As a missionary, your reading choices consist of the Standard Works, The Missionary Reference Library, and Preach My Gospel. Before you depart, here are 5 other Books to Read Before Your Mission.
When Kristie and I were first married we were called to teach the 4-year-old children in Primary. Fast forward 14 years and our first Primary kid is going on a mission! We are so proud. Before Jonathan leaves to serve the people of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, I made a list of 5 Books to Read Before Your Mission.
All of these titles are available on Amazon and many are available for free when you subscribe to Deseret Book’s Bookshelf PLUS. (If you don’t know what that is, read our review)
1. To The Rescue– Heidi S. Swinton
“The sweetest experience in mortality is to know that our Heavenly Father has worked through us,” says President Thomas S. Monson, sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But he does more than say it — he lives it. Throughout his life, he has been an instrument in the Lord’s hands, one through whom the work of the kingdom of God is lovingly carried out. To the Rescue chronicles the life and ministry of this extraordinary leader. It is filled with the heartwarming personal accounts so typical of President Monson — some that have become favorites over time and many others that have not been told before.
Your mission is not the be all end all of your existence, it is the boot camp for the rest of it! You will learn lessons in the next two years that you will take with you for the rest of your life. President Monson’s biography will inspire you to always heed to promptings that come, as a missionary there will be many. Lastly, it will help you to reach out to and rescue those who are in need of a safe harbor.
Text and Audio available on Amazon and Bookshelf PLUS
2. More Than the Tattooed Mormon– Al Carraway
Being baptized and following the Lord has made Al’s life harder than it ever was before. She endured criticism from friends and family for becoming a Mormon. She faced harsh judgments from Church members for her appearance. She gave up everything and felt more alone than she ever had in her life. All because she chose God.
It is humbling to read of the experiences that have shaped her testimony and the trials that have refined it. It helps us who are lifelong members of the Church to have compassion and charity to those who might be giving up everything for something they have a hope is better. Reading “More Than the Tattooed Mormon” will help you to better understand the struggles your converts and enable you to empathize with them as you guide them through this journey. (Read my Full Review)
Text and Audio available on Amazon & Bookshelf PLUS
3. The Other Side of Heaven– John H. Groberg
Based on the missionary experiences of Elder John H. Groberg, The Other Side of Heaven tells the amazing story of his three-year mission in the South Pacific. Not understanding the language and lonely for the world he left behind, John faces suspicion, distrust, typhoons, rats, and other perils of man and nature as he reaches out to the people of Tonga. His faith is eventually rewarded as he is able to witness miraculous healings and develop lasting friendships with the Tongan people. Originally titled In the Eye of the Storm, the book was re-titled after it was adapted into the film.
As a missionary, you will be called upon to do extraordinary things. You will be tested to your very limits of faith as you fight temptations and perform miracles. One of those miracles that will happen is how you will come to love the people you serve. Once you come to love them, them you can have the measure of spirit needed to teach them.
Text available on Amazon and Bookshelf PLUS
4. Heaven is Here– Stephanie Nielson
Stephanie and her husband Christian were in a horrific plane crash. Christian was burned over 40 percent of his body, and Stephanie was on the brink of death, with burns over 80 percent of her body. She would remain in a coma for four months. What emerges from the wreckage of a tragic accident is a unique perspective on joy, beauty, and overcoming adversity that is as gripping as it is inspirational. Heaven Is Here is a poignant reminder of how faith and family, love and community can bolster us, sustain us, and quite literally, in some cases, save us.
As hard as High School was, adulthood can be much harder. You will encounter people who have experiences true sorrow and loss. What is even more heartbreaking is that many of them experienced it without the comfort of the Holy Ghost or the peace of the Atonement. As Stephanie relates how faith enabled her to not only survive but to be healed spiritually and emotionally.
Text and Audio available on Amazon
5. The Continuous Atonement– Brad Wilcox
I’ll never do it again, we say and then we do it. Most of us realize that perfection is a long term process, but when we find ourselves making some of the same mistakes over and over again, its easy to lose hope. However, Brad Wilcox points out that the Lord s Atonement will be available as long as the perfecting process takes. Even if we mess it up again week after week, he helps us start over. Filled with personal stories and parables, this book presents sublime truths about the Atonement in fresh, simple ways that will have you saying, I’ve never thought of it like that before.
I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the Atonement, then RJ quoted Brad Wilcox at his missionary farewell.
Jesus doesn’t make up the difference. Jesus makes all the difference. Grace is not about filling gaps. It is about filling us.
It changed how I felt about the purpose of Grace and how much I was relying myself to reach Heaven. Many opponents think Mormons believe they can work their way into Heaven. While that is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it isn’t always contrary to our culture. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is central message of all you teach. As those you teach make mistakes, as you make mistakes, building your testimony on the power of the Atonement will allow you the ability to forgive yourself and give home to those you serve.
Text and Audio available on Amazon and Bookshelf PLUS
You will be awesome!
Jonathan, you are going to be a great missionary. Kristie and I are so excited for all that you will do and the man you have become. Use this time to study, learn, prepare, and do all you can so you can be the missionary the Lord needs for the people of Pennsylvania.