Part 10 (final part) of ‘The Return of the Missionary’ Series.
For the last 6 days I have enjoyed time with some of my husbands family. We’ve done some great sightseeing around this beautiful country of New Zealand, as well as laughing and talking together. I love family time and, being so far away from most of our family at the moment, it has made me appreciate those few times we have together.
One of the added benefits of this visit has been the time I had to talk with my brother-in-law and his wife – a recently returned mission president. On one of our drives out to see some of the amazing seascapes of New Zealand, I took the opportunity to ask them what their advice would be to newly returned missionaries and their families. Their response surprised me, but made complete sense.
Preach My Gospel
As each of their departing missionaries met with them for the last time, my brother-in-law would hand them a new daily planner (your returning missionary will know what that is), and then he would invite them to review the 13 planning guidelines on pages 147-149 of the Preach My Gospel booklet.
Even tho’ those guidelines refer to a missionaries weekly planning session, and much of it focuses on investigators, baptisms, confirmations and teaching opportunities, they would discuss with the returning missionary how this kind of guideline would help them when they went home. The challenge was then given to each returning missionary to continue using this daily planner in the context of their new life; to find new meaning from something they were familiar with. Replacing the missionary focus with a focus on school, work, spiritual and social activities.
What do I think?
I love this whole concept…purely from the point of view that it allows for a smoother transition from missionary to returned missionary. This kind of planning would be so ingrained in the missionaries psyche that extending it into their new life would be a great way to make a softer shift from one life to the next. The missionary can make that transition in such a way that they can incorporate many of the things they have been doing over the last 18 months to 2 years into their new life.
Of course there would need to be a different interpretation of each guideline in terms of their new life, but that is part of the process of things; finding new meaning with the help from something that is familiar to them.
For your information, I have listed those 13 guidelines below. As parents it might well be a good idea to become familiar with them so that you can be ready to discuss this idea with your returned missionary.
- Pray for and seek inspiration
- Set goals and make plans for investigators to be baptised and confirmed in the coming week
- Set goals and make plans for investigators with a baptismal date
- Set goals and make plans to help investigators attend sacrament meeting
- Set goals and make plans for lessons to be taught to progressing investigators
- Set goals and make plans for lessons to be taught to other investigators
- Set goals and make plans to contact and teach referrals received from members, investigators, nonmembers, and church headquarters
- Set goals and make plans to seek more referrals from members, investigators, and non members
- Set goals and make plans for lessons you will teach to recent converts and less-active members
- Set goals and make plans to find new investigators
- Plan how to work with ward council
- Schedule meetings that occur regularly
- Conduct companionship inventory
What I do know is that in my final email to my missionary daughter (today), I will be suggesting she bring home an unused daily planner so that we can talk about this idea when she arrives home in 4 days time.