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The following was written by Ganel-Lyn Condie. To read the full article, click here.
Cover image via LDS.org.
Recently, a friend reached out to me for some advice. Her daughter has received a mission call, but the guessing and celebrating long passed, excitement has given way to worry for this dear mom. And she’s not alone. Her missionary is also struggling with anxieties and doubts—feelings that seem to affect all newly called missionaries.
Each missionary’s story is unique. Some have battled anxiety and depression in the past. Others have worked hard to face addictions and overcome health obstacles so they can open that white envelope from Salt Lake City. No matter the journey leading up to receiving a call, there is another long trek before one finally reaches the mission field. And that trek can be one of unexpected anxiety, stress, and uncertainty amid the highly anticipated joy.
Of course, there are the obvious things that have to be addressed after receiving a call, including questions about luggage, clothing, and visas. But underneath all of your planning and packing, other reservations and difficulties can start to surface during the time between receiving a call and leaving for the MTC. What is a normal amount of doubt? Why does it feel like the minute a call is opened, Satan starts kicking down the door? Those are very real issues—ones no one seems to talk about. We freely ask, “When are you submitting your papers?” “Where are going to be serving?” or “When do you leave?” But we tend to gloss over the emotional, mental, and spiritual opposition that hits missionaries before they leave, leaving many future sisters and elders feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.
Parents aren’t exempt from the struggles that this waiting time creates. I remember after our son opened his call to Zimbabwe, we were overcome with joy—grateful the day had finally arrived! But on that August evening, in the midst of our joy, came the sudden realization that Cameron wasn’t leaving until December! What were we going to do to help keep the Spirit in our home, support our son, and protect him from the fiery darts the adversary loves to shoot at future warriors?
I don’t have all the answers, but after teaching mission prep for many years and saying goodbye to a lot of amazing young people, I have learned a few things that may help.
To read the full article, click here.