This was an exciting week. We had the best Thanksgiving ever! Our oldest daughter, who has been serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the last 18 months has completed her mission and returned home. We are so proud of her and the many lives she was able to touch while she was serving. She had mixed feelings about coming home, and when she was officially released from her mission it was a bit sad even though she was excited to see her family and to sleep in!

The mission that our youth serve now is similar to what it’s always been, in that the goal is to bring people closer to the Savior, whether they join our Church or not. But how they go about doing that has dramatically changed. With the increased technology available and ever since Covid, they have been using a lot more online resources to reach out and connect with people. Our daughter had the opportunity to help with the Social Media portion of her mission quite a bit and learned how to create online content that would publish peace and help them connect with those who were interested in hearing more about Jesus Christ. She left the mission with a unique to our times set of skills that she can now take into her life going forward to help her in future schooling and business interests.

Another big change that has come about more recently is how much communication missionaries are able to have with their family and close friends. Obviously as times have changed, we went from almost nothing except an occasional correspondence to more regular letters to emails and now messaging apps. Missionaries used to be able to call home only 2 days a year, Christmas and Mother’s Day. Now they can video chat with their families once a week. This extra ability to call has given missionaries another layer of support to bolster them through struggles as well as keep families involved in missionary work in their own areas because of how they see their kids/siblings changing for the better because of missionary work.

Our daughter has grown so much through her mission, both her commitment to our Savior Jesus Christ, as well as her confidence as a person, and her ability to handle situations as they arise and come out on the other side a better person. She had so many wonderful experiences, but the mission isn’t all peachy. She had a number of scary situations along the way, but always, with the Spirit, was able to navigate and stay safe. She came home with a lot of great habits like studying her scriptures daily, praying, time management, being efficient and effective in what she does, focusing on what is important, and loving the people she has opportunity to come in contact with. Most importantly, she came home with a peace that I hope she can hold on to for the rest of her life. Her mission blessed her and our family in more ways than we may even be aware of at this time, and I’m so grateful for her willingness to serve the Lord and the people of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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