120. Mission Prep Plus

In this episode, I share the story behind the creation of Mission Prep Plus, a program designed to support missionaries before, during, and after their missions. My motivation to create this program stemmed from witnessing the struggles faced by my own sons’ upon returning from their missions. I realized that while much emphasis is placed on preparing missionaries for their time in the field, there is often a lack of guidance and support for their transition back home. 

Through my journey of working in the return missionary to current missionary space, I began receiving requests from parents and missionaries seeking help and guidance. This led to the development of Mission Prep Plus, a program aimed at providing missionaries with the mental and emotional tools they need to navigate the challenges they may face on their missions. I believe that by equipping missionaries with these tools before they leave, it can help prevent crises and struggles during their time in the field.

Mission Prep Plus is ideally designed for individuals in their senior year of high school until right before they leave on their mission. The program focuses on teaching missionaries how to manage themselves mentally and emotionally, so they can show up as their best selves regardless of the circumstances they encounter. The program aims to address the common challenges missionaries face, such as self-doubt and anxiety. By helping missionaries build confidence and resilience, Mission Prep Plus aims to improve the overall mission experience.

The program operates similarly to an online Missionary Training Center (MTC), providing preparation for missionaries’ mental and emotional well-being. It includes weekly sessions led by RMs and experienced coaches. These coaches teach coaching tools and techniques and provide a supportive environment for missionaries to ask questions and receive guidance. Additionally, the program includes classes that will be led by me, on specific topics relevant to missionary life, such as dealing with difficult companions or managing anxiety.

One unique aspect of Mission Prep Plus is that missionaries have ongoing access to the host and their coaches throughout their entire mission. This support is provided through a dedicated email address, allowing missionaries to reach out for guidance and assistance whenever needed. By offering this ongoing support, Mission Prep Plus aims to provide missionaries with a valuable resource throughout their mission journey and the rest of their lives.

This was all created with you in mind.

Learn More About Mission Prep Plus:  Click Here

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Get the Full Show Notes HERE

Free Training for Preparing Missionaries:  Change Your Mission with this One Tool

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Free Guide:  5 Tips to Help Any Returning Missionary

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0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone, it’s Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 120 mission prep plus.

0:14 I’m Jenny, the LDS mission coach. And whether you’re preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn, the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose. Again. It’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission. Embrace your life, and embrace what’s next.

0:53 Hey, everybody, welcome to the podcast. Excited to be with you here today on this fine Friday. Hello, we’re in October. Who? Where does the time go? Last week? Well, actually, on the first I had my half birthday, happy half birthday to me. Maybe it was your half birthday, too. I’m excited about that. We didn’t really celebrate. But it’s just fun to kind of acknowledge, like, I’m halfway to my next year, which is super fun. I also, by the way, started wearing little glasses for when I read.

1:30 It was looking at my phone the other day, and I’m like, this is starting to look a little blurry. And my husband has been using readers for a while. And he’s like, Well, why don’t you try these. And I put his glasses on his little readers. And I was like, Oh, my word just totally cleared up. So here we go. I guess that happens when you get a little bit older. What’s going on in your world, you guys, how’s the mission, how’s your post mission? How’s your preparing going? Hope it’s going well. And I also know, you’re probably having some struggles too.

2:03 So today, I’m excited to share with you some of the things that I’ve been working on mission prep plus, which I think I alluded to a couple podcasts ago. But I wanted to really dive in here to what mission prep plus is where this idea came from, I want to talk about what’s part of mission prep plus, if you want to join us in that program, and I’m going to share something a little more kind of personal at the end, and I’ve been debating about whether to share it with you. But I think I’m going to share it. And so stay tuned for the end because I’m going to be sharing something a little bit more personal with you.

2:42 So one of the things that‘s super fun that’s coming up is next weekend on October 13. And 14th, I am going to have a booth or a table of sorts at the Restore gathering that’s put on by faith matters. And it’s just an awesome event where a whole bunch of people get together at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy. And it’s an opportunity to learn from inspiring speakers and hear uplifting music. I know some of the artists that are going to be there and I’m way excited, there’s going to be some beautiful art displayed. And you can make new friendships. And it’s just an incredibly uplifting experience. And so you actually can learn more about it or register at Faith matters.org/restore. And if you’re already going to be there, make sure you stop by my table and say hello, I would love to meet you, give you a hug. And just it would be really fun for me to meet you. And if you haven’t bought tickets already, you can use the promo code Jenny. Remember, Jenny is always spelled with an IE all capitals promo code for a 20% discount on your tickets. So it’s going to be in Sandy, you won’t want to miss it. It’s gonna be an incredible, incredible event. So I’m really excited about that.

4:00 So I want to talk about today, this idea of Mission Prep Plus and I wanted to read to you an email that I got just this week that sort of explains or helps illustrate why I created this program. So the email goes like this. And this is from a currently serving missionary by the way.

4:23 Please help me. I really don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I should have stayed home and accepted the offer of being a service missionary, because I’m not a good teaching missionary at all. But now if I go home, I’m never going to be able to do anything. I’ll feel like I’ll never be able to accomplish anything. And I’m really scared. I don’t feel worthy. And I don’t know what to do.

4:48 You guys, this is not uncommon, from the emails that I get from missionaries who are serving or often from their parents who say gosh, my missionary is just really struggling. And to me, what this is, is really heartbreaking in a lot of ways.

5:11 I personally didn’t serve a mission, but I have been working with preparing, currently serving and return missionaries for about four years now. And I like to save her just about everything you can think of to hear and I have talked to so many of you. And I have heard from so many of you, I’ve heard your struggles, I’ve heard your heartaches. And I just decided I wanted to do something about it, I started thinking about how we sort of understand that the mission is going to be hard, you know, people will say it’s the best two years and the worst two years. But we don’t really understand, we understand it’s supposed to be hard, but we don’t really know how to do hard things. And, and that is all of the work that I feel like we’re doing in my coaching program is to teach young adults preparing missionaries, and currently serving in return missionaries how to do the hard stuff. And it’s actual tools and strategies that you can learn that you can implement. I teach many of them here on the podcast that you can implement to change, like the entire trajectory of your mission, and then your post mission life.

6:22 One of the things that’s been so rewarding about this work, especially with missionaries, and you guys will have to excuse me, as I’m talking about this, because I may get emotional from time to time because it’s something that’s so close to my heart. But one of the things that is so rewarding is the ripple effect, that it has, not only on the missionary, but on the people they teach, the other people in their district, on their zone leader on the mission president, like these things we’re teaching here has the ability to change entire missions, and change entire lives. And we’re doing it one person at a time, we’re just doing it one person at a time teaching these tools, but then that affects your companion, and that affects the district. And then not only that, but it really changes your transition home afterwards, as well. And makes that much more easy to navigate and to figure out because you already have the tools to do hard things, it’s not super easy coming home from a mission. We basically take you now a new version of you and plop you into your old life. And that can be challenging and tough to navigate. But when you have the tools, the tools that you’ll get before your mission or during your mission, it’s so much easier, it’s worlds easier to figure all that stuff out and keep all of your confidence and your worth intact while you’re going through all of it.

7:59 So one of the reasons I got started doing what I’m doing, and I probably told this story before, is that I originally started working in the return missionary space, because I was watching my sons come home from their missions, and they just in their last little bit, they’d start being full of dread and their letters like I don’t know who I am, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know what’s next, I’ve worked my whole life to serve a mission and now I don’t even know what to do. And it was around the time that I was going through coach training at the Life Coach School. And I just started feeling like you know what, I could make a difference here. And I felt like we’d worked our whole lives to train missionaries to go out and serve. But no one taught us how to come home.

8:44 And so I started working in that space. And then as I worked in the returned missionary space with a whole bunch of one on one clients, I slowly started getting people reaching out saying, Hey, can you help my missionary on the mission. And, you know, that’s when we started sending out emails to missionaries that were currently serving in the podcast, and all of that good stuff, to start to help them. And moms would reach out to me and I’d get on strategy calls with them. And like, let’s brainstorm on how we can help your son or daughter. And then I just started thinking, if we could get these tools to missionaries before they leave, what an impact it could have. It would change the mission, it would change the post mission. And we can sort of get these tools preemptively before there’s a fire before we’re in crisis mode. That’s one of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is so much on the mission we don’t go talk to the therapist, we don’t go talk to the mission president until we’re sort of in crisis mode. And what I believe is that if we can understand these mental and emotional tools for our well being before we leave, we can maybe avoid some of that crisis that happens on the mission. And it may be worse thinking.

10:01 But I believe that the mission can be different for people, I believe that one missionary at a time, we can change the experience that our missionaries are having, like the mission will be hard. But it doesn’t have to cause such a big struggle. It doesn’t have to cause you to question your worth or your confidence or even question, if you’re a bad missionary, like this person, this sister emailed me and she said, I’m thinking that I’m not a good missionary at all. So she’s scared, she’s full of fear, she’s full of doubt, and she just doesn’t even know what to do. And I think I believe that we can do that. I believe that if enough missionaries have the tools before they leave, that we can change the entire mission experience. So mostly, I’ve been doing one-on-one coaching for the last few years. And I would meet with preparing, currently serving and return missionaries, just one on one, and we’d go through my program. And it was really making a difference, like the preparing missionaries, you know, they were getting it all figured out and then thrive on the mission. And many of them have come home now. And then the return missionaries were getting their lives figured out and situated and but over the last year it was about a year ago, I started having sort of this like pull is what I would call it to get the work to more missionaries in an easily accessible way. And it was sort of like this pull, and my mind kept working on it. And my heart kept working on it. Like how can we do this? How can we get this work to more missionaries before they leave. And I don’t know if you guys are listening in conference, but I’m pretty sure last weekend was General Conference, I’m pretty sure that they said that there’s 72,000 missionaries. So I just started thinking like me, just usually my Max was 16, one on one clients at a time. And it was one of the greatest honors of my life to meet with those individuals. And you know who you are, if you’re listening to this, and watched them empower themselves to create the mission in life that they wanted. But this poll, this desire was when I realized like 16 missionaries at a time is just not enough. It’s not reaching far enough.

12:20 And that is where Mission Prep Plus was born. So let me tell you who it’s for. So mission prep plus is for anybody I picture about your senior year of high school, until right before you leave on your mission. Now one of the trickiest things about the mission, right? Is, you’re not really sure what to prepare for. And so you’ll see these Instagram feeds and Instagram accounts and things like that, where tons of returned missionaries are giving lots of really amazing advice. And I think that that is all super useful. But one person’s mission experience is going to be completely different than your mission experience. And so what we do in Mission prep plus, is we teach you how to manage you, so that you can show up regardless of the situation, regardless of the circumstance, regardless of what’s happening around you. So that you can show up as the best version of you know. Again, the tricky part is we don’t always see that coming. We think, Oh, I’ve been to EFY? I guess we call it FSY now. I’ve been to FSY, I’ve done maybe an HSP. I’ve lived away from home for a bit. And so I think I’m prepared well, that will prepare you some, but it’s not going to be the same experiences that you have on the mission. And the biggest problem we see right? Is this mental and emotional piece, you start to question yourself to start to doubt yourself even starting to doubt your beliefs sometimes. And so we prepare you so you can manage you and have confidence in you. And then you’ll be able to manage all the tough stuff out there. We don’t know, we know it’s going to be tough out there, right? But we don’t always know in what ways and so we give you all the mental and emotional tools so that you can stay in your best mental and emotional state while you’re out there on the mission.

14:22 So how does it work? So the way I picture this mission prep Plus program working is much like the online MTC. As of the time this podcast is going to air, usually people are in online MTC for one week, sometimes three weeks, and depending on where you’re headed in the world, and then you go to a missionary training center in person. So I picture this piece of sort of like a pre MTC online, where you’re going to get all of the preparation you need for your mental and emotional well being, so one of the things that’s super fun about this and what’s amazing for you is that, It’s gonna be a little bit of a practice, like, how do you get on Zoom? How do you show up in a group of 10 or 12 people to get you sort of ready for what that online MTC experience is going to be like. And I just see that as super valuable.

15:17 The other really cool thing that I decided about Mission Prep Plus is going to be taught by returned missionaries. So again, they’re going to learn all of the coaching tools that I have, they’re going to teach them to you. And then what we’re going to do is we’re going to have one session each week with an experienced, qualified, trained coach. They’re certified, they went through a very rigorous application process to be one of my coaches. And they’re an amazing group of people.Mostly, to be completely frank and honest, I had a lot of coaches apply that were highly skilled and highly trained. And I was looking a lot for heart. And I couldn’t, of course hire all of the coaches that applied. But this core group that I’m starting with is, they’re just full of so much heart. And they fully believe in this vision of helping as many missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as possible. And so it’s super awesome. So they’re going to teach, we’re going to kind of rotate them around, and they’re going to do one class each week, I shouldn’t call it a class, it’s more of like a Q&A, and they’re going to do some coaching in there. So anything that you’re worried about, we can do some sort of like, I love to call it like future focus, like what if, you know, one thing that really annoys me is when people do this, so how’s that gonna work with my companion and things like that. And so you’ll get two of those, one each week. And then for each two week session of the class or of the cohort, I am going to teach one class on a specific topic. So it could be how to deal with a difficult companion, it could be how to manage your anxiety, all of that good stuff. And then I have one more thing I’m going to tell you about in a little bit.

17:12 But another really fun component is from the time that you start this mission prep Plus, you’re going to have access to me, and my coaches ongoing throughout the rest of the entire mission. And I really thought about, how could we do this? So it was easily accessible for missionaries. And it’s just going to be an email address, where you can email in, anytime, during your mission, ask any questions that you have. And we will respond in a short amount of time to get an answer back to you for any questions you have at all. So you can have that ongoing support for your mental and emotional well being or just anything at all.

17:50 So one of the things that you might be wondering is will this even work before the mission? I’ve had a couple of people say that to me, like, this doesn’t even this won’t even work? Because kids, they don’t know what they’re going to face once they get out there. So how can they prepare for something that they don’t even know that they’re going to face. And first of all, I would like to say I have a pretty good track record of this program working for missionaries, even before they leave and the way that it completely overhauls the mission experience that they have. But we do do a lot of future focused thinking. And one of the things that I think is if we do a mental rehearsal with some of these tools, before we get out on the mission, it’s sort of like our brain knows, once we get out there and that situation comes up that we’re like, oh, here it is, and our brain sort of knows what to do. So I do think that it works before the mission, I’ve seen it work. And in my mind, I’m like better to have some mental and emotional tools than none at all, which is about where we’ve been, for the last however long that missions have been a thing.

17:50 So another question you might have is, What if I can’t get to every class, and we’re going to have a whole kind of portal area for you to watch any of the videos that you missed if you miss a class or two or whatever. Like, ideally, we want you there live on zoom with us because that’s the funnest. And because of that sort of group setting, everybody gets a lot more out of it when we’re all kind of interactive together. But if you can’t, if you have a basketball game, or if you you know, have to get scheduled or whatever, then during that two weeks, and you didn’t expect to be working or whatever, and then you’re going to have access to all of the recordings for you to watch later.

19:40 Um, Is this really necessary? It might be a question you have and my answer to that is like, I’m going to say no, it isn’t necessary. Like, can you still serve a mission? Yes, do 1000s of people serve missions without these tools? Yes. Does it have the ability to completely change the way you see yourself? The way you see God? The way you see your mission? The way you see your companion? Yes. Does it have the ability to completely help when things are hard? And when things are challenging? And when you don’t know what to do? Yes! Will it make it more manageable for you? 100%? Yes, it will. So is it necessary? No. But it can literally change the experience for you. It can change a missionary from really feeling like they might want to go home, right, nothing wrong with that, and I’ve recorded podcasts about that. But we’ll have the ability to sort of preemptively make a space where those fires in that crisis, like, I feel like I gotta go home, don’t come up as often. And they still will, I still agree that there are times when kids should go home, and they need to go home. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. So please don’t misunderstand me. But I think we can equip you better, you can be better mentally and emotionally equipped to take care of your own personal well being.

21:09 Okay. So how often will this course, Mission Prep Plus be offered? Right now we’re gonna start with the first two weeks of every month, the first kickoff is November 2023. And we’re gonna run it and we’re gonna go those two weeks, and it’s going to be in the evening. So if you’re in high school, then you can be there. If you’re going to school right now, you can be there. And again, if you don’t, we’ll have those video recordings. And so, I want to tell you, too, that this first round, we’re only going to take 40. And I have 20 people already on the interest list that want to join us in this first round. And so think of it like this, like you could take it really anytime before you leave on your mission. I do think that the sooner you get the tools, the more you can start applying them and having them sort of work in your life. And you can see them work. And then remember through that entire time through your mission. And before you leave, you can ask questions and all of that stuff, you’ll always be able to go back in and watch those videos.

21:10 And so if you picture like I’m leaving in January, you might want to join us in November. Or if you picture you’re leaving in February, you might want to join us in December, or even if you’re just ready to go in, you’re already feeling anxious about leaving, and you just want some tools to sort of get through even the application process of going on a mission, or a service mission or whatever you end up doing. Just join. Like these tools are applicable in any in any time period before your mission.

22:41 Okay. So the last question that you might have is how much is it and the cost of Michigan prep plus is $449. And what this means for you is it’s just a little over the cost of at least right now at this very moment, the cost of one month on the mission. And I sort of, it’d be awesome if I could do it for free. But I’ve got to, you know, pay my coaches and I’ve got to pay those RM mentors that are working for me and who are teaching those classes. And so that is going to be the cost, but I just wish that I could help you see or understand how this little extra this one month of the mission cost is going to completely change your experience. And it’s a lot about confidence. And it’s a lot about understanding yourself. And it’s a lot to like not believe your brain when it tells you, I’m a bad missionary. Okay, and it’s so that you don’t question yourself and compare yourself and all those things. Or maybe if you do question yourself and compare yourself, what do you do with that? How do you overcome that? How do you manage yourself through that experience.

23:44 So the last little feature of Mission Prep Plus I want to share with you and this is the part where it gets a little bit personal. I’ve been working on this resource manual, which I picture much kind of like Preach My Gospel or something like that. And I know there’s sections in there for your mental and emotional well being, especially in that adjusting to missionary life. And there’s so many good resources in there. But this one will just be like a companion to this mission prep plus with all of my tools and the things that I’ve you know, come up with and that I learned from The Life Coach School and everything in the program, basically. So you’ll be able to take that and a PDF version with you on the mission. Or if you’d like to print it and take it with you on the mission, you will have that available as well. I picture it’ll be about 100 pages or so 100 and 100 to 120 pages. So here’s the thing with this resource manual is it’s felt really big and important to me. And so my brain has sort of been telling me like, oh, we’ll just figure that out at some point. We’ll just figure that out at some point. And then I was going to have it done by the beginning of September and now I am supposed to have it done by the beginning of October. And I just haven’t been able to. I’ll just fully like to invest in it, I think because my brain feels like it’s weighty or something like that. Like, it’s really important. And so I was talking to my coach about this. Yes, I have life coach as well. And I was talking to her, and I’m like, I’ve just got this resource manual, like hanging over my head, and I gotta get it done. And I know how important it is. And so it’s just feeling like a lot and really heavy and I just sort of can’t even make myself like, sit down and work on it. And she said to me, she’s like, What if you next time before you sit down and start working on it? What if you wrote kind of a dedication for the beginning of the workbook, or for this resource manual? And my heart sort of exploded at that moment? And softened? Can it soften and explode at the same time? And I was like, Oh, okay. Because you guys need to know that this work, has never been about me.It’s about you.

26:05 Yeah, it’s about you. And you might be wondering, Am I talking to you, and I am talking to you, even though maybe I don’t even know you. But it is about you. I think about the missionaries and their families and the preparing missionaries and the return missionaries every single day. And this work that I’m doing is to try to help and try to just do a little bit, put a little bit of good and help into the world. So that hopefully you can empower yourself to improve the experience that you’re having. And so I don’t know if this sort of forward or dedication is going to end up in that resource manual or not. But I felt like I wanted to read it to you here.

26:55 And it’s kind of rough, I haven’t really edited it yet. But I do want to share it with you. And hopefully I don’t cry at the end. And if I do you guys, you’ll have my back.

27:09 Okay, this is why I do what I do. And this is why I’m creating this resource manual. It says to all the missionaries who never thought they weren’t good enough, and for the ones who felt such a range of emotion, they started to believe something was wrong with them. For all of the missionaries who measured their worth by numbers and stats, and compared themselves to everyone else. This is for the missionary who felt unseen, unheard, or dismissed for the missionary that was told that praying slash fasting slash working harder, that if they did all those things, their struggles would completely go away. Or their impossible goals would be met to the missionaries who felt responsible for other people’s salvation, and then felt like complete failures when things didn’t pan out. For the missionaries who railed on themselves for being human, who thought they needed to be more bold, or more busy. For every missionary that at one point or another was convinced by themselves or by others, that they were a bad missionary, to each missionary who ward with yourself judged all of your thoughts, and believe that being Christ like meant only being happy 100% of the time for the missionaries who laid everything out on the table, but still came home feeling full of regret. And wondering if they did enough for the members and parents and siblings who understand that true unconditional love has to be offered to yourself first. For the leaders who want to show young adults a better way to see themselves, to see others and to see the world. I created this resource manual for you. I see you. I’ve heard your stories. I’ve witnessed your pain. And I hope this helps in some small way.

29:06 So there it is. That’s why I’m doing Mission Prep Plus. That is why I’m doing the work with my coaches and with this team of RM mentors. That is why we’re doing what we’re doing is for you. So if you’re interested in joining us, I’m gonna put a link in the show notes to a little page where you can learn all about Mission Prep Plus, all it’ll talk about all of the stuff that I’ve shared with you today. And most of all, I want to send you away today after sharing a piece of me, a piece of my vision, a piece of this dedication in my resource manual and I’m gonna keep working on it by the way, it’s gonna be ready soon. I want to send you all the way with so much love and so much hope you all inspire me. Talk to you next time.

30:06 Serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can present a unique set of challenges. And many of those challenges you might not even see coming. So you’re gonna want a unique set of solutions. It’s easier than you think to overcome worry and anxiety, serve the successful mission you’ve always dreamed up and navigate your post mission experience with confidence. That is why I created some amazing free goodies that I’m sharing in my show notes. Maybe you want to grab the free training for preparing missionaries, my video course for RMs or maybe you and I should hop on a free strategy call. If you’re ready to take your preparedness to serve or your preparedness to come home to the next level. Then go grab one of those freebies. And in the meantime, no matter which part of the mission experience you were involved in, just Know that Jenny the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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