Right up there with primary, this is a sacred cow for me – perfect for this series. I’ll list off my own best and worst experiences, and you can do the same in the comments!
- The MTC: For the first few weeks I didn’t want to be there, and for the last few weeks didn’t want to leave. Something about that doesn’t sit right with me. I also loved singing in groups in the dorms, but the men in charge routinely banned singing in the halls, which I never understood. People also got into arguments over vending machine use on Sundays (really). A few Elders also nearly got into fights playing basketball (really).
- Getting into an argument with an inactive member. I still feel bad about this one.
- Developing a near phobia of women. We generally were not supposed to proselyte to women, so I got used to avoiding them. It took me 5 months after I got home to feel comfortable enough to go on a date. I loved the elderly ladies in Japan though. Especially those that would deflect the conversation by offering us something to eat.
- Arguing with my second companion about why my first companion and I got along better.
- Seeing people get baptized and then disappear the following week, and then refuse to answer their door.
- Not being able to baptize an investigator because he was “homeless.” (He had been coming to church for years.)
- The MTC: singing in the choir, learning a new language, being around so many like-minded people, and the ice-cream sandwiches. I also really enjoyed most of my teachers. They really seemed to care, and they understood the challenge we were facing learning the language, but they pushed us anyway.
- Living 24/7 with 15 plus other guys who for the most part were all working every day to be humble, patient, and hard-working. I really learned a lot about living with people, and came out of it a lot slower to be annoyed or upset. Many of my companions taught me valuable lessons just by their example. Even the companions I didn’t always get along with were great missionaries. Not a bad seed among them. I was blessed in that department.
- Finding a testimony of Christ – It took wearing His name on my shirt, reading Jesus The Christ two times (I love that book, even though Craig hates it, haha!), and nearly two years of teaching, but it finally happened.
- My mission presidents. They were very different from each other, but great men that I still admire today. I also learned valuable lessons about church leaders, such as: they often differ in opinions.
- Learning a new language and getting to know a new culture.
- Seeing people change their lives for the better. Seeing them still doing well two years later when I went back.
- Making one of the best investments of my life. The personal growth and experiences of my mission were greater than any years of college and graduate school I have had (7 so far, although my marriage and having my kids has been better!).
What are the best and worst experiences of your mission?