The transition from full-time missionary to returned missionary is often a difficult one.
For two years—or a year and a half if you’re a young woman—you spend your days and nights 100 percent focused on the Lord and doing His work. You’re in constant communication with Him through fervent prayer. You study the scriptures every morning. You continually reach out and serve those in need. You look for every opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For a year and a half or two years, you follow a strict mission routine. And once you’re home, you miss that pattern. You might feel a little lost or alone. You might feel like you’re not able to feel the Spirit of the Lord as strongly as you felt it on your mission, causing you to lose that “missionary glow.”
But you don’t have to lose it. By committing to do the following six things, you can feel the Lord’s love and be spiritually rejuvenated each day.
1. Stick to the Daily Routine
The daily patterns you established out in the mission field can easily be established into your life back home. Continue to go to bed and wake up early, study your scriptures, write in your journal, pray numerous times throughout the day and exercise. Coming home from your mission isn’t a vacation from being a strong, dedicated member of the Church. It’s a period of restructure, a time to weave together the important patterns from your mission with other important things like going to college and dating.
2. Continue Serving Others
Don’t wait for an assignment to serve someone in your Church or community in need. Keep your eyes, ears and heart open for opportunities to serve. Serving those around you is a huge part of life as a missionary, so if you want to maintain that high missionary spirit, you must continue putting others’ needs ahead of yours and having charity, the greatest Christlike attribute.
3. Regularly Go to the Temple
Go to the temple and go often. Your life will be busy, but you have to make time to be in the house of the Lord. Keep your temple clothes and recommend inside your temple bag and put your bag near your front door or in your car as a constant reminder to go. The temple is a great place to serve those who have passed on, meditate and receive answers to prayers. There are few places on this earth where you will feel the spirit as strongly as you do inside the temple.
4. Go to Institute
Besides daily studying your scriptures, attending institute is a good way to keep up on your studies of the Church doctrines. Elder M. Russell Ballard said it best in a General Conference talk when he said that institute “will provide balance to your life and add to your secular education by giving you another opportunity to spend time studying the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets and apostles.” Institute also lets you be surrounded by peers your own age and of your own faith who help lift you spiritually. Who knows, you might even meet your future spouse at institute.
5. Continue Sharing the Gospel
Never stop being a missionary! Continue to pray and seek out opportunities to keep sharing the gospel with those you work with, go to school with, pass on the street, etc. There’s always a way to share the gospel. You may not be a full-time missionary anymore, but you’re a member missionary who’s still responsible to continue doing the Lord’s work.
6. Do Family History Work
You grew to love the people you served on your mission, and you can still feel that same spirit and joy from your mission while back home as you do family history work. How? Missionary service and family history work are both part of the work of salvation. Start by indexing, and if you went to a foreign speaking mission, index in your mission language. But, more searchable records are needed in every language so no matter where you served or what language you learned, you can still help converts more easily find their ancestors and perform the necessary temple ordinances by indexing.
Embracing the patterns from your mission life into your life back at home is the key to a successful adjustment and keeping yourself from losing the missionary way.