Words of Wisdom from Elder Randy Openshaw to his Brother Nathaniel and which he wanted to share with others...
To prepare better for a mission:
1. Learn how to do 30 minutes of excerise by yourself (no workout app) and with minimal equipment (we have a workout app and two 6 kg dumbells but not sure what you might get).
2. Food - learn how to cook regular, simple stuff and make it taste good with spices. Rice, chicken, noodles, ground beef and chicken Alfredo sauce are all great starting places.
3. Learn how to sew a button and iron, and practice it before. I knew how to but didn't practice much so it took a little longer to figure it out again and time is quite valuable. Also tip: the less pleats in your clothes the easier it is to iron =)
4. Learn to shower and get ready for bed or get ready for the day as fast as possible. One hour goes by quick for food, getting ready and (which is the only time you really have to get stuff done like sewing or ironing, besides Día de Preparación ). Often you need this time for doing stuff like filling out paperwork or projects like sewing or fixing something up and you want to make sure to be quick with the things that don't need to take much time.
5. Learn how to do object lessons for FHE/teaching. Look under Gospel Library and search "FHE Object Lessons" and the New Era has quite a few ideas. Try some out, figure out which you like or could do easily =) something I would like to do better but don't have much time to try out or even see which could be worthwhile.
6. Learn to study the scriptures and not just read them. Study them with the intent of sharing what you are learning, how would this scripture apply to me? But also how would this scripture apply to someone... who had a loved one died? Who is burdened by three jobs? Who is struggling with family member relationships?
20-30 minutes is a great starting place to get some great studies in. And if you want (this helps me), start your study with a question. And pray before studying that you can find the answer to the question. And I know if you do this you can have a testimony that God answers prayers. And thank God for the insights He does give you. It's harder for me to study when I don't have much of a purpose to study, so I ask wrestling and look for the answer.
7. Learn to be teachable (willing to take advice from others). This one was difficult (still is) for me. To ask what you could do better and opening up to your companion can be difficult (especially when their feedback comes out a little too harshly). Look to recognize that they are telling you out of love or concern and that because you have weakness it isn't a bad thing. Just another opportunity to serve and do better. So (Nathaniel) ask for feedback from mom, dad, and Olivia often and see what you can do to help them more. Mom, how can I serve you better? What more can I do to help? And be willing to listen and do what they ask, not fighting it or getting defensive.
8. Learn/ be familiar with Preach my Gospel. Read it once through (you dont have to do all the activities) and even though you won't understand it all, understand the purpose of each chapter and be familiar with the basic principles.
9. Do missionary work. Probably the best way to prepare. Go on splits with the Elders (maybe 3-4 times a month?). Ask the elders questions (some will do a good job at answering and others ...not so much), but if you keep asking questions you will get them answered by someone =) Going on splits helped me realize that missionary work is just like doing home teaching and helped we understand the missionary life better. Also, find ways to share the Gospel. Doesn't have to be big but just inviting a friend over to come eat when the missionaries are coming. Or inviting a friend to go to an activity with you or to church or to seminary. Some say yes and some say no. But the answer is always no if you never ask =)
Also, get really good at teaching the lessons in chapter 3 of Preach my Gospel. First start with the restoration. Do your best to be able to teach it in 1-2 mins. Practice with mom and dad. At first it may seem really hard but it doesn't need to be, you don't need to explain the whole restoration in detail with everything you know. Explain it simply and powerfully, that way when someone asks a question you have an answer. And then do the same with Plan of Salvation. And keep going. =)
10. Remember that it probably isn't possible to do all of these before going out but the more that you do the better prepared you will be. Pick the ones that you think will help you the most. In my opinion 6, 7, and 9 will get you the most prepared spiritually. The other ones are great but you will figure them out if you don't get to them. You do have two years to develop these skills =) and you won't likely ever be perfect at them, so keep trying to develop them and get better. Getting better each day is all that Heavenly Father asks of us.
11. And to add a little more purpose to life, set goals that you are willing to achieve for doing these goals (ie. By next Friday I will invite a friend to seminary, by this day I will invite a friend to eat dinner at my house on the , whatever you want to accomplish, set a goal and stick to it, put it somewhere in the open that will remind you of your goal, and review it often).