3 Things Parents of Returned Missionaries Should Never Forget to Do

3 Things Parents of Returned Missionaries Should Never Forget to Do

John walked off the plane to see his family waiting for him with balloons and a homemade banner. Tears flowed freely as he hugged his parents, his little brothers and sisters, and his childhood friends who had come to welcome him home. After the parties, cakes, speeches, and celebration were over, he felt a little lost, not knowing what to do. On his mission, every day was planned to the hilt and evaluated against his key indicators. Now his family was telling him to take it easy, relax, and just hang out. He’d worked so hard for two years and discovered that he actually liked to work, to study, and to stay busy helping others. He wondered what he was supposed to do with all his newfound free time and often wished he was back on the mission.

John’s experience is not unique. After all the hoopla has died down, your missionary might have a difficult time transitioning back home. As their parent, you might also have trouble knowing how to best help them do it.
Marianna and I love returned missionaries. We have eight children who have served missions and 450 more beloved missionaries from our mission in Brazil who are now home. For the past three years, we have also had the privilege of teaching over 1,300 young people in an institute class specifically for returned missionaries.

Here are three suggestions based on what we’ve learned over the years about how to help your returned missionary transition to post-mission life.

1. Help them remember their purpose has not changed.

Missionaries repeat their missionary purpose almost every day on their mission. It’s found on page 1 of Preach My Gospel: “Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” The truth is that this is not just a missionary’s purpose. It is the purpose of all who come to mortality. We start by helping ourselves come unto Christ through learning and living the five principles and ordinances in this purpose that constitute the doctrine of Christ. Once we are on that path, it’s our responsibility to forever help others to do the same—family members, friends, relatives, members, non-members, —everyone! This is the way that we help further our Heavenly Father’s work of “bring[ing] to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

You can testify to your returned missionary that after baptism, all of us must continue to walk this path on a regular basis. Just as baptism was the essential spiritual focus for their investigators, so the sacrament is now the essential spiritual focus for them every week.

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