Advice for Young Women Considering Serving a Mission

Mormon Young WomenI asked my panel of returned sister missionaries: How would you counsel a young woman who is not sure if she should go on a mission? Here are their responses:

“I would say to really ponder and pray about it; if it’s something that crosses your mind often, then I think that it’s something worth considering seriously. Make up your mind, one way or the other, and ask the Lord if that’s what He wants for you, and He’ll let you know.” Jessica Rex, Arizona Tucson Mission

“Be sure! A mission is no easy task. It is physically demanding and spiritually demanding. Each mission is different, but even where I served, it was tough. Why is it you are considering going? You have to have the desire! I saw more than one sister go home early, and it was always a sad thing, whatever the reason. Make sure you want to do it, and if you decide you do, be prepared! It will be much more difficult than you ever thought, but it will bring greater joy and happiness than you ever thought as well.

“As a sister, you aren’t required to go, but sisters bring something that sometimes Elders can’t. We worked with one particular family, and I know that if it were Elders that worked with them, we wouldn’t have seen the same success. With them, it was necessary. I can’t exactly explain why, each circumstance is different. Go because you have a desire to serve the Lord, and want to serve others, not because someone wants you to do it. My mission was a great experience and great preparation for the rest of my life, but was not a cake walk. If you are not sure, find your answer. The Lord will bless you, follow His guidance.” Wendi Condie, Montana Billings Mission

Mormon Women“Don’t go unless the spirit specifically directs you to do so.” Kristin Wardle Sokol, New York Utica Mission

“Prayer and searching the scriptures for direction. I always knew I wanted to go, but I really tried to find the confirmation about whether it was right or not. I kept a scripture journal and looked back on it when I was getting ready to put in my papers. Everything in my scripture reading pointed to me going on a mission. I knew that the Lord was leading me in the right direction through the answers I got from the scriptures.” Laura Daniels, Argentina Neuquen Mission

“Pray and read your scriptures. The answer might not come immediately, but keep praying to know. A mission isn’t for everyone. The young men are the ones that have been commanded to serve. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t go. If you do, great! Work hard and be obedient. Your life will be blessed. You can’t go wrong if you serve a mission. However, if the opportunity arises where you met your eternal companion, don’t make him wait. Marry him! :)” JoLynn Hansen, Texas, Houston East Spanish Speaking Mission

“A mission is a challenging and frustrating thing at times, but it is also rewarding and fulfilling as well. The decision for a young woman to serve a mission is different than for a young man. We are encouraged, but not required to serve a mission so therefore it requires us to really ask the Lord if that is what is right for us. Sometimes in life God allows us to make the decisions and then He supports us in that. Sometimes we just know that that is what God would have us do, and other times we know that there is something else that God needs us to do. I guess what I am saying is that God will support our righteous decisions.

“If we decided to go to school, get married, or something else then He will support us. It is when we know deep down that He needs us to serve His children somewhere in the world that we are held accountable for our decision should we choose not to serve a mission. God loves us so much and helps us along our way. I knew in my heart that a mission was what God needed me to do. Not everyone will feel that, and some will feel that they could choose either. God is a wonderful parent and allows us the opportunity to serve and grow in so many capacities. My advice is that you pray and really find out if God needs you to do something, whether that be serve a mission or whatever it may be.” Katie Gividen, Russia Rostov-na-Dony Mission

“I think there are a few ways I could counsel young women about serving a mission: 1) I’ve always been under the impression that there’s a good, better, and best: for me going to school and working qualified as good and better…. but serving a mission was best. Going on a mission could be best for you. You’ve got to ask God that question. Your feelings will be a good indicator of what is right for YOU. However, sometimes if there are multiple good things for you to choose from, God might allow you to make the choice— and if that’s the case, go on a mission! :)” Emily Craghead, Arizona Tucson Mission

“Do it. What’s 18 months when it just might bring you closer to God than you’ve ever been; help you understand who you really are; bless the young Elders by showing them how it’s done when committed to it; and receiving life long blessings far out weighing the sacrifice for such short service.” Patti Rokus, Temple Square Visitors Center Mission

What are your thoughts? What’s your advice for a young woman thinking about going on a mission? We’d love to hear from sisters who didn’t go as well as those who did. Please share your comments.

41 replies
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      I don’t think we can ever be completely ready for a mission. There is always going to be one more talk you should of read or something you didn’t highlight in your scriptures, but I do believe the Lord prepares you. He gives you the Spirit. As long as you have the Spirit with you he will help guide and direct you. Do your best to prepare and know the gospel in and out, but the Lord will bless you. Don’t be overwhelmed he is on your side!(:

    • Sierra
      Sierra says:

      Sounds like Satan doesn’t want You to go, judging by those doubtful thought. Trust in the Lord with all your heart doubt not fear not. We won’t be perfect in this life but the Lord will always bless our efforts. When we are doing our best and asking him for help he will always sanctify our efforts and make them sufficient. When you trust in the Lord with all of your heart you always receive the blessings meant for your life. Sometimes we get trials, but many times those trials will help us in our church service or in understanding others later on and are well worth it. Turn to Jesus Christ and you cannot go wrong.

  1. Karie Beaty
    Karie Beaty says:

    Sometimes talking it through with others, such as your bishop, can help clear up your decision of going or not. Ever since I was 13 I’ve always wanted to go to experience my own missionary stories. Hearing other people talk about theirs saying that they are hard but worth it has always motivated me. When I reached 20, I started to waver thinking maybe I wasn’t really needed out there, wondering what happened to the excited me wanting to go on a mission. I soon became more and more confused on what I was going to do with my life especially since I had no certain career chosen, no interest in marriage at the at the time and just kept temporary jobs. I went to talk to a man who’s had a son and daughter go on their missions and the experiences and unforgettable times they’ve had has completely turned my choice around on going again and everything seemed to fall right into place. It was almost like the heavens opened up haha. I am really grateful for my decision and can’t wait to be going on my mission in 3 months.

    • Sierra
      Sierra says:

      Wooo hoooo!!!!
      Yeah, I used to have things planned out then Stan kind of clouded things up and made me doubt then I found I ended up following my first plan to go on and prepare for a mission anyway.

      WHETHER YOU GO ON A MISSION OR NOT!!! It is worthwhile to prepare for a mission and become mission worthy because you are preparing to make covenants with the Lord and sanctifing your life.

    • Stephanie Contreras
      Stephanie Contreras says:

      I am 21, and I am also confused. I know it will be good for me, and that I can do a great job, but I am not excited to do it since I know it will be very difficult. Especially since I only have about 1 yr or 2 to get my bachelors.
      I have been thinking..maybe I can make a decision once I get my patriarchal blessing.

  2. Sister Funaki 2be
    Sister Funaki 2be says:

    Thanks for the awesome advice sisters very Uplifting 🙂
    Stephanie a Mission will be very Hard if not the HARDEST thing we will experience in our life so i think having a Real desire to serve the Lord will help you in deciding whether a mission is for you its not for every girl but pray & read the Bom over and over again i was going thru that at one stage but i got my answer thru the Scriptures ask tThe lord to what he wants u to do he will answer ur Prayers if ye seek earnestly with real intent . . good luck all the best =)

  3. Sister Funaki 2be
    Sister Funaki 2be says:

    p.s Megan Confusion defs start at age 20 hahahaha Im 20 and going thru it now wish i realised realier i wanted to serve a mission back in my teens LOL nonetheless cant wait to serve tje LORD 2012 !!!!!

  4. Christin
    Christin says:

    I’ve been home from my mission for 5 years and it was the best thing that I ever did! I left in the middle of school and at the time felt like I had a lot going for me. Looking back I am so grateful that I decided to go. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done and everything about my life only got better because I decided to serve. I was talking to one of my friends a few months ago who didn’t go and she says that looking back she wishes that she would have. 18 months isn’t that long and in the long run it is such a short time to be away. Anything you leave behind will be there for you with you get back and those experiences will help shape your entire life. It’s never too late to serve and I really think that any worthy girl should seriously consider serving if they are of age. It’s amazing!

  5. Mary
    Mary says:

    Ive looked up to sister missionaries since I was a little girl. Part of me wants to go so badly but I just dont know what my future holds. Im not 21 yet, but my patriarchal blessing doesnt directly say I will serve a mission. Does it have to flat out say “you will serve a mission”?

    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Mary, your patriarchal blessing does not have to flat out say you will go on a mission in order for you to serve. The patriarchal blessing should be a guide and comfort to you throughout your life, but in most cases it does not spell out exactly what you should and should not do. Please be prayerful and seek the will of the Lord for you. Counsel with your parents and Church leaders, and by so doing I am confident that you will receive personal revelation from the Lord on what you should do. Good luck and God bless.

    • Felicia
      Felicia says:

      My blessing didnt say anything about serving a mission, or at least not in black and white terms. It wasnt until I had prayed and studied it out in my head that I knew that I needed to serve a mission. After I decided I would serve, I read my blessing again and was amazed at how blind I had been before. I had read my blessing several times, but after actually deciding to serve, I finally saw little hints that seemed to hint heavily at serving a mission such as sharing my testimony lots. I justified that as in a church calling. Helping others in the church whose testimonies were weak…yeah, justified that as a church calling too. But on my mission I saw my blessing coming to pass. As my dad told me when I told him i was worried that I would loose out on an opportunity to get married during 18 months, he said: Do you really think that if you served the Lord and helped others that you would be punnished for it? No, you will be doubly blessed to find your future husband and you will recieve an untold amount of blessings and be better prepared for becoming a mother and wife.
      I hope that you serve. I just got back from Brazil 1 month ago and it was the best decision I made in my 22 years of life. I wouldnt change a thing.

  6. Turarango Temoai
    Turarango Temoai says:

    hello sisters……… also one of you who really want to serve a mission
    am 20years old now and very confused about go on a mission.But thanks to all of you for commenting which give me strength to go on a mission.And after reading all your comments and advises…….I realised at last that i must go on a mission to bring other lost sheeps.Maybe someone out there…….wait for my signal…….
    thanks to you all.

  7. Candice
    Candice says:

    I have felt pretty lost in my life as I swayed from school to school, program to program and job to job. I was also in a relationship which turned into ultimatums that I must leave the church for him or he would leave. I finally came to a fork in the road and rid my life of the things that were taking me away from the church and brought back the things that made me happy (reading the scriptures helped a lot!). But still I felt that there was something missing. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I’m 24 and have felt rushed to accomplish schooling and start my married life. I jokingly told my Dad that maybe I should go on a mission. I stopped to think of what I said and felt something inside of me that was warm and comforting. We knelt down to pray about whether that was something I should consider and to help me with my decision. I started to cry as an overwhelming feeling of love came over me. I’ve struggled with many things in my life and lacked confidence and a sense of accomplishment in myself. Going on a mission I know would bring me closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus; but would help me grow and allow me to work on the things I struggle with and how I feel about myself. My family and I are fasting tomorrow for me to know if this is right. 🙂

  8. Larissa
    Larissa says:

    I never really considered it till, well yesterday when it was announced that girls can be 19 and it hit me that I don’t have to wait till I’m 21, I can go in just about 6 months. I had never really thought about it and just shrugged it off when people asked saying “When I get there I’ll decide.” And now these past two days it is all I have been thinking about, I just don’t know though if I should, I’ve heard if you cant stop thinking about something then that is a strong sign its a yes, but I still have some uncertainty about going… ugh, I’m just confused…

    • Jessica
      Jessica says:

      I’m in the same boat as you Larissa. I’ve never really thought about it, but now that the age is changed, I can’t stop thinking about it. I am confused and don’t really know what to do yet, but I think the Lord will help us both get an answer. I think a lot of what is holding me back is that I am sort of scared to go, but at the same time, the Lord will make up the difference, so I just don’t know. Anyway, good luck with your decision, I’m sure everything will turn out the way it is supposed to.

  9. Nia
    Nia says:

    Jessica and Larissa I’m in the same situation, as soon as the announcement was made I had the strongest impression to go. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since. My patriarchal blessing hints at it a little bit but I’m so nervous and scared to go, I’m just very confused!! I remember telling myself I’d never go on a mission unless the age changed and that would never happen….I guess he’s calling my bluff haha thanks for all your comments. It’s really helped me out and I don’t feel so alone!

  10. Katie
    Katie says:

    Hey ladies! I read all your comments up there, and I think they’re great.
    Here’s my story: I didn’t want to go on a mission because I didn’t want to miss out on prime datin’ time, plus I wasn’t confident in myself.
    My patriarchal blessing says I’d have the opportunity to serve as a missionary, but I always wrote that off as a senior mission.
    Then I came to China and relied heavily on the Lord. I learned that I owe everything to him, and my desires started to change. I told Heavenly Father that I was willing to go if that’s what He wanted me to do. I also said that I wanted to get married and didn’t want to have to turn down every guy I’d date till I was 21. I told him that I wanted to go NOW. The answer to my prayer was to just wait and I’d get my answer soon, but that I needed to prepare for a mission either way.
    A few weeks later, the mission age changed. As soon as I heard those words, I felt the Spirit overwhelmingly strong. I knew without a doubt in my heart that it was the right thing to go.
    My point in telling you my story is to let you know that you’re not alone in your confusion. I felt confused about it for a really long time before I got my answer. Some things that will help:
    1. Get out a piece of paper and write down ALL of your thoughts. Reasons to go, reasons to stay. Next to those reasons, write down your additional thoughts. Write whatever comes to mind, just get it all out there.
    For example:
    Reason to go: I’d get to serve the Lord
    -but I could also serve him just as much by settling down and starting a family
    -although I could do that right when I get back, it’s only 18 months
    -but I may miss out on meeting my eternal companion while I’m gone!
    -God wouldn’t allow me to be disadvantaged in any way by serving Him, if anything, He’ll bless me with someone even better when I get home
    Reason not to go: I don’t know enough about the gospel
    -but if I work really hard I’ll learn and the Lord will help me
    -I just want to get on with my education
    -but serving a mission would help me learn how to study and be a better student
    That’s just an example. Then when you’re done getting all your thoughts out on paper, read them all, cross out any that are irrational or silly or selfish, circle the ones that are important to you. Simplify your list down to your biggest reasons for going and not going on a mission. Pay attention to your feelings- they’re very important. If it’s the right thing to do and you are willing to do God’s will, He will make the answer make sense in your head and feel right in your heart. If you can, go to the temple and do baptisms and ponder and pray about your decision. Read your scriptures searching for an answer. Certain verses will probably pop out at you pointing you either way. God tends to be a big hinter. As we are searching for an answer, the hints become less subtle and things will start to clear up. He may not come right out and tell us what we need to do, but He trusts us and guides us to figure it all out. Then once we’ve made the decision and we pray to ask for his approval, He’ll let us know.
    In D&C 9:8 it says:” But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. ”
    Section 4 of the D&C is about missionary work. Read it.
    *****Definitely read this BYU Devotional before you begin this process. It’ll help a lot.
    And if after all this, you still don’t know–which is unlikely– then make an appointment with your bishop to talk it over and tell him how you feel. You can’t go wrong by deciding to serve a mission. Just put your papers in– if God has something else in mind for you, he’ll stop you. If he wants you to get married, he’ll probably send Mr. Right. If you receive a “Yes, going on a mission is the right thing to do” answer, then hold onto that with all your strength. Don’t let anything change your mind, unless you receive revelation from God that he has something else in mind for you. A friend of mine put in her papers, got her call, and then Mr. Right came along and married him instead. But the Adversary will probably try to fill your head with doubts and try to get you to change your mind because he knows that you’ll bring souls to Christ. So don’t change your mind unless you know without a doubt in your heart that God has something else in mind for you.
    Also, keep in mind that the mission age was lowered because the Lord NEEDS more missionaries. He’s hastening His work and needs more men and women out there preaching the word. I took the age change as a major hint from God that even though he doesn’t require women to serve, he really needs our help.
    God bless! I hope this helps all young women in their decision-making process! 😀
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE giving helpful advice to help people with whatever is on their mind. You are more than welcome to email me and I will do my very best to help you figure it all out. Helping people solve their problems is my favorite thing to do. My email is Hit me up!

  11. Brooke
    Brooke says:

    We had sister missionaries when I was little. I can honestly say those sisters are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. It’s been about 17 years since they gave us our first missionary discussion and we still keep in touch. For many years I said I was going on a mission, but as I got older, I got scared that I wouldn’t do well or would get incredibly homesick, so I decided maybe I didn’t want to go after all. I figured I’d have until I was 21 to fully decide anyway. I was 19 when they changed the mission age and didn’t feel an immediate urge to go, so I figured I wasn’t meant to serve. That is until my bishop suggested going on a mission might be really good for me. Four different times, over a few months, he mentioned a mission to me. I’ve been thinking and praying on it a lot and am seriously leaning towards going. I still have my fears, but maybe a mission is exactly what I need to push me past my fears. The Lord knows exactly what we need and will always provide us with opportunities to better ourselves and help others. I think a mission could be one of those opportunities for me.

  12. Modest Clothing
    Modest Clothing says:

    Preparing for a mission is a huge decision! With the recent age change we have noticed many Sisters instantly hopped on board and then have been quite surprised when they get out in the field! We are not trying to be-little or take away from the sincerity of these Sisters, only trying to say they were not quite ready for the change and shock of a mission. A mission is something that most 19 year old boys have prepared and thought of their whole life. By this quick age change many women who hadn’t thought of it before are getting in without giving it enough thought. Keep praying and thinking about it but it is something you will never regret when you go.

  13. Wandile
    Wandile says:

    Iv always wanted to go on mission. but since my parents are not members they recommended that i study first. im now doing my first year in college. and serving a mission is always at the back of my mind. i have been praying about it and i recently discovered that every thing that has been and is happening in my life has been preparing me for mission..the comments on this topic are inspiring i desire it so much i feel like dropping everything and going on mission..i just hope my parents will understand

  14. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I’m having some doubt’s myself and I need some honest advice. I had a very strong prompting I need it to serve and I had been contemplating it so much. I thought about it a lot. And everyone wants me to serve really bad. So when I finally thought I had gotten my answer I went straight to bishops office and told him how I felt. He actually got me started on paperwork. But now the more I think about it the less I want to go.. And I’m not sure if it’s just my doubts but I dont have the same desire to serve. But I dont want to dissapoint the people who wanted me to go so bad. I have a greater desire to study, though I do love missionary work.

    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Kathy, It is not an easy question that you are dealing with. And ultimately, the decision is between you and the Lord. But here are some things to consider.

      You mentioned having a strong prompting to serve a mission at first, but as time has passed, the desire to served has lessened. In my experience, I often get the most inspiration at the beginning (beginning of a new calling, beginning of a new job, etc.) and it becomes easy to doubt that inspiration later. But I have found it is well worth it to follow those initial promptings. Additionally, as time passes, Satan often comes in and tries to make us doubt the inspiration we have received from the Lord.

      Now this is not to say you should do one thing or another. We should always stay close to the Lord and sensitive to the Spirit, so we can receive direction in our lives and so the Lord can help us make course corrections if necessary. I would recommend, fasting, praying, studying the scriptures, and praying some more. If you sincerely seek the will of the Lord, the right thing for you to do will be made manifest to you through the Holy Ghost.

      Good luck and God bless.

    • pk26pk26
      pk26pk26 says:

      Kathy, you need to know that there are those of use who believe in Jesus Christ as our lord and savior, but not belong to Jimmy’s church.
      I know for a fact you do not need to wear special underwear with symbols or pay 10% of your income to a church or go through a rigamarole of bearing your life story to a bishop so you’ll get permission to enter a temple in which people wear strange clothing and do Masonic-inspired chants (and which used to feature pantomimed rituals of throat-slitting and having your naked body be touched by a church worker-they don’t do them snymore apparently) in order to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
      Mormons like Jimmy are great people, great parents too……but they’re completely misguided about Christianity. Other churches have missionaries too…..but they consist usually of older couples who weren’t pressured into doing it like the young, naive people of Utah and Idaho are. Thankfully, Jimmy never came down with depression or even committed suicide like some have.
      If this church would start treating people with respect it would go a long way to being a real Christian church.
      Plus, as a woman, you’d have zero input into helping this church. You are a woman, you are second-class. Jimmy will deny this, but I once attended a church co-pastored by a woman, I felt no less spiritual than anyone. You’re trusting your faith in the hands of geriatric men like Boyd Packer (whose hoarse voice at the last conference should tell you something) rather than letting yourself be close with Heavenly Father. Not even Jimmy has a say in how the church is run. If he’s happy with it, fine. But that doesn’t make him a better Christian than you and me. Men like Packer and Tom Monson have no special powers or gifts, so they have no right to act on your behalf. They are merely equal to you. Personally, I have no problems with most of the strange tenents of this church, but claiming men can become “gods” is simply a slap in God’s face. Even Jimmy should know that.

  15. pouliofata
    pouliofata says:

    everytime my best friend always advice me to start fill put my mission application, but there is something on my mind says no! dont go, so right now all im doing is pray for the spirit to be with me if this is the right thing that i must do right now,or no. but i surely agree that the lors wants his beloved children to stay on the right path and ready to go serve a mission because missionary work is very important in our life right now.

  16. Karina
    Karina says:

    So I have been thinking about serving a mission and I never completely said I definitely wouldn’t go so I feel like it could happen. I recently let it slip up to my parents that I was thinking about it and they immediately shut it down, if I don’t have my parents support does that mean I shouldn’t go ?

  17. Beverly lowry
    Beverly lowry says:

    Hello. I’m Beverly. I have been doing a lot of praying and reading the Gospel. I keep getting that feeling to become a full time missionary sister. What is the age limit for young woman?

  18. Citlalli Guerrero
    Citlalli Guerrero says:

    Well i have always wanted to serve I started praying about it when I was 15 (now 19 almost 20) my answer first was no then it was prepare, then ask again, could it be that the mission isn’t for me even if I really want to go? What would happen if I go and it wasn’t for me? I’m a bit concerned of what could happen if I do go if it’s not what the Lord wants.

    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      I believe if you do everything within your power to find out of the will of the Lord, and then you are still not sure what to do, that you should move forward in the direction you think is best. If you have truly done your part, if the decision you make is not the right one, I know without a doubt that the Lord will intervene and put you back on the right path.

      So be prayerful and then move forward in the way you feel is best. Good luck and God bless you.

  19. Fe B Macaspac
    Fe B Macaspac says:

    Pray and fast and seek your hearts desire. Study the scriptures and prepare in all things. Mission is a great investment not only for your spiritual life but for your generation to come. It is so great and lifting to serve the Lord by seeking and finding the elect and bring them through the water of baptism. It is a way of showing how you loveyour neigbor by giving your time talents and means , concentrate for 18 mos doing missionary work. It is also a way of strengthening your testimony by frequent sharing yours and the joys that the gospel brought into your life and the family. Seeing people change lives and start on the road to perfection is a great help for them that through you, giving your time and everything brought happiness eternally.

  20. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    With all the girls here saying they want to go but are not sure, and others saying if you want to go then just go, I feel inclined to share my story.

    Two years ago, my twin sister and I were among those who wanted to go on missions. We both had the desire, fasted, and prayed…but while she felt prompted to go, God told me to STAY.
    What followed were some of the hardest months of my life. As my sister prepared and left on her mission, I fielded MANY questions about why I wasn’t going as well. People said things like, “It’s not too late to go,” “Don’t you want to share the gospel?” and sometimes a patronizing, “Well, not everyone can do a mission but I’m sure God has a plan for you too.”

    I learned to be brief and simple in my response. Why didn’t I go? Because God told me not to.

    I’ve finally accepted that answer. I know that God would never deny me blessings. He wouldn’t keep me from a mission if there were blessings I could ONLY get from that experience. I’ve heard girls say they want to go to be a better mother…due to unusual circumstances, I am helping to raise a little girl and am definitely being prepared to be a mom. God finds ways to give us the blessings we need, where He needs us.

    So don’t let anyone pressure you into staying OR going. A full-time mission is a wonderful thing, but it is not part of God’s plan for all of us and there may be things just as wonderful or better for you at home…If you feel prompted to stay home, do not feel second class. You’re doing what God wants you to do. That’s all that matters.


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