Transitioning for senior missionaries: Do we have to go home?

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  • wer South Jordan, UT
    April 16, 2013 11:05 p.m.

    I appreciate the quote from Sister who said, in effect, that free time after a mission seems "wasteful". After my wife and I came to Utah after our mission (we left from Las Vegas to our mission), the feelings of missing so many people we had to come to know, serve and love made our time here seem somewhat empty, by comparison.

    This is not to indicate anything negative, just that we had powerful, life changing expereinces for 18 months. A few months ago, I wrote friends who were serving in Africa that I felt they were doing more good in one day than we were doing in several weeks here.

    And like others, while we missed family events, our mission helped bless our family more than by being here. In addition, we returned with far more in savings than we had before we left.

    Our mission was the most important thing we have done as a couple outside of raising our children.

  • alert Payson, Utah
    April 16, 2013 7:05 a.m.

    With just a little over 3 months left on our fifth mission and know the feelings experienced when getting ready to return to civilian life. There are many ways to serve at home, but it is not the same as the mission field. We met wonderful members, young missionaries, senior couples, office couples, mission presidents, and non-members. In each mission we managed to stay in touch with at least a few of these people. They touched us for good and we believe we may have done the same for them. Special for us was serving 3 times in the same city and seeing the branch members grow and mature in the gospel. These missions include some of the hottest and coldest places on earth. God helped us to adjust,adapt and get used to as needed. We were blessed and our family blessed. We saved more money on a mission than at home. These are very precious memories for us never to be forgotten. We have a greater appreciation for blessings and God's tender mercies. We learned what little we can get by on. Our experience is if you can afford to retire you can afford a mission.

  • Dave in AZ Snowflake, AZ
    April 16, 2013 12:47 a.m.

    My wife and I planned to go on a mission when the time came, but she came down with an affiction that turned our plans upside down. 7 years later she needs 24 hour care as she struggles to get through each day. We told the kids that we are on our mission, it's just at home, as all the kids and the grand-kids have prayed that grandma would get better. We have felt those prayers and also the prayers of many friends, both known and unknown to us, as many small blessings have come our way. (Tender mercies, they are called!)
    We have noticed a quite and reverant change in various kids and grand-kids. Who says you can't serve at home as well as abroad?! We are doing our best to brighten someone's day, each day that we are blessed to be together.
    So, go and serve with gusto(!) you senior couples and you will bless others no matter where you are! And come home and serve some more! helping others is the best feeling one can have. I know, I serve my wife 24/7.

  • Larry Lawton Wan Chai, Hong Kong
    April 15, 2013 12:07 p.m.

    Well, we're home from Hong Kong now. The only way we could function without tearing up (at the end of both of our senior missions) was to focus on what we were coming home to, not on the loved ones we're leaving.
    Our life here is as filled as it was when we were serving in the Asia Area Office, serving in an English-speaking branch and serving one night a week in the Hong Kong temple -- but it is not nearly as rewarding.

  • loiskay Vancouver, WA
    April 15, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    After my husband and I returned from serving a mission in the Canada Toronto East Mission we got involved in serving in our neighborhood assn. and a local cemetery assn. as well as making fleece laprobes for veterans and senior care centers. After we bought a mobile home in Arizona and became snowbirds, we volunteered ourselves to do a 6-month mission at Deseret Industries. There is life after serving a full time mission!

  • oddman ,
    April 15, 2013 10:05 a.m.

    We are currently serving and realize the $400 per month per missionary doesn't begin to cover the real costs of serving a mission. The church subsidizes travel, rent, transportation and zone and mission conferences. Whatever it costs is worth the sacrifice as the blessings of being away from tv, zoning out and other wasteful nonactivities is healthy and brings untold joy into the lives of us, otherwise, underutilized resources.

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 15, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    One way that might encourage even more senior missionaries is to normalize their monthly expenses much like the full-time missionaries. A full-time missionary companionship pay $800, yet for seniors it is $1,400. Does it really cost $600 more for a married couple than a missionary companionship?

    Something to possibly consider. I believe the number of seniors going would increase dramatically.

  • Susan Roylance
    April 15, 2013 9:12 a.m.

    If you are a returned senior missionary, living in Salt Lake Valley, there is a desperate need for help in our refugee Branch, the Columbus Branch. We work with the refugees from Burma, coming in from Thailand refugee camps. We have over 300 members in our Branch, but none of them have ever gone to a normal LDS Ward, and they need lots of fellowshipping help. My husband works with 50 boy scouts (32 are going to the National Jamboree this year), and he is also the First Counselor in the Branch Presidency. We need help. If you are living here, and now available, please look us up!

  • Casey See FLOWER MOUND, TX
    April 15, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    My parents are living on a fixed income and have served four missions. While their home is paid for, they don't have much else except for their SS benefits. Yet each time they went out on a mission, they came home with a little bit more in savings than when they left. The Lord blesses those who do serve. Because most of their grand-kids live in states other than their own, we haven't missed them much more than normal as we were typically seeing them once a year anyways. All four missions were out of the country so the year visits became 18 month spans between visits. But we still kept in-touch with emails, phone calls (Vonage and other VOiP products) make this very inexpensive to call even monthly or more often if necessary, which seniors are allowed to do.

    So don't let the supposed lack of finance stop you. With the church capping the maximum seniors have to pay, this becomes even less of a burden.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    April 15, 2013 7:44 a.m.

    Wonderful stories and I hope that my spouse and I will one day so serve.

    The changing nature of retirement in the US, a dearth of pensions, and lower yields on IRAs could put more financial pressure on future couples seeking to serve. Also, as folks work longer and retirement comes later, health may be more of an issue.