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The Do’s & Don’ts of a Fulfilling P-Day

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P-days are what keep happy missionaries happy. Since Sundays are generally the busiest days you’ll have, Preparation Days are designed to be your version of a “day of rest.” Each hour of P-day is precious, so what should you do to make the most of it? Here are a couple of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

DO

*Plan what to write in your emails. Your loved ones will look forward to these emails like a starved man looks forward to supper. The question may not be whether or not to write emails, but rather what should you include. I used my planner as a mini journal to keep track of little things that happened during the week, such as lessons (the good ones and those that fell through), things I learned about the culture, fun activities, service projects, feelings about my companion, spiritual insight, or crazy things that only missionaries experience. You can shorthand the events of the day in your planner or elsewhere in order to remember what you want to tell your family, but also keep your email time shorter so that you can get to the rest of your day.

*Buy everything you need. The point of P-day is to be temporally and spiritually prepared for the rest of the week. This means getting all your chores done, such as groceries, laundry, cleaning, and more. This also means purchasing clothes or other “fun things” you’ve wanted to get. Sometimes your area can be very exciting, and you want to explore it and even buy souvenirs for you or a loved one. This was especially true for my areas in Germany; when would I be able to come back and enjoy these things again? Get all of that done on P-day so you don’t feel tempted to buy things the rest of the week. This doesn’t mean never buy anything except on P-day, but it’s better to get it over with and feel less guilty about it. Plus, it’s awkward to proselyte with a bag full of potentially expensive souvenirs.

*Compromise on activities. Everyone’s idea of “time well spent” will vary. For some, shopping and accomplishing chores gives a clear head for the rest of the week; others might want to stay inside, rest, or otherwise relax so that they can be energetic and lively while serving. Once you have a new companion, don’t beat around the bush; find out what you or your companion want to do with P-days and compromise. Things like groceries and letters are a must, but what happens after is what will be up for debate. Honest compromise will keep your companionship happy and healthy.

*Respect and keep language rules. If your mission language is different from your own, you’re often given a “freebie” to speak English during your P-day activities. However, if you have a foreign companion who doesn’t speak English as their first language, they’re often encouraged to practice their English during P-day hours. This can be a sore spot for certain companionships; you may find that your comp ignores the rule or hardly talks to you to avoid speaking English.This rule, and how it relates to your mission, is there for a reason. Be frank with your companion about how to follow this rule without straining the relationship.

DON’T

*Leave your evening schedule empty. If you thought you got the whole day off, think again. Most mission areas want you back in business by 6:00pm and back home by 9:00pm. To be obedient but keep the good feelings going, I learned for myself that serving your “favorite” people on Monday not only makes a great P-day better but also gets your spirits high for all the craziness that can and will happen. If you schedule regular proselyting in the evening, it can be two lonely hours of trying to talk to people who are having dinner; for our area, it just didn’t seem extra conducive for meeting people. Since most P-days are on Monday, it lends itself well to planning an FHE night with investigators, newly baptized members, families who want to share the gospel with friends, or less actives. Missionaries need P-days to give them an extra boost, so doing something fun or reliable can make all the other days that much easier to handle.

Keep track of this list when you’re in the mission field, and you’re sure to have fun and meaningful Preparation Days.

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