hope to one day when I am able again.” Katie Gividen, Russia Rostov-na-Dony Mission

“The spirit pestered me for years until I finally gave in at age 23.” Kristin Wardle Sokol, New York Utica Mission

“God. I didn’t plan to go, but when fasting for direction in my life, I got a distinct impression to serve. And so I did. I’m SO glad I did.” Patti Rokus, Temple Square Visitors Center Mission

“When I was 19, I knew some missionaries who were just awesome. My dad had served a mission, and I have an aunt who served. Those missionaries had a light and life about them that was so contagious, and I wanted that, and I wanted to share it. One of the biggest reasons I decided to serve were some statistics I heard about returned missionaries and their children being married in the temple. They said that if the father was a returned missionary, about two thirds of the children were married in the temple, but if both mother and father were returned missionaries, it jumped up to over 90%. I thought there was no greater blessing I could give my future, (and now current) children, than that extra boost towards temple marriage! Now this doesn’t mean that if you don’t serve, your children won’t be married in the temple, but for me, it was an impetus and a blessing! I had the desire, and the Lord blessed me with the ability to serve a mission, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that!” Wendi Condie, Montana Billings Mission

What are your thoughts? If you’re a returned sister missionary, what made you decide to go? Please share your comments.

Mission Preparation for Women and How It Differs from Men

Mormon Women MissionariesSister missionary specific inquiries from young women considering a mission are among the most common questions I get on this missionary preparation website. Because my perspective is that of a man, I have been unable to fully answer many of these questions. So I decided to reach out to several of my family and friends of the fairer sex to get their thoughts on some of these common sister missionary related questions about mission preparation for women.

This is the first in a series of articles geared especially to young women who are considering a mission or already preparing to serve in that capacity some day.

How is missionary preparation different for women than men?

“It is different in that there is always that chance that you won’t go. In a way it is a little more difficult because it is not an automatic next stage in a woman’s life like it is for the Elders. Other preparations would be spiritual, financial and physical, just like Elders.” Laura Daniels, Argentina Neuquen Mission

“Mission prep is different for a sister missionary in that we are older when we go out – we are more set in our lifestyle, and it is often times more difficult for sisters to adjust to having a companion 24/7, and having a schedule that they have to follow. We make our own decision to go – we are not commanded to go, but we still must decide to be perfectly obedient, even when it is difficult.” Jessica Rex, Arizona Tucson Mission

“We buy dresses, and they buy suits. LOL.” JoLynn Hansen, Texas, Houston East Spanish Speaking Mission

“I don’t know that preparation for a mission is much different. You have to be physically and spiritually strong, you have to know the gospel, you have to have a deeply rooted testimony, you have to have a desire to serve and share the gospel. Both young men and young women need all of these things.” Wendi Condie, Montana Billings Mission

“I would say that missionary preparation for both men and women are the same. It includes living a good life, and doing the little things that we are encouraged to do every day. Reading the scriptures, praying, serving, and trying our hardest to be in tune with what the Lord would have us do in our lives. Serving a mission is a wonderful opportunity, but it is also challenging in every way possible. There are very few things that I have done in life that have come close to the challenges that I had on my mission. If you are close to the Lord and trust in His will that is the best preparation that you can have.” Katie Gividen, Russia Rostov-na-Dony Mission

“Men know of this life event for generally their whole entire lives, where women are not always preparing for it. So I’ve noticed that, financially, missions can be very straining for women, where some men have been saving up since they were little.” Emily Craghead, Arizona Tucson Mission

What are your thoughts on the differences in mission prep for women as opposed to men? Please share your comments.