I recently received a Facebook message from a girl who got her mission call to Montana. Now, don’t think I’m biased, but this is the greatest mission in the world. (The secret’s out. That’s where I served.) She had a lot of basic questions for me, and was coincidentally, my inspiration for this blog. So thanks, Sister Holbrook!
She had questions specific to Montana, but they are still applicable to many sisters preparing to enter the field.
Backpack or side bag?
I went with a small backpack. It was a medium sized one from Ogio. Never failed me. Most of the missionaries had backpacks and loved them. You do a lot of walking, especially if you are serving in a small town, so I would avoid a side bag.
Did you get a set of scriptures in the MTC?
I didn’t buy new scriptures. Before I went into the MTC I was regretting my choice, but once I got there, and mostly in the field, I was so grateful that I had my old marked up ones. One of the greatest things about being a missionary is that God has called YOU to labor among his people in Montana (or wherever you have been called.) You will use YOUR faith, testimony and experiences to bring people to the fullness of the gospel. Because of this, I was so grateful to have my old beat up scriptures. I knew where to find everything when a prompting came. However, if it’s just time to get new ones, I would recommend getting them at the MTC because you get a pretty decent discount. Also, I would buy a small set because they weigh less and you’ll be carrying them around with you all the time.
Jewelry? Short necklaces? Small earrings?
Jewelry is great. They changes the guidelines for the way sisters dress while I was on my mission. Let’s just say that sister missionaries now are far more attractive and trendy. I was sporting the grandma look all day, every day for a solid 18 months. Jewelry is good because you’ll still want to feel like a woman, but nothing too outlandish. Time is very limited in the morning. It’s better to be simple and low-maintenance. The time you are given to study the scriptures is sacred. Don’t waste that by spending extra time getting ready. Simple, easy and tasteful. I had a pair of pearls that helped me embrace my double x chromosomes.
Best kind of shoes?
Shoes. This is a good question. I spent a lot of money on good walking shoes. I got a pair of Borns, I think. I hated them. They were big, bulky and clunky and made me feel like a velociraptor when I went tracting. I donated them to a thrift store six months in. I walked through three pairs of $15 shoes from Payless. It was so much better for me. It’s a personal choice. Some sisters like having the better walking shoes. I liked a pair of light-weight flats. Besides, the majority of the time, you’ll probably be wearing boots. (If you’re serving in a cold weather area.)
What kind of boots?
BOOTS! Luckily, our mission is authorized to wear boots. I got a pair of attractive, $100 boots from Nordstrom. They were easy to slip on and I walked the heck out of them. I loved those boots. Stay away from UGGs or anything that is high maintenance. But if you’re going to spend money on one item for your mission make it a good coat and a good pair of boots. I don’t remember the brand that I got, but pretty much any kind that you know will keep you warm is good. And stock up on the wool socks, sisters. You’ll thank me later. We stuck warm hand packets in our boots. I’m pretty sure it’s equivalent to the celestial kingdom.
What do u recommend I bring?
Bring as little as possible. I only had three areas, so I didn’t move around a lot, but you accumulate so much stuff. (I have no idea how.) I was really glad I brought a picture of my family and good lotion. You live with members, so the majority of the time they will provide everything for you. Stick to the list you got in your packet. That should be everything you need.
Did you get to go to the temple while being there?
It depends on your mission and your mission president, but we were allowed to go to the temple once a transfer in we were serving in the Billings area and we had enough miles to get there. (Yes, you have limited miles. And yes, it will be the bane of your existence) That was one hard part about serving. Right after being endowed and experiencing all of these incredible blessings you have to wait to go back. But your focus is on work for the living rather than work for the dead. Trust me, the blessings of missionary work are just as sacred and just as incredible. I was lucky enough to serve in Billings area for about a year of my mission and was able to attend most every transfer of my mission.
Do I need bedding and hangers?
How much of a germ-a-phobe are you? I ended up with a set of my own sheets by the end of my mission. We lived with members who were more than willing to give the clothes off their backs if we would have asked for it, but I have a thing about my own sheets. If you don’t want to lug them around, you’ll be fine. But if you’re like me, get some when you get there. Ross is great.
Hangers are never in short supply. You will have more hangers than you know what to do with from former missionaries who left clothes behind.