"WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Developing the Heart and Soul of a Missionary," by Don H. Staheli, Deseret Book, $16.99, 167 pages (nf)

Young men and women preparing for LDS missions may find Don H. Staheli's, "What to Know Before You Go: Developing the Heart and Soul of a Missionary" a highly useful and approachable guidebook for navigating the social and emotional aspects of missionary service.

Writing to a young audience, Staheli, secretary of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and former Mormon mission president in Paris, brings ample experience and perspective to the book.

Composed of 30 short chapters from 3-10 pages each, "What to Know" delves into coping with discouragement, serving and forgiving a companion, measuring success by effort, teaching with simplicity and through the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and resilience as well as other applicable topics. It addresses each of these ideas through a gospel lense and with scriptural analysis.

Staheli does an impressive job of teaching each of his lessons with well chosen metaphors, so the lesson sticks. His chapter titled "Hitting the Target" about goal setting is exceptionally relevant and memorable.

He recounts how, as a young military officer, he desired to win the marksman ribbon for his uniform. His instructor told him to find the target, but then to focus on the sights of the gun. He was taught, "If you can see the target, you won't hit it!"

Staheli relates this experience to being so enamored with the result of baptism that one forgets to "pay attention to the tasks within our immediate reach," such as "(p)ersonal worthiness, spiritual planning, spiritual finding and spiritual teaching." Focusing on those aspects of missionary work is more likely to lead a missionary to the desired end than focusing on the end will.

Each chapter concludes with an anecdotal testimony from a missionary. Although each testimony is heartfelt, it would have been nice to have more alignment between the chapter topic and the anecdotes shared.

As a companion to "Preach My Gospel," the missionary teaching resource produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "What to Know Before You Go" will serve missionaries well as a reference for navigating the emotional aspects of missionary work.

Miranda H. Lotz is an avid book lover, mother and adoring wife. She blogs about her journey as a mother of a special-needs child at www.timeinthevineyard.com