waiting on a missionary. part 3. {advice}

Hi friends! I'm sappy (sad/happy) to tell you that this is the last part in the waiting on a missionary series! Find part 1

here

& part 2

here

. This last post is probably my most favorite. I absolutely loved the honesty I received from the people I talked to. And I want to give them a little shout out for helping me out-- You know who you are-- thanks! :)

The answers to these next two questions are strictly advice to 

people

 writing missionaries and the 

missionaries

 writing to people! Enjoy! :)

Question: What advice would you give to the person who wants to wait?

"Don't pine away. I didn't just sit home and wait. I wanted to know that he was the one for me. And I knew that he wouldn't want me to just sit at home... That makes the two years go by waaaaaay slower.

[Remember], just because you wait doesn't mean he is obligated to date you [after his mission].

"

"I would tell her not to wait. If it is meant to be it will happen.

You should be working on bettering yourself. People change a lot.

"

"I would tell her if she wants to write him she should write but still date and get to know other people and not to plan [out] everything. Just get to know lots of people and when he comes home if you are still around just take time to get to know each and just see what happens. One thing I'm grateful that I tried to still meet people and go do things because I feel like if I hadn't [it ending] would have been lots harder to deal with."

"Don't waste your time... I'd tell the girls to date and not worry about it.

If it's meant to be, it will be after the mission.

"

"Depends on the people and how long they have been together... But as a general rule I would say still date around but keep a part of your heart for that person to at least give them a chance when they get back. But of course there is always an exception to the rule:

Always put the Lord first and listen to the promptings of the Spirit

... Don't write about serious stuff. It is only a distraction and hard on themselves. Don't make wedding plans and pick a wedding day and blah blah... Be uplifting and don't ask about other boys/girls they are dating. But always be honest. If there is something wrong or worrisome you need to discuss it. And if it is holding you back from mission stuff then don't write or hardly write, if it's meant to be and you are both doing your best to be your best it will work out the way it is supposed to. Of course that is easier said than done."

"I think each person has to pray and be 100% willing to do what God tells them to do. I can't

even answer that question for myself. I just know God is letting me take it one step at a time... 

But also you have to live your life.

You don't have to date to find a new boyfriend/girlfriend.

Just date to see what you're looking for in a spouse and to have fun (good clean fun)

Make friends and do fun stuff. If [the] missionary really loves you then they'll be happy

you're enjoying your life and not just sitting around."

"I would not recommend waiting. I had a companion who repeatedly told her ex to date

other girls, he didn't, and there was no spark between them when she got back. While it was

hard, [her boyfriend] and I both dated, and we learned a lot. And it feels good to know that we did

what's right, and even better that we're ending up together. But I also saw missionaries go

through break ups-either they were broken up with, or they broke up with their significant

other, and it's hard! It would have been awful for me if [he] Dear Janed me! And the same

for him. And I know I struggled concentrating sometimes."

"You can't make any promises honestly. You can write him. But you can't just have the world stop and idly wait for two years while they're gone. The person who is on a mission is growing and the person who is at home should have the opportunity to grow too. And that involves dating others to know that the person they are waiting for is the right one."

"I think they should pray really hard to know if they are making the right choice. I know a mission president who said

writing a girl at home is either the best thing or worst thing for a missionary

... So I think it's really personal. Also just be honest and

follow the missionary rules.

For me, I think I really helped [him] and encouraged him in hard times but also I was a distraction and I sometimes distracted him from the work... Mainly just because I dated other boys...if I could have waited loyally, It probably would have been only positive...but

I needed to date to further my testimony and realize that [he] was the right one!

So I don't know..."

"It totally depends on the relationship because every relationship is different. I think you have to know that he's 'the one' 100% to wait for him. Other than that I think a girl should still be his friend but he's on his mission worried about 'missionary things' and the girl shouldn't be idling her time.

I wish I would've dated other people...or at least hung out with different groups of guys.

"

"Align your will with Heavenly Father's. If you two were meant to be, He will make it so. If you aren't, He will put other opportunities in front of you. Pray always and seek council from the Spirit and the scriptures, bishops, parents, etc. And keep your chin up, no matter what."

"Its ok to wait but work on your back-up plan while they are gone. Things will more than likely change, and you both need to be ready emotionally and spiritually. [It] should be a serious discussion before they leave."

"My advice is don't wait around! They are out learning and growing, and you should do the same. Date lots of people, have fun. If they really care about you, they will want that for you too. Focus more on being the best you can be in the here and now, rather than thinking so much about what's up ahead.

Be an uplifter rather than a distractor.

I know that if I put the Lord first, and keep the commandments, my life will be purposeful.. and I will be happy. And though I would love to know who I will end up with, I'm not worried about it. I trust in the Lord's plan and timing for me. I know [her fella] feels the same way! So, all in all, I'm grateful that I got to date a boy that has his heart in the right place, and I hope we get to date again! But the only thing I can control right now is my own growth. And if we both focus on that, I'm confident that things could work out."

"If they are planning on waiting then be 100% sure that's what they want to do. And if they're not, then [don't] have that be the plan."

"Do all you can to keep busy, whether it's school, volunteer work, or a mission. If they've decided she is going to wait then she needs to do things to prepare herself to go to the temple with him."

"Get involved in activities that requires them to donate all of their spare time. Idle hands are Satan's tool. All of your spare time should be taken up! But

let him be a part of his mission.

"

[my soap-box moment]

dear friends that are writing missionaries, 

P L E A S E remember that the missionary you are writing is not "your missionary." I'll even throw in some fighting words here: that missionary isn't even his/her mom's missionary.

That missionary is the Lord's missionary

. And sometimes being a missionary involves cutting some ties for a little while. Don't get me wrong, cutting those ties is HARD. But I know that when I did what I needed to do to stay focused (whether it was writing a letter or

not

 writing a letter. or working harder to distract myself from being distracted or taking a break for a few minutes to just breathe. or pausing to pray or sing a hymn. there were a lot of things that I tried to stay focused...) I was a much happier, more in tune with the Spirit missionary and I felt more successful. I was better able to see the tender mercies of the Lord. I was able to look past myself and give more of myself to the work, my companion, and the wonderful people I was serving around. I was less frustrated. I was less stressed. I was able to talk to my mission leadership when I needed help-- I was humbled enough to ask for help. And because of all of this (and cutting those ties) I was able to love and serve better. If you really love the person you are writing-- support them. encourage them. send them letters! but keep it appropriate

for missionaries

. if you aren't sure what that means-- please leave a comment or message me. i'd love to help you!

side note for the missionary moms out there: I absolutely LOVE my parents. But the best thing they did for me while I was a missionary was letting me be a missionary. They offered support in every single letter. I knew they missed me, but I also knew that they understood that the work I was doing was more important than ANYTHING else I could have been doing at that time. Including going to school and/or getting married. Because they loved me, they offered support. Because they supported me, they let me struggle. Because I struggled, I grew more in those 18 months than I ever have before. 

[soap box over]

Question: What advice would you give to the missionary who is writing someone seriously?

"I would say just keep writing them but don't worry as much what they're doing if they wait they wait, if they don't, there [are] billions of other people out there."

"When one of you leaves on a mission, the best thing you could do for your relationship is to put it on hold. Now, this doesn't mean not talking to each other and cutting off all communication and it is a persons choice how much they write their missionary. What it means is that when you leave you need to be consecrated and focused. And it is hard to do that entirely when you have someone who writes you every week saying I miss you, I love you and can't wait for you be home. Some of the best advice I have ever heard on the subject is from Robert Dean Bell. He said,

"You are out here doing the Lord's work, and He is working for you at home." 

What you want to do is leave your relationship at a point where you can either come home from your mission and be able to strengthen each other by continuing with your relationship or, whether this happens during or after your mission, be able to walk away from the relationship having learned things. I know my best past relationships are those that I am still friends with. And you shouldn't want to avoid them in social situations. Also one last thing,

if your involve your companion is things you're struggling with, whether it has to do with a relationship or anything else, your companionship will be that much stronger!

"

"You change in that period of time. You don't think you do, but you do! Don't write more than once a month and write only about your missionary experiences."

"The Church didn't set the rules to be a stick in the mud. They do it for your protection."