December 13, 2017
It goes by in a blink. One minute you’re hugging your family goodbye, wiping your proud mother’s tears away with your thumb, and the next, you’re back — walking into the same airport you left, once again wiping away tears, but this time they’re your own.
A returned missionary is a unique individual. For 18 to 24 months, they lived their lives in a structured, scheduled manner, so returning home can be a different experience than they’re used to.
After returning home from my mission in Australia, a few questions kept ringing in my head: “How can I keep the healthy habits I learned on my mission?” “What should I do next?” “What goals do I have now?”
After I became involved with a gospel-centered higher education program, many of those questions were answered. Here are three things PathwayConnect helped me accomplish after my mission.
1. Improved Communication with Others
The PathwayConnect program helps returned missionaries rekindle their love for spiritual interaction.
From day one, missionaries are communicating with others nonstop. If they have a question, need emotional support, or just want somebody to talk to, they have their companion, who usually isn’t much further than arm’s-reach. Constant interaction with others makes communication an important aspect of missionary service.
In Australia, I learned how important communication is. Each child of God is completely unique and has their own needs and concerns. Because of this, we all require encouragement, love, and support.
There is no better place to give or receive those things than the PathwayConnect gathering. Through PathwayConnect, I can still interact and learn from others in a wholesome, spiritual environment, just like I did on my mission.
2. Constant Companionship of the Spirit
Participating in PathwayConnect’s gospel-centered curriculum will help keep a returned missionary’s spiritual fire burning.
With millions of members praying for them everyday, missionaries are constantly encompassed by the Spirit. Reading scriptures, doing service, and living life at a higher standard makes that feeling burn even stronger.
Missionaries might experience a sudden change in their spirituality upon returning home. The presence of the Spirit never leaves them, but a sudden change of purpose might make them miss the spiritual-filled lifestyle of their mission.
PathwayConnect taught me how to invite the Spirit into every aspect of my education
By participating in PathwayConnect, students learn to keep the commandments God has given them, helping to invite the Comforter into their life.
As a student before my mission, I remember praying before my tests for the Spirit to help me, but prayer didn’t play as large of a role during my studying process. PathwayConnect taught me how to invite the Spirit into every aspect of my education in a way that I have never experienced.
3. Continued Gospel Education
PathwayConnect’s homework and study activities helped rekindle those uplifting, spiritual feelings I had while studying the gospel on my mission.
The moment their alarm rings, missionaries wake up, exercise, and begin their studies. Many missionaries feel that this is the most important part of the day, as their studies primarily consist of scriptures and lessons they plan on teaching their investigators later on.
It might be difficult to keep those study habits after returning home, however. Distractions of daily life such as work, school, or social interactions can change their structured schedule.
Daily scripture reading and gospel study assignments in PathwayConnect made sticking to those healthy habits much easier for me.
The study skills I learned on my mission helped me be successful in PathwayConnect. I found that by following a similar study structure from my mission, the gatherings I led in PathwayConnect were well prepared, prompted thought, and encouraged open discussion.
Preparing for the Future
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members are blessed to have such dedicated, selfless young men and women who give part of their lives to preaching the gospel. Although returning home can be difficult, missionaries can still experience a smooth transition.
PathwayConnect provides many resources that help returned missionaries continue their spiritual and temporal education. Returned missionaries are now pre-approved for enrollment in PathwayConnect, which makes the transition even easier. Through PathwayConnect, they’ll be able to polish the skills they learned on their mission and prepare themselves for the future.
Do you know any returned missionaries who could benefit from PathwayConnect? Visit byupathway.lds.org for more information!