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HOW TO OVERCOME DISCOURAGEMENT WHILE SERVING A FULL-TIME MISSION

SHARE HOW TO OVERCOME DISCOURAGEMENT WHILE SERVING A FULL-TIME MISSION

To help overcome discouragement, we suggest these eight steps:

- Realize that you are a chosen representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.- Think of your purpose as a missionary - to bring souls unto Christ through the ordinances of baptism and confirmation for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

- Remember that the Lord's work may not be easy, but worth it. "The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?" (D&C 122:8.)

- Remember that going through trials is the way you gain experience. "All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." (D&C 122:7.)

- Realize that fasting and praying are great ways to receive the strength necessary to overcome discouragement - "wrestling with God in mighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people." (Alma 8:10.)

- Read your patriarchal blessing. You can receive much comfort upon realizing the great blessings the Lord has promised you.

- Be obedient. "And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." (D&C 130:21.)

- Ask other missionaries and your mission president for counsel and priesthood blessings. Alma counseled his son, Shiblon, in this manner: "And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day." (Alma 38:5.)

In our situation, through using these steps, we have found that our trials, tribulations, afflictions, and discouragement have become lighter, and we've been strengthened. "For if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27.) - Elders Michael S. Davidson and Jeffrey K. Sugden, Mexico Torreon Mission

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What we did:

Be obedient

I suggest the following:

- Be obedient. If we are not doing our part by living by the white handbook and by the advice of our mission president, how can we expect the Lord to bless us with happiness?

- Study the gospel. The scriptures - and especially the Book of Mormon - tell us about many people who fought with discouragement, even as servants of the Lord, and how they managed to overcome their problems.

- Serve others. When we lose ourselves in the service of others, we are following the example of Jesus Christ, and nothing can bring greater peace.

- Get priesthood blessings. Don't be afraid to ask for one. The priesthood power is real.

- Work hard. Unselfish efforts to serve Heavenly Father will bear fruit.

- Talk to someone. A companion can help a lot and so can mission leaders. And Heavenly Father is never further away than a prayer.

- Remember missionaries are called of God by a living prophet. In temples all over the world, people are praying for missionaries' success, health and happiness. Family members, friends, a bishop, a mission president, ward members, a companion and leaders are also praying each day. - Anja Klarin, Boras, Sweden

Happy, enthusiastic

The best counsel I have ever received on the subject of discouragement during missionary service came from my stake president right before I left on my mission. He said: "Discouragement comes from Satan. Heavenly Father would never want us to feel let down or sad, but happy, enthusiastic and optimistic." - Elder Robert L. Rookhuyzen, Netherlands Amsterdam Mission

Effective antidote

One of the major sources of my discouragement is learning a new language, but I have found a very effective antidote. Each night after our evening class, my companion and I stop another pair of missionaries, and in the cool stillness of the night we bear our testimonies to them in Spanish. The words seem to roll off my tongue, and I feel the Spirit. My anxieties and fears float away with the gentle breeze. - Elder C.W. Ross, Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah

Helpful questions

When you feel discouraged, ask yourself the following questions:

- Do I love my companion?

- Do I love the people I serve?

- Do I love the members of the Church in the area in which I serve?

- Do I sustain the mission president and his assistants in their programs? Do I understand that they can be inspired in their decisions? - Samuel Bainson, Brown Deer, Wis.

Lost in the work

Discouragement can be overcome by work. As missionaries rely on the Lord and work hard, they will be able to find those prepared for the gospel. When they do this, they get lost in the work and discouragement is no longer a problem. - Elder Brady Johnson, California Sacramento Mission

Meaningful service

- Measure success by the service you give. At times it's difficult to teach or baptize, but it's rarely hard to serve others in meaningful ways.

- Count your blessings. Don't let discouragement lead to ingratitude. The scriptures are full of glorious promises to those who diligently serve the Lord. - Elder Virgil Zetterlind III, Portugal Lisbon South Mission

Clean apartment

If your apartment is dirty, then clean it up. The apartment will look almost new. You will feel better, and the atmosphere will be more conducive to the Spirit.

Eat right and get adequate sleep. - Sister Melody A. Rowe, Japan Tokyo South Mission

Cares vanish

Maryland Baltimore Mission Pres. Bruce Ballard encourages his missionaries to use D&C 59:23: "But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come." When in the service of another, your own cares will vanish. Forgetting oneself in missionary work indeed does bring peace. Work is the best antidote for discouragement. - Elder Perry and Sister Carol Ann Baldwin, Maryland Baltimore Mission

Be optimistic

Be optimistic. Look for the good in all situations. Smile and be joyful and the Spirit will be with you. Don't be grumpy or depressed. There is no room for discouragement in missionary work.

Encourage positive attitudes in others. Use a charitable heart and a soft voice. Seek the guidance of the Spirit. Never judge or accuse others. Be Christlike. - Elder Charles Gates, Utah Ogden Mission

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How to checklist:

1. Pray, fast for strength; study scriptures; seek the Spirit.

2. Be obedient; keep rules, sustain mission leaders.

3. Forget yourself in service to others; work hard.

4. Be optimistic; encourage positive attitudes in others.

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WRITE TO US:

Nov. 4 "How to protect yourself and loved ones from pornography."

Nov. 11 "How to safeguard your family from crime."

Nov. 18 "How to develop the gift of discernment."

Nov. 25 "How to foster good relationships with in-laws."

Dec. 2 "How to have the Christmas spirit while coping with death of a loved one."

Dec. 9 "How to keep Christ in your heart, mind all year, not just during holidays."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, or send fax to (801) 237-2121. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.