August 17, 2014

returned missionary

It's hard to ever imagine actually claiming this status, a returned missionary. RM. (To read more about the best 18 months for my life, read Here)
Well, that's me. It's been a month. A month since I had to take off that nametag, ditch the skirts. I'm allowed to take a siesta. I don't HAVE to exercise every day.

Being home is nice....there's food, hot shower, a washer and dryer. But the truth is, I find myself wanted to go take a little bike ride. I want to read my scriptures (in spanish of course). It's awkward to pray in english. Going to church without calling anyone or picking anyone up just seems too easy.

Why is there not an MTC for RM's??!! We have to reintegrate back into society. I know after 18 months, we change. The world has changed too. And coming back, our before life and who we are now don't completely fit together. I think this is how it is meant to be. God wants us to change, to be more converted. This means that our desires and actions have changed also. (Definitely doesn't apply to my love for cookie dough and my bed and things like that). I don't have so much in common with some friends that I did before. Other things don't interest me so much. Maybe I'm a boring old lady? Maybe. Or maybe I would rather look at my 2500+ pictures. And eat an alfajore. And trade mission stories of being attacked, robbed, crazy people that there are in the world, and miracles that we have seen. You can't just "let go" or "separate" the most influential 18 months of your life. It is part of my life now.
Russell T. Osguthorpe, Sunday School general president, October 2012 general conference
Every (fresh) RM needs to have a purpose. A schedule. Some things that have been beneficial for me are....

+ Reading and praying every single day. Don't ditch the most basic and most important things first. You taught this for years, now live it.
+ Stay connected on FB. cool is that to talk with people clear around the world. You don't have the nametag and calling, but you can still invite people, check up on their progress, and motivate them to continue faithful in the gospel.
+ Eat food. I mean, eat Argentine food. Or whatever kind it may be. I am still loving my dulce de leche. It's fun to find recipes, try cooking, find little bakeries or restaurants. Keep the culture. Drink mate.
+ Go to the temple. I didn't have the opportunity to go for more than a year, so hey, better take advantage of it now. It's service, but also to help us stay focused and keep the influence of the spirit. (I actually received a call from the temple, the day I got home, before I was even bishop had submitted my name to work in the temple. Talk about on the ball...)
+ Keep a schedule...mas o menos. Sleeping is nice, but my body wakes up by 7 every day. (I shouldn't complain, this will be good when school starts) Do things during the day. Go to walmart. Be inspired by pinterest. Make cookies. Clean your clothes closet. Ya know, something to occupy your time and have purpose. 
+ Write missionary letters. Yes sounds so cheesy...but finally I have time to write to missionaries/comps:)  know what you like to hear in letters, what helps, etc.

It's a funny time of life. It's a transition. You don't have to conform to the life of others. You just have to get over all the wedding announcements and baby pictures on facebook. You don't have to be interested in everything that you did before. People will continue asking when you are getting married. People will not understand your need to carry around a planner. Unless someone has served a mission, they just don't quite know what it's like to come home.
Here  is a lovely talk for returned missionaries.
As I look back on my life following my mission, I realize that there were periods when I was able to maintain the same closeness to the Lord that I experienced in the mission field. There were also periods when the world seemed to creep in and I was less consistent and faithful with my prayers.
Wouldn’t this be a good time for a little self-evaluation to determine if we still have the same relationship with our Father in Heaven that we enjoyed in the mission field? If the world has diverted us from the practice of prayer, we then have lost a great spiritual power. Maybe it is time that we rekindle our missionary spirit through more frequent, consistent, and mighty prayer.
There has never been a time in the history of mankind when we have been better equipped to teach the gospel to our Father in Heaven’s children here on earth. And they seem to need it more today than they ever have. We see a deterioration of faith. We see an increased love for worldliness and a depletion of moral values, both of which will cause increased heartache and despair. What we need is a royal army of returned missionaries reenlisted into service. While they would not wear the badge of a full-time missionary, they could possess the same resolve and determination to bring the light of the gospel to a world struggling to find its way.
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. I pray for your renewed determination to proclaim the gospel that you may become more actively engaged in this great work the Lord has called all of us to do. I want to promise you there are great blessings in store for you if you continue to press forward with the zeal you once possessed as a full-time missionary.  (Elder L. Tom Perry)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will grow and become strengthened, not from an increased number of convert baptisms, but from a number of converted returned missionaries. Heavenly Father is calling his children to not only serve for a year or two, but to return more converted to Christ with a greater understanding of what the purpose of life is, that the gospel is the plan God has created. 
Now I am one of them. An RM. We have so much to do, and where much is given, much is required.

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