Before full-time missionaries enter the mission field, they go through the Missionary Training Center or MTC. It is a place where they receive condensed training for their missionary service in just a short period of time. It is a sort of bootcamp for missionaries before they actually go to the areas where they are called to serve. But training to serve as a full-time missionary starts way before entering the MTC.
The home is a crucial place to prepare the younger generation to serve a full-time mission. The vision is to get them ready enough that when they enter the MTC, it will already be a review of what they have learned at home. To achieve this goal, children need to get back to the basics.
Teach Them the Doctrine
Family Home Evenings, Family Council, Family Prayer, and Family Scripture Study are avenues to help children know the doctrines of the Gospel. During these times they will learn about the Plan of Salvation. They will be taught principles that govern the lives of true disciples of Jesus Christ. They will also learn practical application of these principles, as they emulate your example. These basic family activities play a vital role in the spiritual maturity of a child. Every home evening, every prayer, every spiritual family activity is a blueprint like the mission field – full of teaching opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Teach Them Self-reliance
Children are exposed to basic self-reliance skills at home. When they are taught to do household chores such as washing the dishes, making their beds, sewing a button on a shirt; they are given opportunities to depend on themselves. It boosts their morale because they have a sense of accomplishment. In the mission field, mother is not there to cook your meals. No one will make your bed for you and you have to clean up after yourself. It is a type of survival skill to know these basic household jobs.
Teach Them People Skills
Social etiquette is more caught than taught. Allow children to play with their peers instead of with their gadgets. Communicate with them by spending more time with them. Allow them to express themselves. It is always an advantage for a child to meet and greet people in person – face to face. This develops their sense of empathy. Bring them to church and take them to visiting and ministering activities. In this time of digital communication, sometimes the essence of being able to truly understand people and touch their lives is obscured by emojis and forwarded messages. Future missionaries must be able, through their own experience, to look people in the eye and express sincerity naturally.
Teach Them How the Spirit Works
How does a burning bosom feel? Children must have opportunities to identify the presence of the Holy Ghost. That warm and comforting feeling whenever they do good or hear something true and eternal must be emphasized. For in those moments they can know for themselves how the Spirit brings truth and light to our attention. This is a crucial part of missionary work. Since the Spirit is the true teacher, children must have an understanding of how to invite Him and how to know that He is present. This way, they can also impart the same understanding of how the Holy Ghost works to their investigators.
The bar has been raised in the standard of missionary service. The age of young men and young women allowed to serve full-time has been lowered to 18 years old and 19 years old respectively. These inspired changes are an indication that the Lord is hastening the work of salvation. Parents can take part in this great work in so many different ways. But no work is of more importance than training future missionaries in these four ways – within their home.