Sunday, May 24, 2015

Early releases

            Today I would like to write about a difficult and sometimes sad facet of missionary life.  Occasionally, missionaries, for a variety of reasons must return home early.  Injuries and illness are often the cause—if missionaries have physical problems which require surgery or recovery periods longer than a couple of weeks, the best option for everyone is recuperation at home.  Depending on the situation, he or she may return to us.  One elder broke his collarbone, went home for surgery and was back in three weeks.  Obviously, exceptions are made for appendicitis or other emergencies.
            Another cause of early release is emotional problems.  Missionaries don’t always realize how hard serving a mission can be—physically and emotionally.  The mission field is a place for development in many areas, including spirituality and testimony, and learning to get along with companions and others in sometimes difficult situations.  However, it is not a good place to solve serious emotional issues which may become exacerbated due to the normal stress of mission life.  We have an area mental health advisor who is wonderful with the missionaries and often helps resolve problems that otherwise would require a release.
            The third category I will mention is what we call “belated confession” where a missionary did not fully repent before arriving in the field.  It is really sad to see a young man or woman have to return home to make things right.  On the other hand, we are happy to see that they feel the Spirit telling them what needs to be done even though it is going to be hard.  I am happy to share that we have had missionaries return to us after this process and they come back focused and ready to be great missionaries.

            Please know that we love all our missionaries whatever their circumstances or release dates, and we are grateful to have this opportunity to serve with them and sometimes help them through a difficult process whether physical, emotional or spiritual.  Early release for a missionary is not a cause for shame or recrimination, but rather a chance to turn our hearts more to the Savior, and an opportunity to grow stronger in our commitment to be more like Him.

All the office elders are sharing these new bikes.  Great exercise!

Yea, it is time for new missionaries!

As usual, we have wonderful, experienced trainers.

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