Bishop or Branch President
The bishop or branch president is the key contact in your newly assigned ward or branch. He will make your assignments and he is the one who is responsible for all members and non-members within the ward or branch boundaries. Keep him informed regarding your activities.
Know the Ward or Branch
The ward or branch to which you are initially assigned is the area where you will serve your mission. Your time and energy should be devoted to your assigned ward or branch. Being active is one of the best ways for you to become acquainted with the members. Building rapport with the people and leaders is one of the most important things you can accomplish.
Attend as many meetings and social functions as possible. You should be invited to attend PEC and ward council meetings in your new ward or branch. The frequency of these meetings will vary according to the discretion of the bishop or branch president. The bishop or branch president often has a separate meeting with just the service missionaries. Attend ward or branch block meetings and other meetings during the week. Become an involved member of the ward.
Your spouse is your companion. Learn to pray and council together and listen to each other’s ideas. You will discover hidden strengths in your companion. Go together as much as possible. There may be times when one of you may need to go somewhere without your companion. In these instances you will work with another service missionary or member of the ward or branch.
Single Brothers and Sisters
Single brothers and sisters will be assigned another service missionary as a companion, when it is possible. Sometimes a member of the ward or branch may be assigned as a companion.
Letting the bishop or branch president know how much time you can spend in your assignment will help him understand how many families or individuals to assign you.
Introduction to Assigned Families or Individuals
Your bishop or branch president might personally introduce you to your assigned families or individuals. He might ask you to call on them without a formal introduction. You might work with some for your entire mission and others for a brief period of time.
It is not always possible to make appointments with those you serve. Some do not have phones and some may be reluctant to meet you. Don’t be discouraged or give up trying to reach them.
Some families will not let you in their home on your first few visits. It may be because they do not know you or that they are embarrassed about their living conditions. They may only want to visit on the doorstep or porch. Some contact is always a step in the right direction.
Trust is earned and takes time. Be patient and don’t try to rush the process.
Birthdays – Special Events
Remember birthdays and special events with a card, small gift or birthday cake. You may get these dates from the ward clerk or from the families or individuals directly. Also, learn about church, school and sports activities. For some, you may be the only one to remember these important occasions.
Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching
Bishops and branch presidents are discouraged from calling service missionaries as visiting teachers or home teachers to specific individuals and families. Bishops and branch presidents may count your work with individuals and families as visiting teaching and home teaching. When local ward or branch members are assigned to be visiting teachers or home teachers to the same people you are assigned to, it is important to work together to bless the lives of the people.
Many different languages are spoken in wards and branches which can make it difficult to communicate. Sometimes younger family members or acquaintances that speak English can provide translation for the older generation. Information regarding ESL (English as a Second Language) classes is available in the Storehouse of Specialists handbook.
Monthly reports are to be submitted online by the 10th of the following month to the Director of the Inner City Mission. If a service missionary does not have access to the internet, they may contact their Stake Lead Couple to have the information input for them. The bishop or branch president may ask for a written report. However, most of your reporting to him will be given in PEC meetings, missionary meetings or in private conversations.
Involving Family, Friends and Your Home Ward Members
Tell your family, friends and home ward members about your assignment. With the permission of the bishop or branch president you may be able to involve others in helping those you serve. Service opportunities can help others feel the spirit of serving and expands the Lord’s Storehouse (Time, talents and resources of those willing to serve are all part of the Lord’s Storehouse).
Love the People
Love as the Savior loved. Many of our brothers and sisters need someone to listen to them and share their concerns without judgment. There will be those to whom you will be assigned who have special physical or emotional needs, or have lifestyles different from yours. Charity, the pure love of Christ, enables us to look past those differences and see each other as children of our Heavenly Father.
Stake and Ward Lead Couples
Stake and Ward Lead Couples are available to assist you when you need help. Go to your Ward Lead Couple first. If they cannot help they will go to the Stake Lead Couple for additional assistance. If there isn’t a Ward Lead Couple, go to the Stake Lead Couple directly. If the Stake Lead Couple cannot provide the assistance needed they will contact their Assistant Director for help. Stake and Ward Lead Couples will hold missionary meetings in the ward, branch and stake as needed.
Storehouse of Specialists
The Storehouse of Specialists is a group of service providers in various fields including employment, housing, medical, dental, legal, home repair and many others, who have agreed to provide services at low or no cost to those in the inner city who are in need. The Inner City Mission also works closely with the community to make community resources available to help meet temporal needs.
Quarterly Missionary Conferences
The Inner City Mission conducts quarterly missionary conferences. You may consult the Calendar for dates on the Inner City Mission website. This includes a general session attended by all service missionaries and Mission leadership. Following the general session there are up to five or six break-out sessions running concurrently each with training usually facilitated by Storehouse Specialists. Each break-out session is repeated three times so that service missionaries can attend as many as they choose. Specialists participate on a rotational basis so that over a period of time service missionaries will have exposure to them in a training capacity. Missionary Conferences also provide an opportunity to become acquainted with service missionaries serving in other wards and branches in the Inner City Mission.
The Inner City Mission produces a quarterly newsletter, which is available on the website. We welcome your comments, successes and helpful hints. Please send these to your Assistant Director.
You are urged to attend he temple regularly where you will find necessary spiritual strength to serve. You are also encouraged to attend the temple with your assigned ward or branch on their temple nights.
Home Ward and Stake
Your membership will remain in your home ward. Your tithing and other donations are made to your home ward. Your temple recommend will be issued from your home ward. You should continue to have home and visiting teachers from your home ward. You should not have any callings in your home ward or stake but you may want to attend special occasions. Your time and energy should be spent in your newly assigned ward or branch.
Your name badge should be worn anytime you are functioning as a service missionary. If you need to order another name badge, you can do so on the ICP website. On the "Resources" page click on the "Order Name Badges" and follow the instructions there.
On Sunday, you should wear Sunday attire. During the week casual clothing may be more appropriate. You should always wear clothing in keeping with church standards. You should be sensitive about what you wear (including excessive jewelry etc.) so as not to intimidate those you serve.
Missionaries will not be reimbursed for car expenses incurred in their missionary service.
Family commitments are important. Let the bishop or branch president, as well as the Ward and Stake Lead Couples know when you will be gone.
Take vacations as you would normally. Let the bishop or branch president, as well as the Ward and Stake Lead Couples know when you leave so they can take care of any needs that arise in your absence.
If health problems arise during your service, let your bishop or branch president know as well as the Ward and Stake Lead Couple, so that your assignments can be taken care of during your absence. Additionally, inform the Director or an Assistant Director in the Inner City Mission Leadership about any serious health issues.
Do not use your own money to assist those you serve. There may be occasions when you choose to buy something for those you serve but it should be minimal. Financial assistance is to be given only by the bishop or branch president.
Take the opportunity to speak in your assigned ward or branch, home ward and stake. Let others know of your service and the blessings of helping others in the Inner City Mission.
Some families will want to have a prayer with you on the first visit. In other situations, it may take weeks or months to build a relationship before prayer is welcome. Listen to the Spirit and you will know when it is time. It never hurts to ask if they would like to have prayer before you leave. Helping our brothers and sisters learn to listen to the Spirit to guide them in their temporal and spiritual needs will be an important part your service.
The scriptures are a wonderful teaching tool. Some families and individuals will be receptive on your first visit. With others it may take weeks or months to build a relationship before they are ready to study the scriptures. Listen to the Spirit and you will know when it is time. As you become acquainted, you will be able to evaluate the family’s understanding of the gospel. You may have to start with the very basics and may want to use the full time missionaries (See “Full Time Missionaries” below.). Some people cannot read. Be careful not to embarrass anyone. In time and as prompted by the Spirit you will be able to determine their level of literacy.
Once you become better acquainted with those you serve, be prepared to give a spiritual thought or lesson. Rely upon the Spirit to know when this is appropriate.
Family Home Evening
Most families welcome Family Home Evening. Make it simple, fun and interesting especially when children are involved. Refreshments are always a good idea.
Under the direction of the bishop or branch president you may be asked to assist someone with their budget. Many families and individuals have never had a budget and often live from day to day or paycheck to paycheck. Become familiar with the budget tools in your handbook so that you can help them with the budgeting process. It is important to establish a relationship before this sensitive subject is discussed.
Full Time Missionaries
With the permission of the bishop or branch president, you may use the full time missionaries to help teach the gospel to those you serve. There are times when the full time missionaries may need your assistance
It is always important to be aware of your surroundings. The leaders in the ward or branch will instruct you regarding areas that should be avoided during certain times of the day. Go with your companion as much as possible. There will be times when one of you may need to go alone. Use caution and see if another service missionary or someone from the ward or branch can go with you. Listen to the Spirit.
Physical or mental abuse of a child or spouse needs to be reported to the bishop or branch president immediately. Bishops and branch presidents can instruct you on how to handle these situations.
When a confrontational situation arises, the missionaries should not take any action that will transfer the focus or hatred to the missionary. Usually the presence of the missionaries or other independent witnesses is sufficient to defuse the situation from one of immediate violence to one of intense verbal confrontation. Police are taught to immediately separate the parties; missionaries should not physically do so, but should suggest separation and strongly encourage it.
If immediate physical violence is a reality or imminent possibility, the missionaries should immediately call for police assistance. If possible, the call should be made outside the presence of the offenders. The bishop or branch president should be notified as soon as possible after police notification.
Any abuse which places a child in danger such as no food, lack of care, physical violence, or use of drugs in the home while the child is present, or other actions which place the child in danger of health and safety must be reported immediately to the police, as well as the bishop or branch president. This should be done outside the presence of the perpetrators. The missionaries should consult with the bishop or branch president immediately, but if the bishop or branch president is not available, authorities should be notified without delay. The bishop or branch president has immediate 24 hour access to Church attorneys. Service missionaries must follow the advice the attorneys give to the bishop or branch president.