London, United Kingdom
Initially having a missionary out is like a bereavement, people say “nice” things like. “He is where he should be” “He will be happy” “You will see him again” You know all these things already, you just want someone to listen and hug you when you cry. It’s ok to cry but not when your missionary sees. Our son quoted my wife’s favourite football team captain to her at the MTC drop of… ” We don’t cry on the pitch, we save that for the dressing room”Truly let them go, they are all adults, young, and inexperienced but adults non the less. They will make mistakes, they will shrink clothes in the wash and they will have days or weeks when they have to feed themselves, it’s fine. It’s better that they know sorrow so they can appreciate joy.
Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the white handbook. Never ask or encourage them to break one of those rules. The rules are fences of protection not boundaries of restriction.
Pray for their success, but mostly pray that they are in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing. This is Gods work, don’t seek to make it yours or your missionaries. Let it be done in Gods way and Gods time.
When things go wrong trust your missionaries President with all you heart. Our son was diagnosed with a rare eye condition while serving. Untreated it threatened his vision. I had to adjust my prayers and thoughts from “please fix this and bring him home and let US get it sorted” to “what can we learn from this and how can we help?” That’s when peace came.
It turned out one of the world experts on the condition he had, lived in the city he was serving in. Our Elder had a double surgical procedure on both eyes in one session. His philosophy? “My eyes are deteriorating, I have nothing to loose. God has a plan for me, it’s not for me to choose if that’s with or without sight” The procedure went well, he now says “serving a mission and where I served it, has saved my sight” His mission president and wife were with him every step, and had him move into their home while he recovered.
I learnt that not a single stripling warrior died but they were all injured, so it is with missionaries. They will have battle scars, the fight with the adversary is real. However they will be triumphant through obedience.
Some missionaries come home early, that’s ok. Success is in the preparation and the desire to serve. Leadership positions are assignments not callings. The only call they are under, is that of being a missionary. Seniors, trainers, DLs, ZLs, and APs are not called, sustained and set apart. They are assignments that give opportunities for growth and service.
Missionaries love emails, but generally only get an hour to read them all and reply. Email time is only a short portion of P-Day, they have a lot of other things to get done. It’s a day to prepare for the next 6 days of service.
Finally, unless you too are a day away from your reunion, you won’t believe me, but you will look back and think “wow that went quick”