A bag is a missionary’s best friend. You get to choose your bag before you leave and it will be with you every day. The missionary guidelines tell you that your bag should be simple, professional, and durable. Luckily, those guidelines don’t tell you specifically what you need so you have the freedom to choose a bag that fits your personality.
With all the options available, it can be difficult to find just the right bag for your mission. Knowing what you will need in your bag can help you find the best fit for you. Here are a few essentials that are good to carry along during the day:
This is your bread and butter (besides your scriptures). Missionaries use these planners during weekly and daily planning sessions. You will need to update it when you make contacts on the street. Luckily there are places to take notes for such things as phone numbers or addresses. Your will be lost without this agenda and it’s important you have this with you at all times to make sure you’re not missing appointments.
One or two pens is essential to jot down those notes in your agenda or to add a new appointment. Clicky pens are best to use because you don’t have to juggle the pen cap or stick it in your mouth. They also can double as pointers if you need to highlight something in a lesson. Make sure that you have a pocket to hold these pens.
As much as you want people to always be at the set appointments, that’s not how things work. Other times, you may stop by someone’s house unannounced and they won’t be at home. Luckily, you can leave a note using your handy little notepad to let your investigator or friend know that the missionaries came by. Be sure to write your phone number and many times they will call to set up a new appointment.
Stickers are great to tack your note to the front door. Your investigator will be sure to see it and will appreciate the little decoration. Be careful to not select stickers that are too juvenile or small. You want it big enough to hold the note through wind or storms.
No matter where you are, your lips can get chapped. Whether from dry weather or wind, keep yourself from licking your lips and making it worse by carrying some chapstick around. While you may want to keep the chapstick in your skirt pocket, you may forget about the tube when it comes to doing laundry. Keeping it in your bag will ensure that you always have it right when you need it. (And if I might add my own personal recommendation — Natural Ice Cherry Chapstick is my favorite!)
Do not leave your place without a water bottle. Many times you’ll be away from your apartment the entire day. In some places around the world, there aren’t public water fountains. You need to be sure to carry some with you so that you don’t get dehydrated.
Many missionaries realize that they will need to use their scriptures, but when shopping for a bag, missionaries forget to consider the size of their scriptures. Especially when serving a foreign mission, the scriptures are a slightly different size. Consider purchasing a copy of the Book of Mormon in your mission language to test out in the bag. Make sure that at least two copies of the Book of Mormon can fit in your bag for those days when you have multiple appointments or you meet a golden investigator.
No matter what bag you choose, be sure to remember that what is going in your bag will help you be a more effective missionary.