Archive for August, 2010

My Mission: FAQ

August 15, 2010

For the next two years, I’ll be serving as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (you may know us as Mormons) in southern India.  As I’ve shared this news, a few questions have popped up over and over.  I’ll use this space to answer them.

Are you excited?

Yes.

What language will you be speaking?

English, actually.  English has been taught in Indian schools for years, and more and more it’s India’s unifying language.  There are fourteen other major languages in India (and thousands of dialects.)  The major languages in the south (where I’ll be serving) are Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu.

Can we stay in touch?

Yes.  Thanks for asking.  Missionaries don’t use the internet except to e-mail family members, so we won’t be able to chat, skype, or e-mail, but I will receive air mail and I love getting (and writing) letters.

I’ll probably serve in several different areas throughout my mission, so I don’t have a fixed address, but as I move from place to place I’ll have my sister post my current address here on my blog.

My weekly e-mails will also be posted here, in case you want to hear what I’ve been up to more frequently than I get around to sending letters.

Why won’t you be using the internet?

Missionaries give up their regular lives for two years in order to better serve God.  This means giving up academic work, employment, dating, and even most hobbies.  I also won’t be reading any newspapers, or any books other than those that I need to do my work. I already don’t watch TV, so that won’t be a change.

A mission is a special time of focus and dedication to God.  Giving up almost everything you’re used to for two years may sound impossible, but it’s also a great way to gain a sense of perspective about what’s really important to you, and a sense of focus on whatever you’re doing.

So what exactly will you be doing there?

My main job will be to invite people to learn more about Christ, and to come to him and live his gospel as a member of the LDS Church.  That work will involve going door to door and talking to people on the street, as well as visiting and sharing lessons with those who are interested in learning more.

I’ll also be doing volunteer service one day a week, and attending Church services on Sundays just like I always do.

I’ve seen Mormon missionaries before!  They always travel in twos.

Yes.  Missionaries always work together in pairs called companionships.

Will you work with the same person for the whole two years?

No.  As I said, I’ll probably work in several different areas.  Missionaries usually stay in one place for between two and six months.  When I change areas, I’ll also change companions, so I’ll probably work with six or seven people across the course of my mission.

Where did you say you’ll be going again?

Southern India.  I can’t be more specific than that yet, because I could be assigned to go almost anywhere within the southern half of the country (or to Sri Lanka.)  The mission office, which I’ll arrive at first, is in Bangalore, which is India’s response to the Silicon Valley.

You should keep a journal!

I certainly will. I’m actually required to.  Mormons believe strongly in the importance of writing, especially journal writing, and missionaries are asked to write in a journal every night.

I think that covers it.  If you have other questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer any that are asked in the next six days.  After that, you’ll have to write me a letter.

See you all in 2012,

Mattathias