Wednesday, June 24, 2015


My Son came home from his mission. 

With 10 months left... he came home. He realized that there were some things that he needed to take care of... so he came home.  

On a Friday afternoon I got a call from our Stake President. He said that he needed to talk to me and my husband and could we call him together as soon as possible. I said sure, and hung up. Aaaaand then my mind started to wonder... was one of us getting a Stake calling? I had a really uneasy feeling, so I called him back and asked if he was needing to talk to ME with my Husband there or if he wanted to talk to my HUSBAND with me on the line??? He said he needed to talk to us both at the same time. I asked if my Missionary was OK, he said yes.... and then I knew...

I knew in my heart that my son was coming home, and I had no idea why.

Flight info came later that day. We were to pick him up on Monday morning. I was slammed with a cocktail of emotions...  I was proud that he was strong enough to make this right! But, I was heart-sick, I was mad... at him, at me, at everyone!!! I was excited to see him, and then felt guilty that I was excited, I felt huge guilt...where had I gone wrong as a parent??? And I was WORRIED!!! Worried about how he was feeling, worried for his Mission President, worried for his companion, worried about how our ward would treat him and worried because what the heck do you do with a 20 year old boy....ok, man, for 6 months??? 

With such short notice, I ended up being the only one in the family that could go up to the airport to pick him up. Boy, that was a looooong drive! Once at the airport, I stared down the walkway, searching each face for my son. Then I saw him... he looked tired, and humble. I hugged him long, We cried. No banners. No balloons. No pictures. But, in that moment I realized... he is still my son and I would do anything in my power to help him. I had a deep motivation to support him in every way possible! 

He has met with our Bishop on a regular basis, our Stake President has been wonderful, our Ward family has been kind and accepting. He has made it a priority to keep up on his scripture studies and attend the temple as much as possible! He was called to teach a Primary class and has given service as much as his schedule allows. He got a job and has reffed basketball games and umpired baseball games to fill up the rest of his time!

Yesterday we got THE email. The email we have been waiting for since that 6 months was up!

Early tomorrow morning I will be taking my missionary... back to the airport!!! He will return to his mission, to the people that he loves. He will be able to teach with a new strength and energy. He will be unstoppable!

Along this path we have taken, I have learned some valuable lessons! Lucky for me, I have two close friends, who have had sons in similar situations, that have held my hand and listened to me cry, scream and laugh through this whole experience!

Here are 10 things I have learned...

1- Be proud of him and let him know it! --Let the Bishop be the coach... you get to be the Cheerleader! 

2- Send out an email, or call close friends to let them know he is home and needs their support. --The most awkward part is when people see him for the first time.

3- Stand tall and walk with him into uncomfortable situations. --Walk with him into Sacrament Mtg that first time, and anywhere else that people might be judgmental... if they can see that YOU are OK, they will know that it's going to be OK!

4- Let him talk ALL about his mission experiences. --Ask tons of questions about his mission, the people, the food, the area. It is still a HUGE part of who he is!

5- It does get better --but well-meaning people can say dumb things sometimes.... love them anyways!

6- Keep him busy. --Jobs, service, callings....whatever....keep him busy!!!

7- Don't expect him to be perfect. --Just because he was a missionary doesn't mean he won't make mistakes... and you will too... cut him and yourself some slack! It's also important to know that he may not return, and it's alright!

8- Have fun. --The extra time you have is a gift! Laugh, play, enjoy having him home while you can!

9- The Priesthood does not move at the speed of Moms! In my mind, 6 months was up on May I felt he should be back in the Mission on that day... it doesn't always work out that way!

10- The Atonement is personal. --You can't compare where your missionary (or anyone for that matter) is to where another Sister or Elder is. The Atonement is big enough to cover each of us in the way that we need it to. It is a very personal thing between each of us and our Savior.

Last year my son had told me that he wanted to extend, but that they weren't approving extensions anymore.... LOOPHOLE! But, I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone.  ;)




  1. One of our sons was an early return missionary. Like you, my emotions were all over the place. It took me several months to get a hold of them. I agree that the most important thing is to love them unconditionally. That is our job! My son chose not to return. He married his eternal companion, went back to college, and has turned out to be an amazing man, husband, and father. I remember having missionaries over for dinner and in our conversation I told them my son was a early return missionary. This wise missionary told me that he probably converted the most important soul while he was out and it was himself. So true. He came back, even though it was for a short time, with an unwavering testimony. So proud of him and who he has become.

  2. Thank you a thousand times for this. We are on month two. While he has the desire and motivation to return it certainly comes with a unique set of circumstances, including the possibility that he doesn't go back. People have been so supportive and understanding but I have sometimes felt alone. Not today. My heart is so grateful.

  3. I'm so happy for him! And his family, of course. He will do fabulous! Love from the Hubers

  4. Thank you so much. We are struggling with this right now. My son feels like a failure because well meaning family expects him to just get back out there. It's tough.

  5. With all you do for the missionary mommas, I just admire you tremendously for being frank about this. What an awesome missionary your son is! You must be SO proud of him and obviously taught him so well in your home that when he recognized something amiss he desired to make it right. Super impressive. None of us are anything but mortal and it is only through Christ we can overcome that. Let's meet at the Portland temple sometime =)

  6. We tease that our son is on the 4 year missionary plan. He actually got his call 4 years ago almost to the day. A week before his farewell he decided he needed to talk to our Bishop, all on his own. It wasn't until after he had talked to him that he told us he wouldn't be able to go on his mission. But with love and counsel he prepared for a year and one year later he entered the MTC. However once he got there he realized he still needed to take care of somethings, so after being in the MTC for 10 days we got the call to go pick him up. Again he worked and prayed and prepared himself for another year. This time when he had his physical they found something that he would need to have minor surgery to correct. So he was postponed another 3 months. He comes home in February. I couldn't be prouder of him and his example. When I asked him why he wanted to go back out, he was 21 by this time, he said he knew the joy that comes from the Atonement and wanted others to know it too. He has learned some great things and can see the Lord's hand in what has transpired. So happy for your son and his decision to make things right. He will be a better missionary for it. Way to go mom!

  7. Your post made me immediately think of how the Savior will treat us when we come home and have some things that we need to resolve. He will throw his arms around us and cry with us. You have shown your son (and all of us) the love that the Savior show us all of the time.

  8. I am just beginning to understand the true enabling power that comes through the Atonement. For a young missionary to have experienced its power already is truly a blessing. I hope that I can be as much of an example and support to my own children through their trials and adversity.

  9. Thank you for sharing- this experience is so new and there is no "manual" on how to handle it. I love my boy more than anything and I know that he will listen to the spirits promptings and be able to make the best decision for him, not the bishop, not the well meaning members on Sunday, but him

  10. Heidi, that is really incredible! Thank you so much for sharing this. My son's first trainee went home after 5 1/2 weeks. We pray for him everyday. My son emails him each week and so do I. This just gives me so much hope for him. Thank you.

  11. What a powerful piece you have written. The part about no banner, no balloons, no pictures resonated with me. My son came home after a short time for anxiety/depression. There was no fanfare, but there were tears and hugs and love and yes, there were awkward situations. Fortunately people were very kind and supportive. It's so hard to be the cheerleader all the time, but that's what works! My son chose not to return and while that was hard for me as a mom, I know it is what was right for him. He's now sealed to his beautiful wife. Life moves forward and is still good. I think that if more people would talk about this, there would be less 'stigma' attached to these early returning missionaries. Bless them all for their service, long or short. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  12. Loved, loved, loved this. It gives me such hope for my son's companion that went home a few weeks ago. Thank you so much for your insights.

  13. I love your statement to let the bishop be the coach and you be the cheerleader. As moms, that is probably the hardest thing to do. In this situation it is probably the best thing to do to help your child become stronger. It is definitely a more supportive position to take, even though it is difficult for a mom to let someone else counsel their child. Kudos to you and your son.

  14. Hey don't forget out missionary dads we too are emotionally connected in all this.
    Appreciate your story , faith and endurance while this all took place.
    We experienced something similar in my son came clean with things prior to his mission.
    He's now had to got through some repentance and as blessed his life accordingly including our first grandson Joseph & his beautiful wife Leiliane from São Paulo Brazil where he served. God bless all our missionaries in the field & those home now. I'll close with quoting don't forget RM doesn't mean ( retired Mormon ) ❤️��������������������

  15. Thank you so much for this. It will soon be a year since our son went on his mission. We got the call in February of this year that our son was coming home. We went through many of those same emotions you spoke of and tried to find our way through this process. While our son has made the choice not to return and is in fact turning away from the church all together, we cannot lose hope for him and know that through the Atonement he can be healed and find his way back. Thank you!

  16. This is so similar to our story, and boy, does this dredge up painful memories...but there was so much good, too. My son came home after serving four months, and was home for seven. It was such a struggle, but somehow, as He always does, the Lord turned it into something beautiful. He had promised his President he'd come back, and he wanted to be a man of his word. When he returned, he was more committed, faithful, and on fire to share the gospel. The maturity he gained has helped him to be ready right away for his President to use him to lead and train. He has been able to reach the hearts of investigators because of the lessons he's learned, and because he understands where they've been, in ways that other missionaries may not have been able to. He now only has four months, even after the 2 1/2 year plan ;) Your son has such wonderful months ahead, and he won't regret a minute of them.

  17. Absolute love and such a great example. He wil be such a strong missionary going back out! I can just imagine the empathy he will have a true understanding of the repentance process and the atonement. We have all been blessed by your sharing this Heidi.I learn so much from all of you and I am so grateful my sweet daughter found this for me before she left. She was truly inspired. I can't believe she will be home Tuesday! Love all of you moms and what you teach me every day!

  18. I love this artcile, thanks for sharing. Our son came home early do to a physical problem after 6 months out and decided not to return. His 6 months just recently came and went and while I held on to hope he would return he stuck with his decision to not. A roller coaster of emotions is as close of a description as I can describe it. I am thankful for those who have experienced the same thing and share it so I know we are not alone. I pray for all those who are going through this and are at different stages. It really can be tough.

  19. You have such a great way with words! Thank you for sharing this. And for all you do for us mommas. My son was his most recent companion, and he absolutely loved serving with him! He was so sad to have him transferred at the last transfer. You have raised a wonderful son, and he has made a huge difference in my son's life. Thank you! You never know how far reaching your love and teachings to your children go. But just know you can be so proud of him. He is a blessing to many!!

  20. I love that you wrote this article; I love the beautiful responses that I have read to it; I love that I have been able to connect with missionary mums across the globe as my daughter serves her mission. There is a beautiful message in this for me, personally; that I can now feel at peace with. Not long after I joined the church in 1978 I was called as a Stake Missionary and assigned to be the fourth companion in a three way with full time missionaries. I absolutely loved it, many times I was senior comp and because I knew ALL six of the discussion, was fully engaged with teaching. For most of the 18 mths I served 30 hrs a week alongside my full time job; it meant no socialising etc. but that didn't matter because for me, I was preparing to serve my own full time mission - which I never did. A young man proposed to me and told everyone that we were going to marry - my desire to go on a mission was unfulfilled because of bad advice and so I married; divorcing a few years later. I always felt that I had failed the Lord by not going but reading your comments I realise that it doesn't matter how long for, or where we go - the fact that we willingly share of ourselves to the best of our ability really is enough. Yes, how wonderful when we can do the full distance but it doesn't diminish in anyway if our finish line is shorter or takes a variation in its course. The Lord tells a beautiful analogy of serving in the field, some for a long time, some come later, some just before the end - but they all receive the same reward - now I understand more fully that the Lord accepts us for what we, ourselves, can give. The widow's mites were no less acceptable than those of the rich pharisees. Sorry to talk about myself but this really means a lot to me. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Thank you for sharing your story. My daughter just came home 3 weeks ago after sErving exactly 3 months in the mission field. While she absolutely LOVE her mission, sever anxiety and depression over took her ability to stay out. It's been hard seeing her miss her mission and want to still be out, but we are supporing her as well as our ward. I don't know if she will go out again, and it's ok if she doesn't, because she has served an honorable mission and she had so many great experiences in the short 3 months she was out, that I know she has grown so much. We are just trying to get her the medical help she needs and we still love her. These missionaries who return home early just need our unconditional love and support. It's ok that they don't serve the full time, the Lord doesn't love them any less and either should we.

  22. I have worked with a lot of Missionaries in the past and they had come to me and their Mission Pres. and said that they came on a mission because their parents would say they their brother or sister went so they needed to go. The Mission Pres and I would let them know that they needed to go on a Mission because in their hearts, Heavenly Father had a plan for them, not go because it was excepted of them. A lot of times their mission for Heavenly Father is at home. Thank you for sharing.