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My Elder son has been serving in a "temporary assignment" for about 10 months after being evacuated from his original mission last Spring because of Covid. So...everyone in his MTC district, who were also reassigned, has now returned to the original mission. He's feeling overlooked and left out, because he's the only one who hasn't. His mission president told him that this new one is now his "permanent" assignment, but I don't know why he said that or if he is the one who decides. If this were anything other than the church, I would advocate for my kid and make sure they're treating him fairly. But, with the mission, do we just accept it on faith and endure to the end of the mission? And trust what the leaders are doing? It just doesn't seem right. He sees all of his missionary friends reuniting in the original field and posting on Facebook how happy they are to be back. What would you do? Who can I talk to?

Edited by Comp

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Let your son know that he was called as a missionary to represent Jesus Christ, and was originally assigned to a particular mission. He was later reassigned to another mission. His MTC district peers have apparently been re-reassigned back to their original assignment. Bully for them. That doesn't really mean anything. He is at the disposal of the Lord and the Lord's servants, and is called to serve wherever he is assigned.

Now I'm not heartless. I know how your son feels, and I completely sympathize with him. But if your son could truly and deeply understand that where he serves is irrelevant, as it is at the discretion of his leaders, and that how he serves is literally the only thing that matters, I think it would help him get past feeling left out. There is a General Conference talk delivered in the last few years that talks specifically about this. I can't find it on a quick search, but maybe some helpful soul here at 3H will help me out and post a link.

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Please note that the first sentence is a call to serve as a full-time missionary in the Lord’s restored Church. The second sentence indicates an assignment to labor in a specific place and mission. The important distinction expressed in these two sentences is essential for all of us to understand.

In the culture of the Church, we often talk of being called to serve in a country such as Argentina, Poland, Korea, or the United States. But a missionary is not called to a place; rather, he or she is called to serve....

I recently spoke with a faithful man who shared with me the deepest feelings of his heart. In a meeting, I had just explained the difference between being called to the work and assigned to labor. This good brother shook my hand and with tears in his eyes said to me, “The things you helped me learn today have lifted a burden from my shoulders that I have carried for more than 30 years. As a young missionary, I was initially assigned to a field of labor in South America. But I was unable to obtain a visa, so my assignment was changed to the United States. All these years I have wondered why I was unable to serve in the place to which I had been called. Now I know I was called to the work and not to a place. I cannot tell you how much this understanding has helped me.”

David A. Bednar, "Called to the Work" (Salt Lake City, Utah, April 1, 2017)

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Thank you for that talk! I will send it to him. 

I think what is the hardest right now is not knowing why. In the story you shared, he couldn't get a Visa, so he knew why he couldn't go. My son accepted his reassignment willingly, because covid was the reason. But when there's no reason? It's hard.

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I would suggest he shift his thinking. It could be that he'll have better comps, more positive experiences, enjoy the area more, etc in his new assignment. The sooner he looks at this as an opportunity, the better off he'll be. Besides, the grass is not always greener after all.

Let me also add that the coming years may very well require adaptability in various ways so this is a chance to flex his ability to be flexible. It could really help him in the long run!!

 

Edited by Manners Matter

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On 3/26/2021 at 5:41 PM, Vort said:

Now I'm not heartless. I know how your son feels, and I completely sympathize with him.

Thank you. I was mostly looking for sympathy when posting about this, and I appreciate getting a little.

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20 hours ago, Manners Matter said:

I would suggest he shift his thinking. It could be that he'll have better comps, more positive experiences, enjoy the area more, etc in his new assignment. The sooner he looks at this as an opportunity, the better off he'll be. Besides, the grass is not always greener after all.

Let me also add that the coming years may very well require adaptability in various ways so this is a chance to flex his ability to be flexible. It could really help him in the long run!!

 

Thank you for your positivity. We are praying for him all the time and hoping that he will see it this way. Unfortunately, the new assignment has been worse in every way except the standard of living. He has been grateful for that.

He became depressed in his new area during strict isolating rules, and he says they insisted he get counselling. He was put on anti-depressants. I don't know if that puts him in a position of ineligibility or not, but he wasn't depressed before the reassignment.

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On 4/1/2021 at 6:15 PM, Comp said:

Thank you for your positivity. We are praying for him all the time and hoping that he will see it this way. Unfortunately, the new assignment has been worse in every way except the standard of living. He has been grateful for that.

He became depressed in his new area during strict isolating rules, and he says they insisted he get counselling. He was put on anti-depressants. I don't know if that puts him in a position of ineligibility or not, but he wasn't depressed before the reassignment.

That actually can have a pretty large effect on whether they get assigned to certain locations or not. 

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On 4/8/2021 at 2:44 AM, JohnsonJones said:

That actually can have a pretty large effect on whether they get assigned to certain locations or not. 

Well, shoot. That sheds light on the subject, but it's so devastating for us.

This is an advice forum. It doesn't seem to get much traffic, but maybe someone will have advice for me. I'm really struggling. Not at all with my testimony but with trusting the missionary program/administration. I have 5 more boys to go (possibly my daughter will go, too). The next one just got his call and is super excited. I am not. I'm struggling with feelings of betrayal and bitterness. I cry and cry almost every day.

This is an honest question and does not come from a place of bitterness. Is it weird that no one contacted me about my son getting counselling and being medicated for depression? I know he's an adult, but we sent him out and entrusted him to "the mission." Is it normal to not have any communication with a mission president at all, ever? I don't even know his name.

Anyway, he wants to come home now. I don't want him living in my house, and I'm not absolving him of his own part in it. But it's so hard not to have a bitter taste in my mouth. I wonder if my kids will be better off going to college instead of on a mission, because it didn't turn out well this time and I'm scared to do it again.

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10 minutes ago, Comp said:

Well, shoot. That sheds light on the subject, but it's so devastating for us.

This is an advice forum. It doesn't seem to get much traffic, but maybe someone will have advice for me. I'm really struggling. Not at all with my testimony but with trusting the missionary program/administration. I have 5 more boys to go (possibly my daughter will go, too). The next one just got his call and is super excited. I am not. I'm struggling with feelings of betrayal and bitterness. I cry and cry almost every day.

Friend, your son was not called to go see the world and gain valuable personal experience sure to result in endless entertaining anecdotes and sacrament meeting talk fodder for the rest of his life. Your son was called by an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ to be Christ's representative to a dying world—to preach the Good News of his atonement, which brings us redemption, salvation, and even eternal life. I really think that both you and he are focusing on the wrong things.

Again, I'm not without sympathy. But at some point, a man who would follow the Good Shepherd has to drop his preconceptions and personal demands, and simply kneel in submission before Christ.

I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, over mountain, or plain, or sea.
I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord; I'll be what you want me to be.

10 minutes ago, Comp said:

This is an honest question and does not come from a place of bitterness. Is it weird that no one contacted me about my son getting counselling and being medicated for depression? I know he's an adult, but we sent him out and entrusted him to "the mission." Is it normal to not have any communication with a mission president at all, ever? I don't even know his name.

The lack of contact from your stake president about your son's emotional condition seems strange to me. You might consider having a serious conversation with your stake president to find out what's going on there.

As for communication with the mission president, that occasionally occurs when a missionary is having trouble, but in general it does not. I don't believe my parents ever spoke with any of my three mission presidents at any time.

10 minutes ago, Comp said:

Anyway, he wants to come home now. I don't want him living in my house, and I'm not absolving him of his own part in it. But it's so hard not to have a bitter taste in my mouth. I wonder if my kids will be better off going to college instead of on a mission, because it didn't turn out well this time and I'm scared to do it again.

I have been where you are now. In the end, your son needs to know that it's his decision and that you will support and love him in any case. But your son probably needs to hear your encouragement and your faith that things will turn out for the best.

Let me get a little bit personal here. My three oldest sons have all served missions, two domestically and one in a distant country. Unlike their father, who loved his mission and breezed through it largely untouched by anything really bad (and, perhaps not coincidentally, largely ineffective in preaching the gospel), all three of those sons had real struggles. All three seriously considered coming home. One even received medication and counseling for depression while in the field. All three ended up staying, even the one whose mission president unfairly and wrongly misjudged his character—and, to be fair, who apologized to his face when he finished his mission. I think that none of the three looks back on his mission with fondness as a fun or exciting experience, but all three look back with satisfaction at the good work they accomplished and the lives they helped, both of their investigators and of their companions. I believe all three are grateful for their experiences, even though it cost them tens of thousands of their own dollars and put them two years behind in their educational and professional efforts.

From the experiences of my sons, I have become convinced that it's entirely possible to struggle during your mission, to have hard and even traumatic experiences, to have to grit your teeth and endure much of the time, and still come off your mission a better, stronger, more whole man than you were when you went out.

For what it's worth.

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12 minutes ago, Comp said:

Well, shoot. That sheds light on the subject, but it's so devastating for us.

This is an advice forum. It doesn't seem to get much traffic, but maybe someone will have advice for me. I'm really struggling. Not at all with my testimony but with trusting the missionary program/administration. I have 5 more boys to go (possibly my daughter will go, too). The next one just got his call and is super excited. I am not. I'm struggling with feelings of betrayal and bitterness. I cry and cry almost every day.

This is an honest question and does not come from a place of bitterness. Is it weird that no one contacted me about my son getting counselling and being medicated for depression? I know he's an adult, but we sent him out and entrusted him to "the mission." Is it normal to not have any communication with a mission president at all, ever? I don't even know his name.

Anyway, he wants to come home now. I don't want him living in my house, and I'm not absolving him of his own part in it. But it's so hard not to have a bitter taste in my mouth. I wonder if my kids will be better off going to college instead of on a mission, because it didn't turn out well this time and I'm scared to do it again.

Hi mama, I'm sorry to hear about the troubles you and your son have been going through.

So, we got a few things going on:

- Not being transferred to the "original" mission assignment.  Yeah, that is a major rainy-day.  COVID sucks.  There could be a million reasons for how things are going the way they are, lots of it not related directly to your son himself-- stuff like covid restrictions, visa complications, etc.   It's miserable, but honestly not much anything any person can do.  My deepest sympathies.  

- As to your son receiving medical treatment: any adult must consent to counseling and/or medication-- everything must be done with your son's approval.  HIPPA laws forbid telling an adult's medical treatment to another person.  If you son choose to tell you about his medical stuff, then he can.  But other people legally cannot.  This is the same as if he were to be in college dorms, just living & working on his own, etc.  I worked at a college for many years, particularly with freshman for many years and... like I had cases where students were being beaten by their boyfriend, suicidal, major medical issues etc.  Legally, these were private matters and I was not allowed to discuss with others including their parents (there were exceptions for police, Student Affairs, etc).   

Speaking personally, my first two years of college were a disaster and I worried my mother sick.  I was depressed, anxious, hated my surroundings, etc.   But it did turn out alright.  If you want to talk more, feel free to shoot me a PM.  

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

I really think that both you and he are focusing on the wrong things.

To clarify, I want to explain the timeline a little. He came home a year ago and waited for about a month for the church to give more information on what they would do with these missionaries.

They were then given 2 options: go back out right away to a reassigned area or wait 18 months and then go back out. My son chose to go right away knowing that 100% it would be in the states. Although it was a temporary assignment, he understood that no one knew when things would open back up, meaning that he might stay in that new place until the end of his 2 years.

If I've given the impression that a foreign mission is superior, I'm sorry. We don't see it that way, or else why would my son have chosen the route he did?

Foreign or not, his new area has been more difficult for him. But he has stuck with it for almost a year. Finding out that they sent everybody back except him - and then realizing it's because of the depression, which came about because of covid and the new area - is the rub. I don't think he knew that taking meds would restrict him in the future.

Maybe we are focusing on the wrong thing. But that "thing" would be being "punished" in being literally the only missionary not sent back. I promise we are not focused on how cool the mission is. I know people for whom the reassignment was a better fit, and they were happy to stay there. My son preferred to go back, though, and got his hopes up seeing others get sent back these past few months.

I don't know if that makes any more sense than my original post.

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

As for communication with the mission president, that occasionally occurs when a missionary is having trouble, but in general it does not. I don't believe my parents ever spoke with any of my three mission presidents at any time

This does make me feel a lot better, knowing that it's normal. Thank you.

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2 hours ago, Vort said:

I have been where you are now. In the end, your son needs to know that it's his decision and that you will support and love him in any case. But your son probably needs to hear your encouragement and your faith that things will turn out for the best.

Let me get a little bit personal here. My three oldest sons have all served missions, two domestically and one in a distant country. Unlike their father, who loved his mission and breezed through it largely untouched by anything really bad (and, perhaps not coincidentally, largely ineffective in preaching the gospel), all three of those sons had real struggles. All three seriously considered coming home. One even received medication and counseling for depression while in the field. All three ended up staying, even the one whose mission president unfairly and wrongly misjudged his character—and, to be fair, who apologized to his face when he finished his mission. I think that none of the three looks back on his mission with fondness as a fun or exciting experience, but all three look back with satisfaction at the good work they accomplished and the lives they helped, both of their investigators and of their companions. I believe all three are grateful for their experiences, even though it cost them tens of thousands of their own dollars and put them two years behind in their educational and professional efforts.

From the experiences of my sons, I have become convinced that it's entirely possible to struggle during your mission, to have hard and even traumatic experiences, to have to grit your teeth and endure much of the time, and still come off your mission a better, stronger, more whole man than you were when you went out.

For what it's worth.

I appreciate you sharing this. I didn't go on a mission, so I might have some naive ideas about it. Everyone talks about how their mission was the best, and you don't hear about the difficulties as much. I hope that  my son will be like yours and look back with satisfaction and gratitude for the experience. He also paid his own way, so I hope he feels good about that sacrifice, as your boys did. Thank you for giving me some hope. I do appreciate it. Maybe I need to get counselling, too, so someone can talk me through all of these feelings! I will struggle to love and support his decision tbh but you are right. He's hurting deeply. I wish I could talk him into staying. It's only 3 more months, but he's not getting transferred and will have been in the same place for 7.5 total months.

Edited by Comp

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2 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

Not being transferred to the "original" mission assignment.  Yeah, that is a major rainy-day.  COVID sucks.  There could be a million reasons for how things are going the way they are, lots of it not related directly to your son himself-- stuff like covid restrictions, visa complications, etc.   It's miserable, but honestly not much anything any person can do.  My deepest sympathies.

Thank you so much for your reply! I know what you mean, this is how it was originally! It was tough, but then it became personal when the country opened up and they starting sending missionaries back. He was the only one not sent, presumably because of the mental health treatment. Thank you for your sympathies. I get the sense that people don't understand fully how difficult this year has been for the missionaries. Maybe they do...it's been hard for all of us, no matter what phase of life we are in.

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2 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

As to your son receiving medical treatment: any adult must consent to counseling and/or medication-- everything must be done with your son's approval.  HIPPA laws forbid telling an adult's medical treatment to another person.  If you son choose to tell you about his medical stuff, then he can.  But other people legally cannot.  This is the same as if he were to be in college dorms, just living & working on his own, etc.  I worked at a college for many years, particularly with freshman for many years and... like I had cases where students were being beaten by their boyfriend, suicidal, major medical issues etc.  Legally, these were private matters and I was not allowed to discuss with others including their parents (there were exceptions for police, Student Affairs, etc).   

Speaking personally, my first two years of college were a disaster and I worried my mother sick.  I was depressed, anxious, hated my surroundings, etc.   But it did turn out alright.  If you want to talk more, feel free to shoot me a PM.  

This is a great answer and so very helpful! He's my oldest and I'm used to having a say as a mom! It's hard not being in the loop. My son was the one who told us about his treatment, but he only mentioned it a little. And I had never considered that they wouldn't tell me, so it caught me off-guard and was so weird. But, I totally get what you're saying here and it's a fact of life I have to get used to as my kids grow up. Thanks for your understanding, and I hope it turns out all right in the end!

Edited by Comp

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13 minutes ago, Comp said:

He's hurting deeply. I wish I could talk him into staying. It's only 3 more months, but he's not getting transferred and will have been in the same place for 7.5 total months.

My oldest spent 12 months in one place, once for eight months and again at the end of his mission for four. Or something like that.

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The idea and feeling that the missionary is being punished, is simply wrong.  While it is understandable why that feeling exists it does not make it any less wrong.

The truth is the missionary is not being punished... he is being protected.  Hundreds of thousands of faithful Saints are regularly praying for the safety of the missionaries.  And the hand of God is reaching out (through his servants) and protecting this one, very clearly in this case.  But like in many cases the individuals in question do not see the hand of God in their lives when it is happening.

Missionary assignments are done by the same revelatory process that the church teaches its members to use.  The leaders study things out, make a choice, take it to the Lord for confirmation.  This is the spirit of revelation, the spirit of prophecy, this is what has called and assigned the missionary in question to where he is now.

It is not unheard of for a missionary to develop a medical condition while serving. When this happens it becomes something the leader include in their study for assignments.  While missions always have some dangers, it is unacceptable for a leader to purposely endanger a missionary by sending them some place they can not get the care they need.

Now one might be thinking that the leader's screwed up, and it is possible, our leaders are human.  That is where faith in the Lord comes in.  COVID might have caught our leaders by surprise, but it did not catch the Lord by surprise. An emergent medical issue might have caught a missionary and our leaders by surprise, but it did not catch the Lord by surprise. Our leaders might even screw up and forget about a missionary for a while, but the Lord never will.  Every missionary can exercise faith that he is exactly where the Lord wants him to be. The only question we need to ask is "Are we going to serve God with all our heart mind and strength even when we did not expect to be where we ended up?"   

 

Edited by estradling75

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Going to compile / rearrange a bunch of different posts here:

17 hours ago, Comp said:

If I've given the impression that a foreign mission is superior, I'm sorry

That's good!  A lot of folks fall into the trap of thinking a foreign mission is "cooler" or "better" than going somewhere like Boise Idaho.  It's not.  But we humans do like bling.

17 hours ago, Comp said:

Foreign or not, his new area has been more difficult for him. But he has stuck with it for almost a year. Finding out that they sent everybody back except him - and then realizing it's because of the depression, which came about because of covid and the new area - is the rub. I don't think he knew that taking meds would restrict him in the future.

- How long a person stays in an area varies hugely from mission to mission and missionary to missionary.  A year is on the long side, but not remotely unheard of.

-I would not assume that his not getting transfer is due to meds and/or just due to meds.   There's likely a ton different in play.

17 hours ago, Comp said:

This does make me feel a lot better, knowing that it's normal. Thank you.

100% normal. 

16 hours ago, Comp said:

I appreciate you sharing this. I didn't go on a mission, so I might have some naive ideas about it. Everyone talks about how their mission was the best, and you don't hear about the difficulties as much. I hope that  my son will be like yours and look back with satisfaction and gratitude for the experience. 

We culturally... I feel fail at points at accurately portraying missions.  Yes, it is a noble service, and great opportunity for spiritual growth.  It's also HARD.  physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc.  There's a ton of pressure (rightful and wrongful), lots of rejection, you're out of your element, etc.  Truthfully the hardness is true about any young adult experience.  

16 hours ago, Comp said:

Maybe I need to get counselling, too, so someone can talk me through all of these feelings! I will struggle to love and support his decision tbh but you are right. He's hurting deeply. I wish I could talk him into staying. It's only 3 more months, but he's not getting transferred and will have been in the same place for 7.5 total months.

16 hours ago, Comp said:

This is a great answer and so very helpful! He's my oldest and I'm used to having a say as a mom! It's hard not being in the loop. My son was the one who told us about his treatment, but he only mentioned it a little. And I had never considered that they wouldn't tell me, so it caught me off-guard and was so weird. But, I totally get what you're saying here and it's a fact of life I have to get used to as my kids grow up. Thanks for your understanding, and I hope it turns out all right in the end!

 

It's also REALLY hard being a mom with the first chick flying out of the nest!  And I also feel that we as a society really suck at prepping moms for that too.  Starting at 18: mom's are completely out of any loop.  Except for how much the young adult wishes to share.  You need to trust them, and that's TERRIFYING at points.  

Some tips for helping teenagers be prepare to be better functioning young adults:

- Know how to do your own laundry.  Like literally, so many young adults don't know how to properly wash their clothes.  And likewise just basic "how to tend to yourself and your house" skills.

- Develop goal keeping, and owning your choices (both good and bad).  Young adults need to be able to make decisions, hopefully foresee consequences, and accept them.  Yes, that means when the consequence is a big mess, they need to clean it up.  Other folks stepping in to rescue them doesn't promote maturity, rather encourages de-evolution into adult-sized toddlers.  Having them know of to develop goal and think things through are essential skills.

- Maintain an open communication bridge and promote love.  

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On 4/16/2021 at 6:01 AM, estradling75 said:

The idea and feeling that the missionary is being punished, is simply wrong.  While it is understandable why that feeling exists it does not make it any less wrong.

No, it's not wrong. I used quotes around the word "punished" because I realize that no one has ill will against my son or a desire to punish him. But keeping him from returning to his mission after being told that he could return once it opened up is effectively a punishment - in the same sense that taxing the rich at a higher rate is "punishment" for hard work. It's a negative consequence, whether or not it is justified; assuming that he's being held back because of a mental health policy.

You say he "developed a medical condition" as if it wasn't a result of the Covid situation. I cannot be convinced that counselling and meds while being isolated in a hotel, with very little to do, are "the care that he needs" more than returning to where he was previously healthy and felt a sense of belonging and purpose.

At the risk of sounding even more defensive, and I realize I do, it's not disobedient or unwilling or unfaithful to want to return to your original mission. I am on several Facebook pages of missionary parents and there has been chatter for months about when certain countries/missions are going to open back up. And everyone has been anxiously anticipating their chance to return to their original assignment. Even the Church News page that I follow has shared some stories of missionaries who worried they wouldn't get to serve in the mission they were called to and were openly disappointed at the idea. But whenever they DID get to go, they have rejoiced. Some missionaries ended up liking their reassignment better, but most have expressed a desire to go back to their original mission if they can. And the church seems to be trying hard to make that possible for as many as they can.

I'm coming here with his and my honest feelings and struggles in anonymity for advice and sympathy. We don't complain to people in person, and he has tried to remain optimistic.

Absolutely, he needs to exercise faith. That we can agree on. But it's not my decision, it's his, and I can only hope and pray and counsel.

Edited by Comp

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I just have a few thoughts.

1.  I struggled with depression before my mission.  I worked on it, and got to a point where I didn't need meds anymore.  But it was still understood, with my background, I was going stateside.   I was told that the Church had enough experience with so many missionaries, they've determined that people with mental health issues do better in their own country.

2.  I was in my first area for 6 transfers, 8.5 months.  Transfers are 6 weeks and usually thought of as a month and a half.  But when you get past 4 transfers, it gets off.  My trainer and I got 'shotgunned' (we were both new to the area) replacing sister missionaries.  After two transfers, my companion was made district leader.  We were together 2 more transfers.  Then I was made district leader and got a new companion. Near the end of my first transfer as DL, I met with the mission president.  He asked how I was, how the work was.  Then he looked a little confused and said "How long have you been in this area?"  "Near the end of my 5th transfer"  His eyes widened, "Oh!  We'll get you out of here next time."  I had been forgotten.  That was hard on me.  It wasn't until later that I realized how taxing being a mission president can be and that when a missionary isn't on the president's radar, it usually means they are doing what they are supposed to. 

3.  It's hard when things don't go how we expect they will.  In those moments, I find it helpful to remember the Serenity Prayer.  I know in our church, we aren't much on saying rote prayers.  But I know this has helped countless people.  "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."  Where and when your son is serving is out of his, and your, control.  He can control how and why he serves, and you can control how you support, encourage and love him.  If you focus on those things, I think it will help him a lot.

It is ok to feel frustrated, hurt and/or angry in this type of situation.  Now, it is time to decide how you will respond.  I'd suggest being supportive and giving it to God.

In Recovery speak, it sounds like you and your son need to do a Step 3.  (Not that I'm saying that addiction has anything to do with this.  But the 12 steps can be applied in so many more ways than in addiction recovery :) )

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/addiction-recovery-program-a-guide-to-addiction-recovery-and-healing/step-3-trust-in-god?lang=eng

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Everyone here can understand and empathize with things not going as expected and being harder then we assumed or otherwise thought they would be.  Even Jesus Christ our example encountered this.  The scriptures record him being 'sore amazed' in Gethsemane when he began atonement.   Now there are many ways that we might understand 'sore amazed' but none of them are 'as expected' or 'easy.'  We get further confirmation of this with his prayer to our Father in Heaven asking the cup (aka the pain of performing the Atonement) be taken from him.

Empathy and understanding does not change that our response to such hardships.  It needs to be to follow the example of Christ.  " nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. "

Sadly most of us need repeated hardships to learn this lesson, to learn to be like Christ.   To often we show that our faith is very weak, instead of trusting God and his promises, we like to throw blame. 'If it was not for this situation, or if it was not for this persons actions' everything would be going according to God's plan.  Which is a clear lack of faith that God is in control.  Or if we are not blaming we complain about it not being 'Fair.'  We look around comparing our situation to others, most of the time this puts us comparing our weakness to the image of strength someone else is projecting, which only leads to misery.  Even if we avoid comparison the complaint of 'its not fair' shows a lack of faith in God's Justice and Mercy.

If you fall in a pit... empathy and understanding is very nice... But pointing out the ladder you can use to climb out is much more charitable.

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On 4/15/2021 at 8:33 PM, Comp said:

This is an honest question and does not come from a place of bitterness. Is it weird that no one contacted me about my son getting counselling and being medicated for depression? I know he's an adult, but we sent him out and entrusted him to "the mission." Is it normal to not have any communication with a mission president at all, ever? I don't even know his name.

Anyway, he wants to come home now. I don't want him living in my house, and I'm not absolving him of his own part in it. But it's so hard not to have a bitter taste in my mouth. I wonder if my kids will be better off going to college instead of on a mission, because it didn't turn out well this time and I'm scared to do it again. 

Hi Comp, I'm sorry you're going through difficult times. I hope you're feeling better.  Are you keeping in touch with your son regularly? The reason I ask is because I find it strange that you don't know the name of his Mission President?

You said: "Anyway, he wants to come home now. I don't want him living in my house, and I'm not absolving him of his own part in it". Maybe I missed some of your posts. Absolving him of what exactly?

You mentioned  that he didn't return to his original mission and that you don't know why. I got the impression that you found this to be "unfair" since the rest of the group returned to their original missions but your son didn't. I can understand the disappointment. Having said that, as an outsider I'm seeing this differently.  I have the impression that Church leaders took this decision to protect your son, particularly because he went through counseling and is taking medication. We don't know the extent of his depression or the things he shared with his therapist. You mentioned that he said very little about it which means he is not ready to talk and perhaps when he is ready, he will. If your son comes home, welcome him with open and loving arms. He will need all the love and support he can get.

Depression is a highly complex and heterogeneous syndrome. It cannot be ignored so my advise to you right now is to focus on your son's mental/emotional health rather than WHERE he will be serving which is frankly, inconsequential. Because if he is not well enough to serve, will it matter the "where" at the end?

 

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18 hours ago, Suzie said:

You said: "Anyway, he wants to come home now. I don't want him living in my house, and I'm not absolving him of his own part in it". Maybe I missed some of your posts. Absolving him of what exactly?

Of quitting.

Having written that several days ago, I'm not sure why I wrote it or what it has to do with anything. I suspect that I was feeling mad at him at the time. I've been on a roller coaster of emotions, trying to sort them out.

I looked up who his mission president is yesterday, so now I know. :) Yes, we keep in contact with my son regularly, but he calls him "the mission president." I've never had correspondence with him directly. My husband might have talked to him once about how to get my son's bike to the mission, or maybe it was someone else who works in the office. 

18 hours ago, Suzie said:

I can understand the disappointment. Having said that, as an outsider I'm seeing this differently.  I have the impression that Church leaders took this decision to protect your son, particularly because he went through counseling and is taking medication. We don't know the extent of his depression or the things he shared with his therapist. You mentioned that he said very little about it which means he is not ready to talk and perhaps when he is ready, he will. If your son comes home, welcome him with open and loving arms. He will need all the love and support he can get.

Thank you. This is good advice and a fair observation from someone looking in. I still don't agree that he is better off, psychologically, being kept where he is. But...you have a good point that I don't know the details about what he's shared with his therapist. If I knew everything, I could very well come to the same conclusion. The feelings my son HAS shared with me are sadness at being excluded and a little bit of wondering what's wrong with him.

 

18 hours ago, Suzie said:

Depression is a highly complex and heterogeneous syndrome. It cannot be ignored so my advise to you right now is to focus on your son's mental/emotional health rather than WHERE he will be serving which is frankly, inconsequential. Because if he is not well enough to serve, will it matter the "where" at the end?

I watched him thrive in his original mission and then really, really struggle shortly after getting to the reassigned mission. So, it's hard for me to see how the WHERE doesn't play a part. A few weeks ago, we did reach out to the Stake President to see if he could advocate for us, and he talked to the mission (that seems to be the proper channel) and they said he was staying put but wouldn't disclose anything else. Still waiting to hear back on what they have to say about my son coming home. Thanks again for your advice. I'm not really feeling better yet but finding things to keep me busy, so I don't get overwhelmed with the devastation.

Edited by Comp

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2 minutes ago, Comp said:

I looked up who his mission president yesterday, so now I know. :) Yes, we keep in contact with my son regularly, but he calls him "the mission president." I've never had correspondence with him directly. My husband might have talked to him once about how to get my son's bike to the mission, or maybe it was someone else who works in the office.

You know, if you thought it might help, you could simply call the mission president on the phone. If he's not available, identify yourself and leave a callback number.

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