Planning as a Mormon Missionary

I spent two years as a mormon missionary in el salvador.

It was in that time that I gained some of the most valuable experiences and learned some of the greatest lessons in my life. 

This is also where I learned to be a planner. 

A Mormon missionary's goal is to spend time with people, and understand them. It is essentially a two year ethnography.

There is not a single person in this world that has the same thoughts, beliefs, or feelings as their neighbor. Thus, as a missionary, your daily purpose is to meet people, understand their wants, needs, core feelings and desires in a short time, and use those insights to help them to turn to God, abandoning other distractions or struggles. As a missionary:

  • I would walk miles a day in torrential rain up to my knees (rainy season)
  • I would sweat until my white shirt and tie became see-through (dry season)
  • I would cram myself into overstuffed buses filled with people, chickens, and who knows what else
  • I would sprint (literally) through towns in order to make it to sometimes over 12 meetings per day
  • I would face countless dogs who desired to eat me
  • I would walk through areas infested with MS13 or dieciocho  gang members
  • I would look like a fool as I strived to understand, yet eventually master, the Spanish language
  • I would give up football scholarships and my family, friends, and studies back home

All in order to help people find solutions to their problems. I gave them a desired position, compelling truths, and reasons to believe. I used these to help them find the role that the church, and God, would play in their lives. I found their core desires while defining who they are and what makes them tick. I found the deepest insights of human truths that allowed me to help hundreds of people to change their lives for the better.

It was an experience I will never forget, and has been the best thing for my life and career as a planner.