Elder Nielson talks on the most important tools available for new mission leaders, missionaries

PROVO, UTAH — Like a skilled handyman or handywoman, a mission president and his companion have “tool boxes” filled with resources to help them effectively serve shoulder-to-shoulder with the full-time missionaries they lead.

Those inspired tools are essential in assisting the 67,000 young elders and young sisters serving across the globe find success, said Elder Brent H. Nielson, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department, on Sunday, June 23, at the 2019 Mission Leadership Seminar.

The importance of a mission president and his companion in the lives of each missionary can’t be overstated.

“By far, without any question, the most significant factor in the success of a mission is the mission president and companion,” he said.

The 164 new mission presidents and their wives hail from a wide range of professions. They have served in various ecclesiastical duties. But leading a mission is like no other occupation or Church calling. They must utilize the tools provided by the Lord and His leaders.

A new mission president gives a comment during a breakout session of the 2019 New Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center which was held June 23-25.
A new mission president gives a comment during a breakout session of the 2019 New Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center which was held June 23-25. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Revelation is the first and most important resource available to a mission president and his companion.

“You will find during the course of your mission that as you ponder the scriptures and go to your knees and ask for help from your Heavenly Father, He will direct your work,” said Elder Nielson.

The second tool is one’s spouse. A mission president and his wife are called together and set apart as companions.

“Because you are a team and because you are deeply involved in the lives of all of the missionaries together, whenever you are confronted with a difficult decision, counsel together,” he said. “There will be a small percentage of what happens in your mission that will be confidential and that the president may not be able to share with his companion, but the vast majority of what happens in your mission will be something you will want to share and you will want counsel, and you will want advice.”

Read all the stories from the 2019 New Mission Leadership Seminar.

Preach My Gospel” remains a missionary’s proven compass, he added. It’s essential that elders and sisters focus on the principles outlined in “Preach My Gospel.” It is their inspired tool for doing missionary work.

A new mission president gives a comment during a breakout session of the 2019 New Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center which was held June 23-25.
A new mission president gives a comment during a breakout session of the 2019 New Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center which was held June 23-25. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Mission presidents and their wives are not asked to serve alone. They are supported by an area presidency.

“Your area presidency will be with you in this mission every step of the way,” he said. “These are three experienced Seventies who have visited many, many missions and who have a wealth of experience.”

Other valuable tools include area mission specialists, in-field representatives and a mission health council.

Some missionaries develop physical or emotional issues during their missions. To assist their mission leaders with such challenges, each mission has access to a medical adviser and a mental health adviser.

Elder Nielson reviewed a number of other mission tools — including digital media referrals and the "Safeguard for Using Technology" booklet that helps guide and protect missionaries using technology during the course of their missions.

A mission president and his companion are part of an “amazing army” that is taking the gospel to all the world, he concluded. “Please utilize all the tools that are available to you to do the work.”