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Cedar Fort authors answer questions about life before, during, and after an LDS mission.
What can I do to prepare for my mission?
There are many things that you can do to prepare for your mission. One is to become familiar with the Book of Mormon and The Holy Bible. Author Michael Grant explains, “My mission success didn’t take off until I learned to first teach from the Bible. Once these Bible educated and believing people were shown supporting Biblical scripture, scripture from the Book of Mormon and LDS doctrine were much easier for them to accept.
As any current or return missionary will tell you; quite often when discussing Christian doctrine and teachings with someone not of our faith, the individual not of our faith will often present a scripture from the Bible to substantiate, prove, or defend what they believe.
What if I feel like I’m alone on my mission?
You may experience times of loneliness but it is important to remember that you are never alone. You have people praying for you. You have a mission president who is interested in your well-being. You have a companion. There are also those on the other side of the veil who have a keen interest in what you are doing from day to day.
In Mine Angels Round About You, David Frederick Babbel says, “The idea that family members from the spirit world anxiously attend our missionary work often struck me as true, but it wasn’t something I understood very deeply until I experienced it myself. I learned that sometimes the missionaries sensed such help, and sometimes the people they were teaching experienced the distinct support and presence of a departed one.”
He then shares this example:
“Elder Marques and Elder Fort, who were working in Santa Maria, had an interesting experience during the baptism of Maria Aparacida, a mother of four children who had all been baptized earlier.
Maria waited almost two years before she felt fully prepared to enter into the baptismal waters. On her baptism day, one of her daughters, a girl of fifteen years of age who had already been baptized into the Church, saw her deceased grandfather there. He was in the water with his eyes fixed on his grandchildren in attendance.
Following the baptism, the girl told her mother and the elders what she had seen. After hearing the story from the granddaughter, Elder Marques obtained all of the vital information about this man, and with the family’s enthusiastic support, made plans to perform the vicarious baptism for this man in the Recife Temple after his mission."
What happens if you choose to (or have to) come home early?
Author Kristen Reber in her book, Early Homecoming, addresses this question:
There are a lot of reasons why missionaries come home early. It may be for physical or mental heath reasons, worthiness, family troubles, or personal reasons. You may have a lot of questions going through your mind, like:
Why didn’t the Lord heal me on my mission?
Could I have pushed through it?
Was it all in my head?
Should I stay home or go back out?
What can I expect if I go back to a mission?
I’m staying home. How do I move forward?
How do I forgive those who unfairly judged me?
Do I not have enough faith?
It’s important to remember that God does not ask that we be perfect before He heals us. If you strived to be a good missionary, even if you were not a perfect missionary (and, really, no one is a perfect missionary—even the sons of Mosiah struggled from time to time; see Alma 26:27), you were worthy to be healed miraculously.
Often in life we expect that as we do good things we will be rewarded. In fact, we have God’s promise of being blessed for our righteous actions and thoughts (see 2 Nephi 1-5). So, time and again we are confused when we are ding all the right things, yet we are faced with trials that prevent us from continuing our course of doing those right things. And it seems so contradictory to what God would want, right?
That line of thinking is not in line at all with God’s thinking. You not being enough for God is simply the wrong conclusion. You are enough for Him. Always.
I’ve returned home from my mission. How can I continue to use Preach My Gospel?
While there are some things you will throw away once you get home from your mission, Preach My Gospel shouldn’t be one of them. Authors Marianna and Steve in The Returned Missionary Handbook, the authors explain “You will find that each chapter of Preach My Gospel contains essential guidance for your post-mission life. Here are some examples:
You can find new insights as well as strengthen your existing knowledge of the basic doctrines and principles of the gospel, and you can continue to refine your ability to teach them to your family and friends (Chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel).
You can continue to develop and to assess your progress regarding Christlike attributes, which is definitely a life-long pursuit (Chapter 6).
With the demands of school, work, church, and social expectations, keeping yourself organized and setting goals is essential to your success as a returned missionary (Chapter 8).
You will continue to teach people throughout your life, whether in your church calling, as a parent, or in your profession. You will most certainly have the opportunity to help others (and yourself) to overcome bad habits and behaviors throughout your life (Chapter 10).