What I Wish I’d Known Before My Mission is a great little book by John Bytheway. Not to detract from the other mission prep books I’ve reviewed, but this one, more than any of the others, will likely resonate with young future missionaries.
Bytheway has a great knack for connecting with the youth with his humor and stories. The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 discusses life between high school graduation and leaving on the mission. Part 2 covers importance of keeping the mission rules, and what life is like inside the MTC. Part 3 talks about the great blessings that can come to the missionary who makes the Lord his constant companion.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
- “The kind of girl you want to date and marry will not only want you to go on a mission, she will expect you to.” p. 6
- “Read the Book of Mormon again, keeping in mind the idea that you will be teaching it to others….tell [investigators] that you have read the Book of Mormon carefully and that if they read it, they will have spiritual experiences similar to yours.” p. 7
- “Think of what would happen in the Church if every member traded one half-hour of TV a day for a half-hour of scripture study.” p. 9
- “Control your thoughts…you have to vigorously defend your brain as if it were a plot of land. There will always be invaders, and you must try not to let them enter. If they do enter your land, you must chase them off.” p. 11
- “The only way you’ll learn another language is to be humble enough to qualify for the Lord’s help.” p. 22
- “The Lord gets the work done through his people, and his people ‘done’ through the work.” p. 24
- “When you give your life to God, you allow him to bless you in ways you haven’t dreamed of.” p. 24
- “You will feel overwhelmed…Every missionary I’ve ever known has made that comment about the MTC. That overwhelmed feeling is good, though, because it will help you realize how much you need the Lord.” p. 31
- “Jump in with both feet, with a whole-hearted, don’t look back attitude. When it comes to that special someone you left behind, well, friend, it all comes down to good old fashion faith. You’ll just have to exercise it.” p. 32
- “You have two years to do it, and the rest of eternity to think about it…You’ll find that a good night’s rest comes only after a good day’s work.” p. 34
- “As a missionary, you can win hearts too. You can be kind, courteous, happy, and friendly—even if people don’t want to let you in! Leave their porch with a smile, and wish them a good day.” p. 43
- “If you don’t understand some of the mission rules, have the faith to obey even though you don’t know why.” p. 57
- “Never forget this important trio: The Lord, My Companion, and Me. It is this trio that does missionary work.” p. 65
- “If you start to feel weighed down by the pressures of missionary work, open your eyes and take a good look at your name badge…You carry his name on your lapel, and you want to be sure you also carry it in your heart. He wants people to be taught and baptized even more than you do! He is eager to send his Spirit to testify of the truth of what you are teaching.” p. 73
- “I love President Kimball’s words: ‘You are the Church to these people.’ …[people around us] were forming their opinions about the Church and its message based on what they saw us do!…That’s a great responsibility!” p. 83
- “The world is watching our missionaries. You represent the Lord, his Church, and  million others in the world. Represent us well!” p. 84
For a chance to win the book “What I Wish I’d Known Before My Mission” simply leave a comment on this blog post answering the following question: What do you think is the most important thing to know before leaving on your mission?
Please, just one entry is allowed per person. Comments must be received by Monday, November 15, 2010. The winner will be selected at random and I’ll mail that person a copy of the book free of charge. Good luck!