So I have been home almost 2 months now, and it has been great to be with my family and share all my experiences with those who I love the most. Now I would like to share what I learned and what was useful to me on my mission.
How to Prepare/ What to Bring
- Study Preach My Gospel!! Read chapter 3 especially because that is what you will be teaching every single day. Get to know the lessons before the MTC and you won’t be so stressed out. Study the scriptures as much as you can before you leave because even as a missionary you don't have the time to study and learn all that you want to. I wished I had studied more of PMG and the scriptures before my mission.
- Study the language. When I opened my call to a portuguese speaking mission I was shocked. I knew it would be very hard to learn another language, so I started studying early. I used Duolingo, Pimsleur and I was lucky to have a member in my ward who had served in Brazil years earlier as a tutor. I wasn’t fluent when I entered the MTC but I was way more prepared because I had already studied the basics. The language was one less thing I had to stress about in the MTC. And believe me, the MTC can be stressful—learning a new language in 6 weeks, not being able to understand what anyone is saying fully, trying to adjust to all the rules, to being away from family, culture shock and whatever else might be happening in your life. So doing that really helped me to take more out of my MTC experience. So try and study whatever you can in the language.
- Memorize D&C 4 and the first vision before the MTC. Like I said, one less thing to stress about in the MTC.
- Pray for confirmation that your call came from God. Heavenly Father answers our prayers and He will tell you that what you are doing is right. I know that my mission is the best mission in the world–for me. You might think a different mission is the best, but it is wherever you are called. I know that we are called to a place for a reason. You have someone to teach in that area or you have something to learn. The plan of God is amazing and perfect.
- Bring hangers! Some people say you don’t need to because missionaries leave them at the houses, well that is a lie. I hardly ever found hangers in my houses and I was glad that I had brought some with me. Just the skinny metal ones will work.
- Shoes are way more important than clothes!! Especially in Brazil, it is hard to find good shoes that will last more than a month with all the walking that missionaries do. I brought 5 pairs of cheap (20-30 bucks) walking shoes with me and I had walked right through 3 of them by the end. My favorite shoes that lasted my entire mission (I alternated shoes a lot too, that helps) I bought at Ross for 20 dollars. And I almost didn't bring them because I thought they were ugly. But I am so glad that I brought them. You really never know what shoes will last until you walk a lot in them, so bring a lot of different shoes, unless you already have walked a lot in them.
- Don't bring anything you really want to keep, and don’t bring too much stuff. You go on a mission with one thing and come home with another. You will get sick of your clothes, you will leave them at missionary houses or give them away. I also bought a lot of clothes on my mission. So if you want something for when you come back from your mission, leave it at home. You will come back with souvenirs and new clothes to spare.
- Bring your own music player. I bought a little pitt bull speaker that has 4 gigs on it and it was great. I put music and conference talks during my mission as well. No one has cd players and everyone puts music on thumb drives. I love music and it was perfect to listen to good, uplifting efy music on the hard days.
- Bring stain remover. Really helpful when accidents happen. The instant tide stick is good and then the spray for home washing.
- If you like the deodorant you use here, then bring extra. Deodorant in Brazil is very different, mostly people use spray kind. They do have pads and tampons (less common) so don't worry about bringing an 18 months supply. They also have regular Toothpaste and shampoo brands, don’t need to stress.
- Bring lots of sunscreen! And lots of bug spray! You will not be sad to have an abundance of these two items.
- Bring scripture markers, colored pencils or markers and pens. They come in super handy with all the studying missionaries do.
- Bring the little, yet important, stuff, such as: tape, duct tape (they didn't have any in Sao paulo and I wish I had had some), super glue, good scissors, small sewing kit, small stapler, hole puncher and hand sanitizer. I had to buy some of these things on the mission but they all came in handy when I needed them.
- Buy a waterproof bag/backpack. Super important! It rains a lot in Sao paulo and unless you want all your scriptures ruined, waterproof is the way to go.
- Bring some American sweets with you. My mom had sent me a package in the Provo MTC full of good snacks that I took with me to Brazil and they lasted me more than half of my mission. Peanuts, almonds, banana chips, jam, beef jerky, skittles, peanut butter and redvines are almost impossible to come by in Brazil. So bring yourself a little something to cheer you up on the hard days.
- Bring pictures of your family, including Jesus Christ. Bring the pictures and the quotes that you love to decorate your study space. It's small but makes a big difference.
- Bring thank you cards, post it notes (big and small, like the tabs), and paper to write letters home. It always came in handy to have a little notepad or thank you card on hand to give to a member or investigator.
- Again—study the gospel!! Gain and strengthen your testimony BEFORE you leave. Study the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and Preach my Gospel. The activities in PMG are really good and help you to learn a lot. Study the nourishing word of God as much as you can!