Once you’re prepared to go on an LDS mission and are ready to fill out your missionary application there are a few things to keep in mind. This article details the basics of what to expect when applying, and becoming, a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including filling out the application, receiving your call, preparing for the temple, and attending the Missionary Training Center.
The Missionary Application Process
The first thing you need to do when applying for a mission is to meet with your local bishop. He will interview you to evaluate your worthiness and readiness to serve as an LDS missionary. He will guide you throughout the application process and will give you the paperwork and instructions for how to apply for a mission.
Once your paperwork is complete your bishop will have you meet with your stake president who will also interview you. Both the bishop and stake president must approve your application and sign it before it will be sent to church headquarters.
Filling Out the Missionary Application
Detailed instructions will be included with the missionary application along with the requirements for a physical examination, dental work, immunizations, legal documents, and a personal photograph of yourself.
Once the stake president has sent in your application to the church office it will go through a process that may take anywhere from 2 weeks to several months before you will receive your calling as an LDS missionary.
Receiving Your Call as a Missionary
Waiting for your mission call to arrive is one of- if not the most- anxious parts of the entire application process. Your call, from the office of the First Presidency, will be delivered in a large white envelope and will state which mission you have been assigned to labor in, how long you will serve there, any language you might be expected to learn, and when you will enter the Missionary Training Center (MTC). The letter will request your written acceptance of your call and will be signed by the President of the Church.
Also included in the envelope will be a letter from your mission president, the missionary handbook, guidelines for appropriate clothing, items to pack, required immunizations, information for parents, and what else you will need to know before entering the MTC.
Preparing for Your Mission
Now that you’ve been called as an LDS missionary and know where you are going, you can do a little research about your mission. One resource is to find your mission’s alumni website and talk with those who’ve served where you will be going. You will need to prepare yourself for your mission by purchasing any additional items and packing only the most essential resources. Appropriate clothing, suitcases, and other essentials can often be found in excellent condition, and at a far lower cost, from second hand stores, garage sales, and by shopping for sales and other good deals. One thing to keep in mind is that the less you pack- the better. You will literally be dragging your stuff with you throughout your entire mission.
The Church Educational System offers a Missionary Preparation Class through the Church's institute program.
Preparing to Enter the Temple
Your bishop and stake president will have been preparing you to enter the temple where you will receive your endowment. You will first attend a Temple Preparedness class where you will read the booklet, Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple. Also see, "10 Ways to Spiritually Prepare to Enter the Temple."
Since opportunities to attend the temple will be limited while on your mission, it's advisable to attend the temple as often as you can before you leave for the MTC.
Being Set Apart as a Missionary
A day or two before you leave for the MTC your stake president will set you apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ. Now you will be an official missionary and are expected to keep all rules outlined in the missionary handbook, including having a companion with you at all times and wearing your badge, which states your title ("Elder ______" for men and "Sister _______" for women, followed by your last name) and the name of the church.
Entering the Missionary Training Center
Most missionaries from the United States and Canada attend the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo Utah, although others may be assigned to an MTC in another country. Upon arriving at the MTC you, and any family members who may be with you, will attend an orientation where the MTC President will speak to all new missionaries who’ve arrived that day. Afterwards you will have a few minutes to say goodbye to your family. Next you will process some paperwork, receive any additional immunizations, and be given your companion and dorm assignment. Learn more about "What to Expect at the MTC."
Traveling to Your Mission
Missionaries stay in the MTC for three weeks unless they are learning a new language in which case they will stay for nine weeks. When your time is almost up you will receive your travel itinerary which will give the date, time, and travel information for your departure to your mission.
For the rest of your mission you will work under your mission president who will assign you to your first area with your first companion who will be your trainer. You will also be given your certificate to preach the gospel as an official representative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Learn additional details about LDS missions and what life as an LDS missionary is like.
Returning Home With Honor
Once you have completed your mission you and your family will both receive a travel itinerary giving the dates and information for your return. Your mission president will send to your bishop and stake president a letter of honorable release. Once you arrive home your stake president will officially release you from your calling as a missionary.
Serving an LDS mission is one of the greatest experiences you will ever have, one that will make you a far better person then if you did not go. Preparing and applying for your mission is worth any sacrifice it may take- one that you will never regret.