I loved my mission to Colombia. It has been the best part of my life so far. I loved the people I met and those I taught. I also loved my companions, and I learned a lot from them! I think about my mission every day.
After finishing my training at the missionary training center, I thought I was ready for my mission, but I still had so much to learn in the mission field. And the same thing happened after I finished my mission—I thought I had learned everything I needed to know about life. I thought I was prepared for everything it had to throw at me. I thought everything would work out perfectly.
But, as you might have guessed, it hasn’t.
While I was on my mission, my aunt Cecilia underwent an operation, got sick, and died. After praying about it, my parents decided to wait to tell me about her death until after I came home. Learning that she had passed away hit me hard. She had always been my favorite aunt, and I was heartbroken that I hadn’t been home to say goodbye.
But that wasn’t the only thing that had changed while I was gone. I had hoped my brother would serve a mission while I was serving mine, but he had changed his mind. This was difficult for my parents, and it was hard on me too.
And things with my friends weren’t the same as they were before my mission. I had always invited my nonmember friends to church, but when I got home and started inviting them again, they acted totally different. They didn’t want anything to do with the Church. I wasn’t sure what had changed, but I still prayed for them and shared spiritual messages with them. But I truly felt alone and as though I didn’t have any friends.
So many things changed while I was gone, and adjusting to those changes after I came home was hard.
During my mission, whenever I felt discouraged or thought I couldn’t go on, I prayed for help. So I knew I could rely on Heavenly Father again to help me adjust to this new life transition.
I got the impression that I needed to serve. Service had always helped me feel like I had a purpose. I went to see my bishop and told him about my desire to serve. He called me to be the Young Women secretary.
A few months later, I told Heavenly Father I wanted to progress and learn more in my life, and I asked for His help. The very next day, I was called as second counselor in the stake Primary presidency.
Being able to serve the young women and the children in Primary really helped me adapt to life after my mission. I was able to focus on helping them turn toward the Savior instead of focusing on my challenges. Over time, adjusting became easier as I strived to serve.
Something else that helped me adjust to post-mission life was sharing my testimony whenever I got the chance. Sometimes I even had the opportunity to share my beliefs during presentations in my university classes.
After my philosophy professor assigned me to do a presentation on justice and freedom, I showed a Church video called “Be Still, My Soul.” The video is about a woman who is arrested for drug abuse. While she’s in jail, she misses her children. After she goes through rehabilitation, she returns home a new person.
I ended my presentation with my testimony. I said we all have our God-given agency, but that He has given us commandments to help us understand how to not harm ourselves or others. I also testified that He lives.
My professor and classmates didn’t protest against anything I said. And my testimony left them feeling thoughtful. I’ve learned that you never know when someone might need your insight in order to believe that God and Jesus Christ really do exist.
Overall, just continuing to draw closer to Christ and helping others come to Him helped me adapt to life after my mission. I’m no longer a full-time missionary, but I can still pray, serve, and testify of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can still help others and do what I did on my mission—just in a different way.
Adjusting to life after a mission can be hard, but we can still find joy and purpose as we remember what we learned as missionaries and as we continue to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father will help us succeed as we strive to follow Him.