Spending a semester abroad? Hopefully you're planning to capture and collect memories of your travels in several different ways. But have you thought about using your Book of Mormon as one of them?
You know when you're sitting on a wall in Italy watching a sherbet sunset, eating a cone of chocolate gelato, and you tell yourself, "I'm going to remember this moment forever." Well, I hate to break it to you, but you won't. Unless you take a picture, write about it in your journal, or record that perfect moment in some other way.
As a volunteer with International Language Programs, you'll have SOOOO many of these moments that you'll never ever want to forget. Whether they happen while you're teaching English to the cutest kids, laughing with your roommates, exploring Rome, or admiring elephants, you'll want to remember every single day! We are big big fans of taking all the pictures, and creating scrapbooks, and making unique journals. But what about using your scripture study as another way to record special experiences and thoughts?
Have you been wanting to spend months abroad as more than an tourist?
Here's how we've done it!
Learn More About International Language Programs
While International Language Programs isn’t affiliated with the The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are based in Utah and have a lot of volunteers and staff who are members of this church. So, if you're looking for a program focused on service that gives volunteers an affordable but still meaningful experience abroad, with a Code of Conduct designed to enhance the experience, ILP might just be the ideal fit for you.
We're always looking for ways to help our volunteers make the most of their semester abroad, which includes not only creating memories, but also saving them so these adventures abroad can have an impact throughout the rest of their lives! Many of our volunteers experience a bit of a spiritual journey while they're abroad, so why not use a Book of Mormon to record yours? Here are some easy tips to help you make this happen:
- Get Yourself A Brand New Copy
- Set Up A Schedule
- Write The When And Where
- Utilize Study Resources
- Create A Colorful System
Get Yourself A Brand New Copy
If you're anything like me, then you're more likely to read the scriptures if you have a physical copy—not just an app on your phone (although that's nice to have too). Plus, there's something about being able to flip through a book and see all of the notes you've made to remember what you learned while living in Ukraine, or Vanuatu, or the Dominican Republic. So, we totally recommend bringing an actual Book of Mormon, even though it will take up some room in your suitcase.
There are a lot of different Book of Mormons on the market these days, so you'll be able to find the perfect one for you. There are pocket-sized versions like this one for about $5. Or if you want just the basic Book of Mormon in either hardback or paperback, you can get one for less than $5.
My personal favorites are the beautiful journaling editions like this one, with extra large margins so you have enough room to write all of the thoughts and quotes you want to include. Sure they cost a little more (about $15-$25), but it's worth it! You can even find some of these books with unlined margins so that you can doodle and draw as you study, making it even more personalized. And if you want a journaling Book of Mormon that will really withstand the wear and tear of travel, both this faux-leather-covered one or this hard-covered one are great options.
Set Up A Schedule
Lucky for you, we have a schedule so you can finish the whole Book of Mormon while you are volunteering abroad for a semester …score! Click here to print it out and be sure to pack it in your suitcase.
Once you arrive at your new home and figure out your daily teaching schedule, you can plan a consistent time every day to study your scriptures. Then, tape the printed reading schedule up on your bedroom wall and cross off each day as you finish it. Nothing quite like being able to see the progress you're making!
If you miss a day, catch up while waiting for the bus or read during breakfast. You definitely don't want to get too far behind if you're trying to read the entire book in 100 days, since that requires reading a few chapters every day.
Write The When And Where
To really turn this into a personal record of your adventures abroad, you've got to write down a couple of things every time you start your study: when and where. The more details you include, the more fun you'll have looking back on your notes.
For example: 9/23/2020, Bedroom at host family's house. 9/24/2020, Holy Donut, Lithuania. 9/25/2020, Over-night bus to Krakow, Poland. 9/26/2020, Bus from Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. 9/27/2020, St. Mary's Basilica in Gdansk, Poland.
You get the idea! And you can include even more details and thoughts. You’ll love reminiscing while reading through these tiny snapshots of your days. And there will be many of these moments that you probably won't even think to take pictures of.
Utilize Study Resources
There are endless study guides and resources available to help you get even more out of your personal study. You might get some powerful insights from reading one of the latest General Conference talks every day before studying your Book of Mormon. Or by looking at what the Come Follow Me 2020 Manual has to say about the chapters you're reading. Or just by searching for quotes under a specific topic on Pinterest to see if there are any you want to include in the margins of your scriptures.
Create A Colorful System
Bring a set of colored pencils or pens and create a color-coded system for highlighting your favorite lines and verses. This makes it easier to focus while you're reading, and pull out the information that is especially important and relevant to you.
Consider doing it by topics (like faith = yellow, prayer = blue, enduring to the end = green, etc). Or you can do it by more general categories (like blessings = purple, warnings = orange, promises = pink, etc). If you want to keep things simple, you can even just underline every reference to Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ like participants in this world-wide experiment were asked to do. If you're preparing for a mission while volunteering, then you can coordinate colors with the lessons from Preach My Gospel.
Make sure to write your color guide in the front of the book so you don't ever forget what it is. Then, when you need to find a scripture for something specific in the future, BINGO! Just look for the correlating color.
Something else to think about is choosing colors that are also on the Gospel Library App. That way you can still read and highlight your Book of Mormon on your phone, even when you're on incredible vacations and weren't able to fit your paper scriptures in your backpack.
Wanting to volunteer abroad but aren't sure if ILP is the right program for you?
We totally get it! There are other great non-profits committed to helping volunteers make a difference abroad. But, speaking from personal experience, a semester with ILP is very unique and there's a lot that volunteering abroad with us can do for you. We'd love to have you join us! Click the button below to find the answers to all of our applicants most frequently asked questions: