How Does a Returned Missionary Group Work?
Returned missionary groups function like a council. There is no teacher or expert. Instead, we follow the materials as they are written. With the guidance of the Spirit, we will help each other as follows:
Contribute equally to discussions and activities. No one, especially the facilitator, should dominate the conversation.
Love and support each other. Show interest, ask questions, and learn about each other. Show respect for feelings, creating a safe environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing.
Share positive and relevant comments.
Make and keep commitments.
President M. Russell Ballard taught, “There is no problem in the family, ward, or stake that cannot be solved if we look for solutions in the Lord’s way by counseling—really counseling—with one another” (
Counseling with Our Councils, rev. ed. , 4).
Doctrine and Covenants 88:122, we read, “Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings , that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege” (italics added).
What have you learned from other councils about the importance of discussion and letting everyone speak?
The group process is easy. Simply follow the materials. When you see these prompts, follow these directions:
Read: One person reads aloud for the whole group. Watch: The whole group watches the video together (the facilitator downloads it in advance). Discuss: Group members share thoughts on the question posed. Activity: Group members work individually or with others. Ponder: Group members quietly consider and individually write for two or three minutes. Commit: Group members individually promise to act on commitments during the week that will help them progress. Report: Group members share their experiences in working on commitments.
With the help of others, you can accomplish great things. For example, missionaries have companions for support. In our group, we have “action partners.” Each week we will choose and work with an action partner. Action partners help each other keep commitments by:
Texting or calling each other during the week.
Encouraging each other to keep commitments.
Counseling together about challenges.
Praying for each other.
My Plan for Returned Missionaries manual can also be found on the Gospel Library app within the Young Adults folder or as a PDF at srs.lds.org/mcm-beta. Some groups may exclusively use the app instead of the printed manual. Other groups might use the app as an additional resource.
Throughout the group meetings and during the week, you will be asked to record your thoughts, ideas, and spiritual impressions.
Please bring a study journal to the group meeting each week. This could be a notebook or electronic device to record your thoughts and ideas.
You have recently served the Lord as a missionary. The impact of your service is immeasurable. During your mission, you were deeply engaged in teaching the doctrine of Christ, inviting souls to come unto Christ, and asking investigators to exercise great faith.
What examples did you see on your mission of people acting in faith and trusting God? What can these examples teach you about trusting God and acting in faith as it relates to a job, education, and marriage?
The Lord is leading “a great and marvelous work” (
D&C 6:1), and this work requires your service. President Ballard emphasized this with the following clarion call: “What we need now is the greatest generation of young adults in the history of the Church. We need your whole heart and soul” (“The Greatest Generation of Young Adults,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 68) While you might think that your days as a missionary are over, this is not so.
The Lord has provided His plan of happiness for you. He will bless you as you embrace it fully. He has blessed you with special gifts and talents that will allow you to become everything He desires for you. You can fulfill your mission here on earth if you are diligent in seeking to understand and obey His will for you. This booklet will help you discover and accomplish your purpose as a disciple of Jesus Christ. It will also help you become spiritually and temporally self-reliant.
The Savior has promised to help you with every needful thing in your life, if you have faith and obey His word. To His disciples He said, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” He then asked, “And why take ye thought for raiment? … Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (
Matthew 6:24, 28, 32). He then marked the way forward for us, saying, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” ( Matthew 6:33).
How is your life’s purpose a part of God’s plan of happiness?
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shared the following about your call as a returned missionary: “The call is to come back, to stay true, to love God, and to lend a hand. I include in that call to fixed faithfulness every returned missionary. … ‘Your Father in Heaven expects your loyalty and your love at every stage of your life.’
“To all within the sound of my voice, the voice of Christ comes ringing down through the halls of time, asking each one of us while there is still time, ‘Do you love me?’ And for every one of us, I answer with my honor and my soul, ‘Yea, Lord, we do love thee.’ And having set our ‘hand to the plough,’ we will never look back until this work is finished and the love of God and neighbor rules the world” (“The First Great Commandment,”
Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 85).
What does having a “fixed faithfulness” mean to you?
The scriptures teach us that we should pray “with all the energy of heart” that we may become like him our Savior (
Moroni 7:48). Truly, the Lord expects us to further His work by becoming like Him and by helping others to do the same. As a returned missionary, you should make this your goal. An essential foundation in achieving this goal is being able to stand on your own, both temporally and spiritually—in other words, being self-reliant. God has commanded that we become self-reliant.
To be self-reliant is to be responsible and accountable for developing your skills and providing for yourself while also continually serving others. We achieve this through exercising faith and trust in the Savior and His Atonement, obeying His commandments, and bettering ourselves and others. When we become spiritually and temporally self-reliant, we are better able to serve others and help the Lord fulfill His work to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (see
What can you do now to be more spiritually and temporally self-reliant?
Create a Note
“Write down in a secure place the important things you learn from the Spirit. You will find that as you write down precious impressions, often more will come. Also, the knowledge you gain will be available throughout your life. Always, day or night, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, seek to recognize and respond to the direction of the Spirit.”
Richard G. Scott, “To Acquire Knowledge and the Strength to Use It Wisely,”
Ensign, June 2002, 32
In what ways can you now demonstrate greater trust in the Lord?
If you participated in My Plan on your mission, review your plan again. If you did not start My Plan while on your mission, review the worksheet at the back of this manual. What is the Spirit prompting you to do? Take a moment now to write down those impressions, and commit to act on them.
Share what you’ve learned today with another returned missionary, another young single adult, or a member of your family.
Bring a study journal to the group meeting next week.
Choose an action partner for this week and take two minutes to share with each other the commitments that you feel impressed to work on. Decide how you will follow up with each other during the week.
Have a closing prayer.