Thank you, Joni, for this very insightful article on missionary service! I guess I never really thought about it, but - following my mission - I did much better in school, at work, and I was much more comfortable in social settings than before my mission. I tried reconnecting with some of my friends who did not serve missions (and eventually drifted away from the church) only to find that - as you described - we were on a different plane in almost every arena of life. They wanted to pick up where we left off just out of high school and I was ready for more responsibility. Sadly, we drifted apart, but I was able to forge new friendships with those who had like goals. It's been nearly 40 years since I returned from my mission and I never once felt like it was a sacrifice - rather, it boosted my life to a level I never thought possible.
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