Today I’m going to focus on missionaries who are finishing their mission. If asked how much time they have left, they make a face because they don’t like to think about it. In the beginning, eighteen months or two years seemed like forever, but the time passes so rapidly that it doesn’t seem long before they receive what we call “trunky papers”. The information from these papers tells the missionaries what they need to know before leaving the mission and also ask what airport is best. We encourage them to work hard and stay focused until the very last day, but it can be hard to do.
I have mentioned before that missionaries leaving have a workshop on self sufficiency, go with us to the temple and have an afternoon to buy mementos. They also bear their testimony for the “last” time many times, say goodbye in their current ward or branch, write notes to be given to their converts or former companions and wonder how they will fit everything into their suitcases.
For the most part they are nervous, because mission life is well-regulated and now they face major decisions about school, work, and getting married. It is like leaving a shelter and going back out into the storm. They have not focused on their family during their mission but now the time is very short until they will see them again, also an adjustment.
For our part, we are sad because we have enjoyed getting to know them and serving together. We know it is time and are grateful for the growth we see in them during their mission. We always tell them, please stay in touch and let us know how things are going, which many do. It is our great privilege to have these amazing young people, watch them serve the Lord as full-time missionaries then send them home to do great things.
Pictures this week are from saying good-bye to missionaries, greeting new ones and the first training.