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Welcome!

The Early Homecoming podcast is dedicated to helping missionaries who return home early and to helping those who care about them. Below you can listen and learn more about service missions. You can also listen to this podcast in other categories.

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Podcast Episodes: Service Missions

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Episode 43: Kate returns home early due to emotional and physical abuse from companions

Throughout her childhood, Kate was emotionally and physically abused by her father, and then later by her stepmother. While on her mission, Kate experienced anxiety and undiagnosed ADHD. These mental health struggles were not understood by her companions and they became exasperated with her and abused her emotionally and even physically as well. This re-traumatized Kate and brought up a lot of PTSD. She was given a sedative to calm her, but eventually things came to a head and she decided to go home. Upon returning, Kate felt “broken, undignified, and like a complete failure.” She transitioned to a service mission shortly after returning home and the healing began. Her family also rescued a dog, which became an emotional support animal for Kate. During this episode, Kate shares how she has been able to turn negatives into positives her whole life, and this experience of returning home early from her mission is no exception.

Episode 37: Synne returns home early due to perfectionism and self-harming and becomes the first service missionary in Norway and Sweden

In this episode, Synne shares her story of returning home early from her mission in France due to perfectionism, anxiety, depression, and self-harming. She felt like she had failed Heavenly Father and was devastated. However, because of her desire to continue serving, Synne immediately requested to become a service missionary upon returning home, even though there had never been a service missionary in Norway before. Synne persisted despite this and with the help of her leaders, she became the first service missionary in Norway and Sweden! Listen to Synne’s story if you want to feel inspired and uplifted about how to continue doing the Lord’s work even when things don’t go as planned.

Episode 18: Abi Shares Her Experience of Serving a Proselyting Mission and a Service Mission

After twelve months in Germany, it became clear to Abi that her depression and anxiety had become too much and that she needed to go home. However, she still didn’t feel that her mission was done and upon hearing about service missions decided that she wanted to finish her mission by “transferring” to this kind of a mission. In this episode, Abi shares her experience of serving at the Motion Picture Studio in Salt Lake City, discusses the schedule and expectations while on a service mission and what makes it different than a proselyting mission. She also shares her testimony and faith both about the purpose of her serving a proselyting mission and then a service mission and the Lord’s love for her. Abi also discusses her mental health struggles and her methods for both overcoming and coping with the effects of anxiety and depression.

Episode 9: Blake shares his experience of serving in the Utah Valley Service Mission after returning home early from Brazil due to anxiety

When Blake came home early from his Latter-day Saint proselyting mission in Brazil, he had many questions: Why? What was the purpose of coming home early? What was he supposed to do? How could he move forward? He was initially not interested in serving a service mission until he learned about the Utah Valley Service mission where he would have the opportunity to serve beyond the temple and the Bishop’s storehouse. Upon learning this, he felt like he wasn’t done and that there was more that he could do and was reassigned to labor in the Utah Valley Service mission where he now happily serves in the MTC. He shares with me a powerful testimony about the validity and power of service missions, talks about the growth he has experienced by serving one, and also discusses facing the stigma that his reassigned mission is less than his first mission. Blake also discusses the culture shock he faced in Brazil that triggered his anxiety so badly that it began severely affecting his physical health and the anxiety he faced about coming home.

Episode 8: What is a Service Mission and Should I Consider Serving One?

In this episode, Elder and Sister Wilkey discuss their roles as Latter-day Saint service mission leaders in the Utah Valley Service Mission and share valuable information about the way service missions are developing and all the different ways to serve in Utah Valley (which they hope will extend to other areas soon!). They share with me the similarities and differences between a service mission and a proselyting mission. They also discuss the role of parents in service missions and explain the involvement of parents better. They are very candid and honest about the best parts and hardest parts of serving the Lord as a service missionary while sharing real examples of the various experiences that service missionaries they work with have had. Finally, they discuss the stigma that still surrounds service missions and how they hope that will soon change.

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