Today is a bit of a more somber note. Forget about all the silly stories that I normally spout off. Today is serious. Don’t worry not too serious…but I do want people to sense how much this post means to me. I have seen a lot of good friends go home, and every single one of them is an incredible person and missionary. If people are coming out for the right reasons they are going home for equally right reasons…and even if they aren’t coming out for the right reasons we are all human in the end. We have a mission tour coming up next week and that means Elder Dyches is coming to speak to us all. In preperation for that, President Pilkington has asked us all as companionships to find the war memorial in the cities and towns we are serving. In England there are memorials in each town to honor the specific men that fought from that town. We haven’t been told why exactly we are doing this other than it is our duty to pay respect to those that have gone before us. They have preserved our freedoms and right to worship as we want. Here is an excerpt from the letter I wrote President Pilkington this week:
I came across an interesting article about missionaries returning early.It was written by an elder who had gone home early and his advice to the friends and families of those missionaries.I quite liked the end of the article which says, “I was told an analogy that has struck me inside again and again. In the military, the view of completing missions and of wounded comrades is quite different from our view of similar situations in religious missions. If soldiers rush into battle and are wounded on their first mission or 50th mission, they are treated the same. They are given medals. They are applauded for their service, no matter how long. Their brothers and sisters at arms risks their own lives to rescue and restore those soldiers to their homes. No one looks at them differently. No one says, “Well, you didn’t really help the war effort, did you?” or “Toughen up, man. It’s just a bullet.” These brave men and women are honored and respected for their service. So should it be with missionaries. We were willing to go where the Lord asked. Sometimes we get hurt. All we ask for is acceptance and love. We return with dread, hoping our partial offering will still be acceptable to those we care about most.”
This struck me as quite poignant as I have seen a lot of dear friends go home, and thought it might bring you some inspiration as you have had to send so many home, especially recently. I feel the pain of those that go home and have gone home and still correspond with a few. My hope would be that mission culture would shift to view those that return home early more closely with what is described in this article. Of course we are not soldiers in a physical sense, but are very much engaged in a spirtual battle. This also weighed on my mind as Sister Kuhn and I found the war memorial in Darlington which is in front of a memorial hall with names engraved on the walls across the hall. The profundity of those that have come before us hit me really hard…not only those that have fought in those physical wars, but others that have engaged in the war of agency, the battle of good and evil since the dawn of time.
I hope this will mean something to those of you reading. My love extends to you all and I hope you know how much your support and presence in my life individually has given me the strength to continue spreading the gospel here in England. I love you all dearly!
Love, Sister Zurcher