My brother, Elder Serrano,
My goodness I can't believe that it's already here. You're going to be set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints tomorrow night. I am so excited for you Steve! It sounds like you had a good last week as a Civee. The talk you gave was excellent. I felt like I was reading it from the November Ensign. Well done!
-No you don't need to bring it to the MTC. They will provide a pillow and blanket there. But you will probably not have any when you get to your first area in the field. I didn't, but luckily there was a blanket there waiting for me, I just needed a pillow. I've been using the same blanket ever since! Can you believe it?
-There is so much advice I could give you. But some of the most important pieces of advice I could give you, is
*always be humble. When you are humble you are obedient. When you are humble you are always seeking advice and continual improvement.
*You are pretty prepared to go on a mission, but don't think that you know how to serve a mission. At least not yet. That will come through time.
*Be patient. Be patient with your companion, with investigators, with members, with the ward, and most importantly with yourself. There are many things to learn as a missionary, and they can't all be learned in the MTC, or even learned in the first 6 months as missionary. I am learning new things every single day.
*The Spirit is there to guide and teach you. Study the 4th chapter in PMG, and find how the Spirit works through you. Learn to recognize it's promptings and you will never feel like you wasted a day. You will lay down at night knowing that you have done what the Lord wanted you to do, if you learn to recognize the promptings of the Spirit.
*Never give up, because this is a hard Work that you are embarking in, expect to be tired. Expect opposition. Take it in the Strength of the Lord.
*Never get discouraged. If you get discouraged, it will lead to disobedience, which leads to doubt, then to disbelief, then to death of the Spirit. If you get discouraged, Pray.
*Be loving. Love everyone! If you love the people you serve, you will love the work you work.
*Always work to improve. If you feel like you've reached a good point, and feel like you're plateau-ing, there's something wrong.
*Follow to the Lord's instruction in the scriptures. Follow your Mission President's instruction. Follow the examples of righteous missionaries. If something doesn't fit the standards in the Missionary Handbook, don't do it.
*BE YOURSELF! That's the most important, Steve. Be yourself.
And that's all for now. I'll be happy to give you advice when situations arise. I'll e-mail you every week Bro. I promise! Love you Elder! I'm excited for you to begin the best two years for (not "of") your life. The work is true. The laborer is worth of his hire.