Preparation day (or P Day as it is often referred to) is a missionary’s once a week chance to do big shopping trips, play sports, do laundry and write letters home to family and friends. Preparation day is the one day a week in which Mormon missionaries get a break from their usual schedule of proselytizing. It is called preparation day because it is designed to help missionaries prepare physically for the week ahead. P day, in my mission, was on Mondays, though the day of the week may vary from mission to mission.
Preparation day ends around dinner time (about 6:00 P.M.), after which missionaries are expected to carry on normal proselytizing activities. At least those are the p day instructions in the missionary guide; when I got to my mission, I found a slight alteration to that policy.
When I arrived in Argentina, it was late December and in the middle of a long, hot, muggy summer (remember the seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere). At the airport to meet us were a couple of the office Elders, and they took me and the other new Elders and Sister missionaries to the mission home located in the Rosario, Argentina suburb of Fisherton. The mission home was big and in a nice area of town and soon we met our mission president, Thomas Coburn, and his wife.
The introductory meeting with President Coburn lasted an hour or two. He inspired and uplifted us, shared some scriptures, and reviewed the mission rules. One of the Rosario mission rules that differed from those in the missionary guide was regarding p day. In the missionary guide, it said to use preparation day to see cultural and historical sites in the countries where you serve. President Coburn said there really were no such sites worth seeing in our mission, therefore he was cutting p day short by two hours. Preparation day would end at 4 o’clock for us, and this would give us a couple of extra hours each week to do missionary work.
This shortened preparation day was a disappointment to me at first, but I soon realized it wasn’t a big deal. I still had plenty of time to do my shopping, write my letters home, and I even got to play basketball a few times. And though there weren’t a whole lot of cultural or historical sites in the places I served, I did make it to the Argentina Monumento a la Bandera (Flag Monument).
I hope you future missionaries remember to make good use of your preparation day. Don’t forget to write a letter or email to your parents every p day. By making wise use of your time on this day, you will be better prepared throughout the week to do the work of the Lord.