When Coronavirus Sent the Missionaries Home

By Emily Milner

Five months ago, almost to the day, I wrote about my son’s missionary service:

I want to wrap myself in this newborn missionary Spirit right now, knowing that in a few weeks or months my son may be sick, or discouraged, or exhausted, and I might get mad at God and whoever assigned him to this mission. He may need to come home early because of illness or depression. I might be upset or frustrated and tempted to be bitter.

But this is my prayer: may this Spirit be an anchor to my soul, grounding me in the truth of my son’s mission and in the power of the restored Gospel he will preach.

That line. Such understatement, and I didn’t even know. He may need to come home early because of illness.

My joyful missionary son now quarantines in my basement corner. A month ago we cleaned out his bedroom for my father-in-law to move back in, so he doesn’t have his room back. He studies Cebuano on the mattress we bought as soon as we found out, really and truly and we-are-not-kidding, that the Filipino government ordered all foreigners to leave within 72 hours.

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The Lost Percent. Early Returning Missionaries.

I got a text message yesterday asking for prayers for my friend’s missionary daughter. She is having some cognitive dissonance about the church and some doctrines and my friend is in a panic. My friend texted that her daughter’s position is “a difficult and dangerous spot for a missionary.” She’s worried. Her daughter is having …

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Hello? Hello! We Thank Thee Oh God For A Prophet!

By Michelle Lehnardt

Years ago, I worked as an aerobics instructor at the Deseret Gym in downtown Salt Lake City. Now, if you know me well, you’ll find that slightly hilarious because I have no sense of rhythm, struggle with left and right and I’m an awkward dancer. Running was invented so people like me could feel like …

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CHANGE: As the church makes adjustments, can we keep up?

By Michelle Lehnardt

Before I hit publish on this post, I clicked over to www.mormonnewsroom.org to make sure I didn’t miss some big announcement this morning. It can be hard to keep up. You know what I’m talking about. The church is changing as rapidly as my garden in spring: sticklike branches budding with leaves overnight, fresh green tendrils …

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Mission calls: it’s about bringing people to Christ, not the geography

By Michelle Lehnardt


Rachel bounded to the front of the chapel and nearly skipped to the podium. Leaning close to the mic she said, “I have the most fantastic news ever! I’ve just been called to the Detroit, Michigan mission.” She raised both hands in the air in a victory pose, “And I am SO EXCITED. I can’t wait to serve the people of Michigan and I can’t wait to testify of Jesus Christ. I know I’ve been called there for a reason, I know the Lord loves me and I can’t wait to tell everyone how much He loves them too.” With a fist punch, she left the podium and returned to her seat. We live in a pretty reserved ward, but I’m sure I heard a few “Hallelujahs” as she walked down the aisle.

Despite Rachel’s enthusiasm, she later told me many people expressed sympathy about her call– “Detroit? Really? I’m so sorry.”

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Surprise: you can go on a mission earlier, but you might be judged if you don’t

By Michelle Lehnardt

EI3C7208copy_zpsbd0bc077In a conversation with two friends, one mother excitedly described the girl her 23 year old son was currently dating– accomplished, lovely, the most incredible testimony… “But,” the other woman interrupted, “she didn’t serve a mission, did she?”

“No,” my friend answered, “she prayed about the decision many times but never felt like it was right for her.”

“I’m not saying she’s not a nice girl,” the friend replied, “but she’d be much more impressive if she’d served a mission.”

I’m fairly sure steam erupted from my ears; I know my face flushed with heat as I entered the conversation, but I tried to measure my words,  “You’re not serious?  Prophets instruct our girls to rely on personal revelation. I’m proud of every girl who serves and every girl who follows a prompting to follow a different path.”

“But you have to admit,” she persisted, “these returned missionaries will make much better wives and mothers. They’ll be more prepared to serve in the church.”

“You know I didn’t go on a mission.” I reminded her.

“Sure. But times were different then. With the age change, no girl has an excuse not to serve.”

And that was the moment I knew had to walk away before I exploded in anger.


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I Hope They Don’t Call Him on a Mission

By Kellie Purcill

P and Elder N
Patrick with Elder Nielson, the first missionary he ever met, 1998.

In the greater Brisbane (Australia) city area, if there is a news report of a stabbing, armed robbery, police car chase or drug-related arrest, chances are it’s in the southern suburb of Logan. So, obviously, that’s where my sixteen year old son was called to serve for a week on his “mini-mission”.

Cue parental heart attack, anxieties and worry.

I dropped him off one Saturday morning to the missionary flat, where two elders came out to the car to help with his bike, his suitcase, backpack and groceries. A final “Bye Mum, love you” tossed over his shoulder and I was driving back home, an hour north of where I’d just abandoned my firstborn to the cruel uncaring world. The entire way home I was praying – pleading – with God to make sure Patrick would be well, and happy, and gain something positive out of his mini-mission (and not be mugged, or hurt, or…)

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Ward Envy – Part II

By Kathryn Paul

Beata and Kathryn
Beata and Kathryn

“It seems like the more we try to live the gospel, the more trials we have.  Why ?”  I will never forget Beata’s question while I was studying in Poland last summer.  Dr. Whipple and I gave our best Sunday School answers, but our words felt empty and our hearts ached for her pain. My mind went back to the year when three eight–year-old children got diagnosed with cancer, all from the most faithful families in our ward.  It frightened us. Why did it seem like these families were being punished for their righteousness.  Why?   Beata’s question was not unique, but there aren’t easy answers in any language…

 All year I have prayed for Beata, her husband Cezary, and the missionaries assigned to the tiny Lublin branch in Poland.  I received a brief thank-you note from Beata after Christmas, but I had no idea how they were really doing.  I hoped my prayers were being answered in some small way. 

This summer I returned to Poland. Beata stood to bear her testimony.  A young missionary leaned back  and whispered, “Beata asked me to translate for you. She doesn’t want you to miss a single word…”   

Beata told us that last year was horrible. Every month their trials would just get worse. Her husband lost his job and ended up in the hospital. She tried to have faith, but by December she had lost all hope. She  still believed in God, but she didn’t believe that God loved Beata. She hit her lowest moment of despair on the morning of Christmas Eve.  They had no money and no food, but she had invited eight missionaries for Christmas Eve dinner. 

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