Missionaries Returning Early
The latest issue (July, 2019) of the LDS magazine, the Ensign, devotes about a dozen pages to the topic of LDS missionaries returning early from their missions. This is not the only indicator either that the number of such missionaries is increasing. The recent change of allowing missionaries to call home every week also seems to have been made to address this.
In the past, missionaries who returned early were often viewed as failures and did not always receive a warm welcome home. The articles in the Ensign address this by telling them they are not failures. They can still be productive members. This is seen just from the titles of the articles: “If Your Mission Ended Early, Don’t Give Up”; “Early-Returned Missionaries: You Aren’t Alone”; and “I Returned Early from My Mission – Did I Ruin God’s Plan for Me?”
The increasing number of early-returned missionaries emphasizes the fact that many missionaries are struggling. It also explains why many missionaries respond very positively when we treat them kindly.
Treating them kindly is one of the basic principles of our initiative to witness to LDS missionaries. Many people have had them over for a meal. Others have included them in family outings or activities. Numerous people have kept in touch with them even after the missionaries have left the area. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).
Not only do the missionaries appreciate our kindness, they also become more open and even eager to repeatedly return to discuss the Bible with us. By taking time to get to know them, and showing them we are concerned for them, we have many more and much better opportunities to tell them about the great things God has done for them. More than one set of missionaries have even agreed to have the Christians lead them in a weekly Bible study.
If you haven’t yet done so, check out pleaseopenthedoor.com. Subscribe to it so you can see all the articles. Consider contacting the LDS Church to send you some missionaries. We also can assign you a mentor who will help you every step of the way.
As these articles show, there are many hurting LDS missionaries. Even worse, they are all lost. We have the gospel, the power of God that can bring them to faith. Let’s use it. Let’s speak the truth in love to LDS missionaries.