Korea Daejeon Mission
I served in the Korea Daejeon Mission. My time there was unforgettable for many reasons. The food, the people, the experiences, but also the sad realization of knowing I had to come home. I developed depression on my mission that led to me coming home a lot sooner than my two years. Upon coming home I was expecting to feel dread and rejection but I was very wrong. My family welcomed me with open arms. My ward saw me for what I was and that was a strong return missionary with a firm testimony. I still feel sad from time to time knowing I couldn’t serve the full two years. I’m sure every missionary that comes home early feels this way. What keeps me going is that I'M proud of the missionary I was. I don’t care what other people may think. I know I labored in the Lords vineyard with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. That makes all the difference to me.
Since returning home, I have accomplished a great deal of things. I was a temple ordinance worker, I served in the Deacons Quorum, I have met life long friends in various places, I also met and married my sweet wife who I love very much, I have spoken with dozens of return missionaries and shared my story with them, and most importantly is I have retained my testimony and made it stronger. We all falter. A mission doesn’t make us perfect. It should help lead us on the straight and narrow path. One of my wise church leaders told me “Yes your mission experiences are important but what are you doing NOW that will keep you in this gospel?”
Time served on a mission no longer matters to me. No one should be scared if they have to return home early. What matters is what you do when you no longer have your badge. I see plenty of missionaries who serve their full missions and return home to old habits and fall into temptation. I see missionaries who act as is their missions never happened...
But I also see EARLY return missionaries who come home and are stronger than those other missionaries. Ones who come home and know where they want to go. They know the truthfulness of the gospel and how they want to live according to those truths. The only difference I see between early return missionaries and missionaries who serve their full missions is how we choose to live when we come home.