By Paul Tikalsky
Mar 19, 2017

Merit Badges Boost LDS Missionaries’ Safety and Health

Five of my kids served missions in diverse places: Idaho, Guatemala, Argentina, and Colorado (two served in Colorado). No matter where they went, mission health and safety mattered. My children needed to know what to do in difficult situations to protect themselves, their companions, and others.

Like them, all young men and women face unusual predicaments while on missions. Dogs bite. Criminals threaten. Weather hits. Merit badges can help potential elders and sisters prepare for these problems.

Here’s some that will help you prepare:

  • Crime Prevention-Crime exists internationally and in America. With this merit badge, you’ll be able to conduct security surveys for safety. You’ll also know how to teach others crime protection practices while traveling and in the community. 
  • First Aid– From unclean water to bike accidents, this merit badge teaches medical basics. You will be able to help someone in shock. You’ll also know prevention methods and procedures for hypothermia, convulsions, frostbite, burns, etc. 
  • Safety– This is a great resource for staying safe at home and in the mission field. 
  • Emergency Prep– You might serve anywhere in the world. Missionaries need to be ready for all types of emergencies: floods, tornadoes, lightnings, earthquakes.
  • Fire Safety- Know how to create a home fire-escape plan, test a smoke alarm, extinguish a grease pan fire, and more. 
  • Weather–  When walking and biking, it’s nice to learn how to read the sky for warnings of dangerous weather. 
  • Public Health– Sickness and health problems prevent missionaries from being able to work hard. Know what to do to keep from being sick and to recover quickly. 
  • Medicine– Volunteering at a health event is one of the requirements of this badge. This will help you learn compassion when a companion is sick and prepare you for weekly required service projects. 

The Missionary Handbook states the following in regards to safety, “Follow safety rules for pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles, appliances, heaters, and anything that is potentially dangerous.”

If a missionary does not know the rules, how can they follow them?

Like all missionaries, my kids faced health and safety problems while serving. These badges helped them learn important protective lessons. As you prepare to serve, you can benefit from the skills taught by earning these badges. 

Paul Tikalsky


Author: Paul Tikalsky | Director of Development, Utah National Parks Council, BSA



This is part of a series designed to help parents and Scout leaders know what merit badges can help their Scouts as they transition into missionary service. This article focuses on missionary prep. 

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