"PREPARING EMOTIONALLY TO BE A MISSIONARY: With All Your Heart, Might, Mind and Strength," by G. Sheldon Martin, Covenant Communications, $11.99, 80 minutes (nf)
In an insightful talk on CD, G. Sheldon Martin, a mental health counselor and seminary and institute instructor, takes training young missionaries for direct, full-time service one step further: becoming emotionally prepared.
Using the eight fictitious letters to home from the mission field, Martin introduces eight potentially stressful scenarios of mission service. He then proposes suggestions on how parents and youth leaders can use the challenges of everyday living before missionary service begins to strengthen and prepare young missionaries that is beyond gaining a personal testimony and learning the scriptures.
Martin doesn’t avoid spiritual preparation, but the practical advice he presents is valuable to consider. Directed at parents and leaders, the counsel will also be vital for prospective missionaries to hear and review.
It’s not the central theme of his talk, but Martin teaches “a deeper lesson” by asking individuals to consider, “How can I today prepare this prospective missionary (or myself) for service?”
The topics are living in the present; dealing with homesickness; confronting rejection; becoming comfortable communicating; focusing on validation from the Lord; getting along with others; learning to work hard, and avoiding the pressure to do everything right.
Martin uses many quotes from general conferences to both present the concepts and for recommendations to confront daily stresses.
Referencing a 1995 address by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, Martin encourages avoiding feeling overwhelmed. While not excusing sin, there is a problem in trying to do everything perfectly, Martin stresses. Missionaries — and many of the rest of us — realize “how great the work of the Lord is and how inadequate (missionaries and we) are and it becomes stressful,” Martin points out
But the speaker uses the general conference quote to help confront that challenge.
“We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous and endless,” Elder Nelson said. “Perfection is pending.”
Martin combines his counseling experience with his background as a EFY and Education Week speaker to quickly introduce each potentially stressful situation and review recommendations. It’s a lot of information in a single talk, but Martin is able to address the multiple concerns in an adequate summary.
This is Martin’s second talk on CD, following his well-reviewed three-hour CD set, “Be Still: Using Gospel Principles to Lower Anxiety,” which was directed at a more broad listening audience and delves more deeply into finding relief from the problems of anxiety.
The talk in broken into 25 tracks, and the CD publisher could have taken better care to identify each of the topic of the tracks with an index, which would have greatly aided repeat listeners to focus on individual topics.
Blair Howell was gratified (but also surprised) that he was able to help prepare his son Cooper for extremely successful missionary service.