You have so much to learn from the missionaries when they come to visit you. How can you best prepare for the visit?
Before they arrive for their appointment, prepare the setting and the family. Your house doesn’t need to be perfect, but do bring it to a level that doesn’t distract you. You don’t want to be worrying about the potato chips your toddler spilled in the corner while you’re trying to learn. Remove anything from the room that might take away from the Spirit. You’re not in church, but you are learning the gospel, so you want an environment that allows you to feel the spirit.
Help your children and other family members be ready to learn. Make sure children are fed and rested. Help them to feel calm. You may want to have them do something active early on, and then gently move them to calmer activities. The wiggles are gone, and they are calm when the elders arrive. This might involve reading a story to them or playing soft music.
Make sure you’ve completed any assignments the elders gave you. As a family, review the previous lesson and write down any questions or concerns you have. If you had a spiritual experience during the week, write that down as well. Your missionaries will enjoy receiving a copy of it, but be sure to save a copy for yourself, since these experiences can help to strengthen your testimony.
Gather any supplies you need for the next lesson—scriptures, paper, pens, and anything the missionaries might have asked you to bring. Plan how you will entertain your toddlers, choosing something quiet they can do in the room. Little ones might have a doll or stuffed animal to hold, but nothing that will keep them from paying attention or that will be noisy and prevent others from learning.
Turn off the television in plenty of time, so children aren’t upset over missing the last half of a program. Turn on your answering machine and turn down the ring and machine volume unless you need to know about incoming calls for emergency purposes. Try not to let anything interrupt this time with the missionaries.
Gather everyone in advance, so you don’t waste time searching for people and removing them from their current activities. Speak of the visit with pleasure and excitement, so your children will look forward to the visits. When they participate in the preparations, they enjoy the visits even more than if they simply show up at the appointed time. While you wait, read quietly or talk about the lessons.
When the missionaries arrive, greet them with a smile. You’re ready to learn!
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.