Review: Eric Rigby’s new book ‘Missionary: Possible’ is worth your time
Full disclosure: Eric Rigby is a colleague of mine at the Deseret News. He is a talented writer and teacher of the scriptures.
If you pick up his new book, “Missionary: Possible,” you will likely enjoy it and learn something about applying the the scriptures to life and missionary work.
In the introduction, Rigby sets the tone with one of my favorite lines in the whole book: “This is not your grandma’s missionary prep book.”
“I want the young readers of the (LDS) Church to know that it’s never too early to start reading the scriptures. And not just one book, either — all the scriptures. Every book has applicable lessons for our day. It’s amazing to me to think of these ancient records that were preserved by divine means so that we could be strengthened by them today,” Rigby said. “That’s exactly what the scriptures do for us; they strengthen us, making it possible to face current challenges with an optimistic heart and a willingness to serve others.”
Here are 5 things that impressed me about this book:
1. Missionary lessons based on the Acts of the ancient apostles: The book of Acts is a treasure trove of compelling stories and gospel principles. There are so many powerful lessons and insights to be learned. Rigby’s timing in publishing the book is awesome because we’ve just had the chance to see some of these stories in the NBC series, “A.D. The Bible Continues.” Rigby brings these stories to life with his modern examples and own personal experiences. One of my favorites is found on page 106, where Rigby reads “Elder Paul’s” modern mission call.
2. His personal experiences: Speaking of personal experiences, he knows how to appropriately share the details of a personal story and in a way that illustrates a gospel principle. Throughout the book, Rigby refers to his own mission experience in Romania. See pages 75-76 to learn about “Sarmale” and his visit to Dracula’s castle, and how they relate to Peter leading the church in the years after the Savior’s crucifixion.
3. Funny footnotes: Rigby’s personality and humor definitely set this book apart. Most authors only use footnotes to cite sources, and this is fine. Rigby does cite his sources. But then he takes footnotes to a new level. One of my favorites is on page 67 when he talks about Paul and Barnabas returning to dangerous cities during their mission journeys. Footnote 33 says: “Can you imagine Paul’s parents picking him up at the end of his mission? … ‘And this street is where I was killed with rocks.'”
4. Nice theme and organization: The book is designed and organized to help each reader know what they need to be ready to serve a mission. In order to be successful, each missionary will need a testimony, an ability to recognize the spirit, spiritual experiences to draw from, an understanding of the power of fasting, how to work, how to pray, how to be honest and how to be obedient. Rigby addresses these important gospel topics and more.
5. Practical tips and suggestions: Finally, I like many of the practical tips and suggestions Rigby gives for preparing to serve. Among many he shares, Rigby talks about watching less TV and mastering self-control; learning how to plan your days as a teenager; and how to serve others.