Preparation Day (also known as “P Day”) is a day once a week when LDS missionaries have time to take care of everything they can’t during the week. Here’s a typical preparation day schedule:
Typical Preparation Day Schedule
6:30 a.m. – Arise, exercise for 30 minutes
7:00 a.m. – Prepare for the day, eat breakfast
8:00 a.m. – Personal Study
9:00 a.m. – Companionship Study
10:00 a.m. – Language Study (if applicable)
10 or 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. – Preparation Day Activities
6 p.m. until 9 p.m. – Proselyting
9 p.m. – Daily Planning
9:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. – Free time (for studying, writing in a journal, etc.)
For most LDS missionaries around the world, preparation day comes once a week, and lasts from about 10 or 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.
On my LDS mission in Argentina, preparation days were almost always Mondays, unless they were rescheduled due to emergency transfers or special conferences. Preparation days are a great time for missionaries to do everything they need to in order to prepare for the week and get some mental/physical rejuvenation.
Here are some common activities done during preparation day.
Preparation Day Activities
Playing soccer in the cultural hall at a local church meetinghouse is a very popular preparation day activity in South America. In my mission in Argentina playing soccer at the church was the default Preparation Day activity to do after grocery shopping and emailing your family.
Playing basketball is another popular preparation day activity. In my mission soccer was more popular than basketball, but that was because soccer in the dominant sport in Argentina. I assume playing basketball is very popular among Elders serving in the United States and many other areas throughout the world.
Shopping is probably the most important and regular activity you do on preparation day. From my experience most missionaries try to go grocery shopping first thing after leaving their apartment for the day.
One activity we did on my mission a few times was to go bowling as a zone. While it can be fun to go bowling the atmosphere at a bowling center is not always a good atmosphere for missionaries. Bowling can also be costly and on a missionary budget can be difficult to pay for.
For missionaries serving in third-world countries it may not be a good a idea to spend lots of money on a leisure activity, when there are great needs among the poor in the community. The money one spends bowling or doing other expensive activities could be better used to help those without food in the area.
Sometimes it can be fun to hold friendly competitions with your fellow missionaries. When it comes to competitions, your imagination is the limit. If holding a competition it may be a good idea to not keep count of points or have too much competition. The Missionary Handbook discourages missionaries from playing competitive sports.
Visiting tourist sites
Visiting tourist sites is a favorite for many missionaries. On my mission we had several tourist attractions- an English town with a famous Tea Shop (with cakes and hot chocolate, etc.), beautiful river spots, hikes, forests, museums, historic sites, the ocean, etc.
When visiting tourist spots it’s important to respect the dignity of your missionary calling and respect your hosts. While visiting tourist spots can be a fun preparation day activity, it can be difficult to coordinate missionary schedules as a group. Taking trips often takes more time than anticipated. It’s important to schedule plenty of time to get to and from activities and still have enough time left of the day to do everything else you need to do before 6 p.m..
Hiking’s a great activity to do on preparation day. It gives you healthy exercise, allows you to appreciate nature and is often a nice escape from the city. Just be smart when you go hiking and obey the mission rules.
One of my friends fell off a cliff on his mission in Australia. While hiking, a shoe fell off of one of his companions and he volunteered to descend and get the shoe. He left his companions and start to climb down the canyon to get to the shoe as fast as possible.
On his way down, my friend saw a tree hanging over a cliff and thought it’d be sweet to take a picture on it. The last thing my friend remembers was starting to crawl up the tree…The missionaries found him 19 hours later, having fallen over 100 feet (about a 90-foot free fall into a bush after rolling down a steep mountain). My friend survived and is now very healthy and a pole-vaulting athlete (as he was before his mission).
Hikes can be very fun- just be obedient and listen to the spirit. O be wise, what can I say more?
Cooking new recipes or local cuisine on preparation day can be a fun activity. One of my companions was really into cooking and made some delicious homemade chocolates and gummies.
Missionaries love getting mail and packages. Usually missionaries have 30 minutes to an hour to use public computers. Outside of emailing family and friends, missionaries can visit official church websites, such as Mormon.org. It’s important for families to understand that missionaries are pressed for time and that they may have a difficult time responding to everyone’s questions.
In some mission areas there are members of the church who may volunteer to help missionaries with their laundry. Some do it for pay and some do it for free. At the beginning of my mission, most of us missionaries washed and dried our clothing by hand. Part-way through my mission many missionary apartments received semi-automatic washers.
We’d manually load the washers with water and soap and then drain the dirty water, add more clean water to rinse and then we would squeeze the water out of our clothing by hand and leave it to dry on a rack. Some missionaries were lucky enough to have semi-automatic dryers that would spin most of the water out of the clothing.
I don’t think anyone in our mission had automatic dryers or washers, except for those serving in the mission office.
Watch Missionary-Approved videos
Often missionaries are given permission to watch Church-produced movies on their preparation day. Some are given permission to watch some videos that are not produced by the Church on special holidays, such as Christmas.
I’ve heard that recently some missions around the world have issued missionaries portable DVD players with which to watch episodes of The District. While you may be allowed to watch videos on Preparation Day, you will likely not watch videos much on Preparation Day, because their are so many other things you will need to get done.