Submitting your papers.You should have been given physical papers which you will take with you to your medical and dental exams. Once you have those completed with the rest of your papers, you will submit them to your bishop who will in turn review them, interview you and recommend you to serve as a missionary to your Stake President.
Now for those that are completing their papers online, you will need to give your medical papers to your bishop who will send them to the Stake President so they can be sent to the Mission Office. They will need to see the actual papers which your dentist and physician have signed off or made notes on about your physical abilities.
If, like me, the Mission Offices ask for addition evaluations, tests or information, comply- and comply without getting upset about it. Yes, it's hard to wait several more weeks like information is relayed and as they reprocess everything but there is absolutely no point in getting frustrated about it. We're taught from a young age to endure all things and endure them well. If you are struggling with negative feelings and doubts while you wait, pray for strength and get busy with your callings, service, family, work, anything righteous to keep your mind off things and it will go by so much faster and you will find that it isn't that big of a setback in the eternal perspective.
The Interviews.You will be interviewed by your bishop before he sends your papers to the Stake President, then interviewed by your Stake President before he sends them off to the Mission Offices to be processed and assigned. Each interview is much like the interview you go through when receiving a Limited-Use Recommend to perform baptisms in the Temple. The questions aren't scary but like I've said before, be honest. Sometimes it's hard to admit to things until it's the last minute. While it's definitely better to confess during these interviews than a few days before you're set-apart or after you're in the field, really examine yourself and your actions and take care of things BEFORE you even start this process. You will feel so much better about your decision if you do things in the proper time and the Lord will bless you and strengthen you.
Waiting...Once your interviews are complete, your papers will be in and it will be anywhere between 2-6 weeks for your call to get to your home. (At least, that's what it currently is as I understand it.)
Be proactive.While you're waiting, do everything you can to make sure you are prepared. While the physical and spiritual preparation should start long before your papers are submitted, we all have little things we can improve upon and add to our daily routines to help us be ready for the MTC. Ask anyone and everyone you know that's served a mission for things they did well before their mission and things they wish they had done or known beforehand. Here are some things I've been doing to prepare that you can do as well:
- Study, study, study.
- Study the Book of Mormon
- Study Preach My Gospel
- Study the pamphlets you'll use for investigators (The Restoration, The Plan of Salvation, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Chastity, Tithing and Fast Offerings, The Word of Wisdom, The Testimony of Joseph Smith)
- Study the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (especially if you're serving in the Bible Belt))
- Presidents of the Church
- The current First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles
- Memorize! If you've got a lot of these things memorized before hand, that's one less thing you need to worry about once you enter the MTC. (Ask the missionaries in your ward or anyone that's recently returned from a mission what passages they were required to learn in the MTC for additional study.) Here are some resources with scriptures that I think might come in handy.
- Your Purpose on the first page of Preach My Gospel
- The Standard of Truth
- Scripture Mastery
- The Articles of Faith
- Doctrine and Covenants 4
- Your favorite scriptures
- Your favorite hymns/primary songs
- Take Mission Preparation at the institute or if you don't live in Utah, ask your bishop if there is a ward/stake Mission Prep class available.
- Take Temple Prep- I suggest starting this class as close to when your papers are going to be submitted as possible. No point in taking it months before and forgetting everything. Ditto as above if you're out of Utah.
- Attend all of your meetings, duh! (Sacrament meeting, Sunday School, Relief Society/Priesthood, Mutual, FHE at home or in your YSA ward, etc.)
- Write a list of questions you have or principles/doctrines you don't understand and then go research them.
- Get a gym membership or start some sort of routine at home. The last thing you want to worry about in the MTC is getting used to riding a bike or doing strenuous activity for long periods of time.
- Get with your mom or dad (whoever normally does the cooking) and learn how to cook some basic things (and not just Top Ramen or Macaroni) like Shepherd's Pie or potatoes. Seriously, make sure you can turn on a stove and not burn the house down.
- If you haven't figured out how to do your own laundry, do it now.
- Learn the basics of fixing a flat on a bike and putting the chain back on.
- Learn how to change the tire of a car and put oil in, just in case.
- Learn basic first-aid/ CPR. In fact, you may want to become CPR certified. Who knows what will happen with your companions.
- SAVE YOUR MONEY. Look at your financial situation and discuss with your parents, bishop (and maybe your grandparents) how you will be financing your mission. Remember:
- For sister missionaries, the total is about $7200 ($400 a month)
- For Elders, the total is around $9600 ($400 a month)
Stay faithful, be honest, study and pray. The Lord loves you and will help you every step of the way. Good luck, fellow missionaries!