Missed Me Already?

While coming home early from a mission can be devastating, being proactive can help turn your homecoming into a step forward instead of a step back. 

"Returning home early from a mission . . . can be a devastating experience. It was for me. But you can make it a step forward, not a step back." -Jenny Rollins

photo by andrew neel

When Jenny Rollins, author of “Dealing with Coming Home Early,” returned home from her mission nine months early because of consistent medical problems, she struggled with the transition. Even though she had served the Lord faithfully for as long as she could, some people saw her early homecoming as a disgrace to her missionary service. Then one day Jenny received an unexpected phone call that changed her perspective entirely. What she learned helped her to continue forward and to offer advice to others in similar circumstances.

In her July 2016 Ensign and Liahona article “Dealing with Coming Home Early,” Jenny recounts her story and advises missionaries who come home early to apply the following principles:

  • Come unto Christ: Apply Christ’s Atonement to your life—no matter what caused you to return home early—so you can heal completely and come closer to him.
  • Remember it can be a step forward: Keep the Spirit with you and continue to do what you know is right. You can still progress.
  • Keep up scripture habits: Discover the particular counsel and comfort God wants to give you by reading the scriptures.
  • Keep busy: Stay active and busy once you return home. If you transition to doing little or nothing after the regimented missionary schedule, Satan can more easily find ways to discourage you.
  • Pray for help: Reach out to the Lord in prayer. Remember, you won’t be able to overcome your particular challenge without his help.
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt: Don’t focus on the people who don’t know how to react to your coming home early; instead, focus on those who are supporting you and forgive all others.

Even if others don’t understand your decision to come home, striving to live the gospel as a newly returned missionary will allow you and those who support you to move forward.

Read “Dealing with Coming Home Early” to discover how you or your loved ones can cope with coming home early from full-time missionary service.

Sources: Ensign, Liahona

—Camille Lazelle, Mormon Insights

feature image by steve halama

Find more insights

Watch “Elder Holland’s Counsel for Early Returned Missionaries,” a video in the LDS Media Library.

Take a look at “Like a Broken Vessel,” the recent Mormon Message associated with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk about depression and mental illness.

Watch the Mormon Message “The Hope of God’s Light” to learn more about enduring patiently.

Read the Mormon Insights article “Back So Soon?” by Maryssa Dennis.

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