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Missionary work has been completely transformed these last 15 years alone. The bar continues to be set higher for missionaries, the age requirements have changed, Preach My Gospel came out 11 years ago, AND the call for stronger returned missionaries has been consistently issued. What do you do when you come home from your mission though? It seems like our whole lives as youth are pretty well laid out. At 8 we get baptized, 12 we go to Young Women's or Young Men's, 16 you can date and drive, 18 you can vote and head off to college. At 18 or 19 you also can go on a mission. Somewhere in the vague future after that you get married and have kids but then what? And what if marriage isn't close on the horizon? There are people floundering out there because they have no milestone to work towards next. Keep these 3 things in mind as you move forward:
Keep Making Goals
You still have an end goal no matter how old you get- making it back into the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. What you do in the meantime is a different story. Take time to sit down and really map things out at least every year if not more often. Where do you want to be in 5 years? What career and family goals do you have? How can you improve spiritually? What talents do you want to develop? The awesome thing about being an adult is you can choose from so many things! Who do you want to be and what skills will help you get there? Start with your big overall goals then break it up just like you would have done in the mission field. Go over your goals and plans for the next few months and the week. Make sure your plans and goals align together. If you have someone to share these goals with review them together and be sure you two are on the same page as well.
Remember You're Still on a Mission
Every member is missionary. Simply because you took your name tag off doesn't mean you shouldn't be sharing the gospel any less. Keep teaching where you find and finding where you teach. Open your mouth boldly and share the Lord's light with others. Elder L. Tom Perry said,
"I call on you returned missionaries to rededicate yourselves, to become reinfused with the desire and spirit of missionary service. I call on you to look the part, to be the part, and to act the part of a servant of our Father in Heaven."
You are needed now. Share your testimony and continue strengthening those around you. Consistently do these small and simple things to share the gospel daily.
Author Benjamin Hyrum White takes you through adjusting back to "normal" life through planning regular temple attendance to embracing the doctrine of conversion. It is a must read for all returned missionaries. I honestly think it is a great book to read even if you haven't been on a full time mission. So many of the questions are exactly what all young adults are thinking right now. White takes you through 10 questions that will help you figure out what is best for you in your life right now. 10 Questions to Answer After Serving a Mission is well written, beautifully laid out, and includes additional resources after each chapter to help you continue your study and find your way. He says,
"Walking after the Lord is not for the faint of heart. You know from your mission experiences as well as I do that if you want to follow Christ, He will take you hiking....Your full-time service as a missionary is now over, but your full-time jump into adulthood is just beginning!"
Don't waste your time thinking that tomorrow everything will be back to normal. Take action and hold of your life and become the person God intends you to be. Keep making those goals, commitments, and continue sharing the gospel. Remember as Elder M. Russell Ballard declared, "'RM' doesn't mean 'retired Mormon'!"
Do you know someone that is preparing to go on their mission right now? Benjamin Hyrum White has also written 10 Questions to Answer While Preparing for a Mission. Check it out!
Your Turn- What was the best piece of advice you received as you returned home from your mission? What is something you wish you would have done when you got back?