- The struggle between the forces of righteousness and of evil for the souls of our Heavenly Father’s children is intense, and the conflict is very real.
He gives suggestions to youth, fathers, and mothers on what can be done to help prepare missionaries for service. First to the youth he says:
- May I suggest to all of the youth of the Church that I believe you can come into the mission field loaded with knowledge about the eternal truths of the gospel—knowing for yourself that Jesus is the Christ, and that His church has been restored to the earth through a living prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
- Young people, why not make the best investment of your life by spending more of your time now to study and learn for yourself the ways of the Lord? If you will do this now you will arrive in the mission field with the Spirit of the Lord as your companion, and you will be filled with the desire to enthusiastically and intelligently teach the gospel to the people.
To fathers he encourages us to be a great example of priesthood service.
- Fathers, you are the first-line priesthood leader, and almost without exception my missionaries expressed their love and respect for you. There is no one in the world that can prepare and train the future missionaries of the Church like you can.
To mothers he shares how important temporal living is and how key a mother is to teaching her children how to be a good person to live with, work with, and serve with.
- To be an effective missionary one must be spiritually in tune, but the temporal well-being of the missionary becomes far more important than perhaps most of us realize.
- Mothers, teach your children to be sensitive and aware of the needs of others. Teach them to know and to practice basic principles of good human relations. May I suggest to you wonderful mothers that you put your arms around your children, look them squarely in the eye, and tell them to learn these skills because you want them to be happy and successful on their mission.
This practical advice to missionaries is applicable today. I have always seen Elder Ballard as a missionary minded speaker from conference and it is clear he has been that way from his first talk in conference. Elder Ballard has a great love for missionary service and I am sure it stems from his call to the ministry and the importance of his service as a mission president. I love that he shares that we all have a role to play in getting our missionaries better prepared for the mission field. It is vital to have missionaries that are ready to preach the message of the restoration before they leave. Although the greatest convert in the mission field is the missionary themselves, we need better prepared missionaries that are ready to share from the start of their mission instead of several months into their mission. We all have a role to play in making better prepared missionaries.