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Tips for living: Preparing for missionary service

By Jarrod Hiatt

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 16 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

You’ve been called to missionary serve and regardless of your destination, you are going to need to be prepared.

Former college athlete, returned missionary and now author Calvin Buhler has put together some tips on how to be spiritually, socially and physically prepared in his book, “Missionary Fitness: Prepare Your Body and Spirit for Service” (SoL Health Communications, $14.99). Buhler’s book helps missionaries, future missionaries and others ready themselves to serve. So if the mission call is to Africa, Alabama or anywhere else, a missionary can be ready to servethe Lord as it states in Doctrine and Covenants 4:2 — “With all your heart, might, mind and strength.” Here are some of his suggestions.

Spiritual preparation

Nourishing the spirit is essential to success as a missionary. Buhler’s recommendations are simple: Make sure to pray, read the scriptures, serve others and most importantly to fast. Fasting with a purpose, fasting with the proper mindset, doing spiritually uplifting activities while fasting and ending a fast appropriately with a prayer and with reflection afterwards helps strengthen missionaries and those preparing for service.

Social preparation

• Missionaries should be good listeners. Buhler suggests listening twice as much as much as talking because, as he puts it, “you have two ears and only one mouth.”

• Another suggestion is to get along well with others, focusing on commonalities rather than differences, and to be genuinely interested in others feelings and desires

If you’re not well-mannered, practice and study to learn manners. Having good manners can only help you in your missionary service.

• Learn to lead and to follow. Take advantage of opportunities to lead but also to follow priesthood leaders because, in many cases, they’ve been there before.

• Learn to love. Love will guide you in your service and help you develop compassion for those you serve.

Physical preparation

• Practice proper nutrition. Eating right will give you the energy you need to accomplish the work. Buhler compares the human body and the need for proper nutrition to an automobile. “A car without gas won’t run,” hew writes. Poor eating can cause missionaries to gain weight and have less energy to accomplish the work.

• Pack for your mission with fitness in mind. Be sure to take a good pair of athletic shoes and several sets of workout clothing, so when you do workout, you’ll have the proper attire to do so. Buhler also suggests taking some fitness equipment that can be easily transported in luggage, such as resistance bands, a jump rope and an exercise ball.

• Be active. Buhler encourages missionaries to take advantage of their time for physical activity at the Missionary Training Center and out in the field. He also suggests finding a routine that includes both cardio and strength training. He provides sample routines in his book.

Jarrod M. Hiatt lives in Utah and graduated from Weber State University with a degree in journalism. His email is jarrodhiatt@gmail.com.

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