It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later

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I heard an inspiring story about a man who never said “Goodbye”, but always “See you later.” He explained that “Goodbye” did not ensure the hope and optimism of reuniting with whomever it was he was leaving or sending away. His story relates perfectly to missionaries and every “Goodbye” they give or receive. Instead of saying, “Goodbye” to an Elder/Sister, think of it as “See you later”, or “Until next time.” These departures between friends, family members and missionaries can be filled with hope and excitement.

I realize I am very optimistic about the farewell between missionaries and loved ones. However, I do know it’s hard to send off a missionary; 18-24 months is a long time. It is a great sacrifice from all parties. So, how do you do it? How do you turn goodbye into “See you later?” How do you make this send-off a happy experience?

The “See you later” Way:

Weeks/Months before Takeoff:

  • Stay optimistic.

    • Dwell on the positive points of missionary work, the service, the refinement of your missionary, the promised blessings. Do not keep these thoughts to yourself, but also express them to your missionary.

    • Count your blessings when you are weepy about their departure.

  • See you soon memories

    • Hold a dinner on behalf of your missionary.

      • Family Home Evening is a great time to highlight missionary work and focus on the work your missionary will be doing.

    • Have an open house for your missionary.

      • Make sure to invite friends and neighbors who are not LDS. They need a moment to enjoy the “See you later” spirit, and feel that their missionary friend is doing a great thing in serving the Lord.

  • Write your feelings/power of a card

    • Take time before your missionary leaves to write him/her a thoughtful card. Share your feelings and thoughts about your belief in the Savior, the Gospel, and missionary work. Write it at least three weeks before your missionary leaves. This way your thoughts won’t be rushed with the last-minute missionary errands. Seek for an opportune moment to share this card with your missionary.

  • Tell them you love them.

    • With every “See you later” tell your missionary you love them. Don’t limit your love to words, but show them you love them. Elder Bednar emphasizes the importance of this in his talk, More Diligent and Concerned at Home.

 

The Send-off: The day they put on their badge.

The “Send-off” day will be different, depending on your circumstances. Some family and friends will be able to drive their missionary to the MTC, while others will send them off from a local airport. No matter your situation, I suggest communicating these three points of support during this “See you later” moment.

  1. Express Confidence.

    1. Your missionary needs your strength. Encourage your missionary. Build him/her up with confidence and motivation.

    2. Prepare mentally beforehand, so that you can be a firm foundation for them.

    3. Share a scripture about the Lord’s confidence in them as well.

  1. Express your testimony.

    1. One of the sweetest gifts you can give your missionary is your personal testimony. Share your feelings about the Savior. The spirit of this small exchange will empower and brighten your missionary’s heart. Courage will conquer doubt, and faith will overpower any fear.

  1. Express your love.

    1. President Uchtdorf describes the power of love when he said, “Love is the guiding light that illuminates the disciple’s path and fills our daily walk with life, meaning, and wonder.” Your love for your missionary will support them in becoming a true disciple of the Savior.

    2. The action of expressing these feelings is as important as showing love to your missionary. Your words of love will stay with your missionary throughout his/her MTC experience and mission.

No “See you later” will be the same. You know your missionary and what he/she needs to hear and feel. These suggestions will help you recognize the influence of a powerful and sincere “See you later.” It’s okay to be emotional. We all express ourselves differently. Yet it is important to remain confident and supportive in your missionary’s decision to serve the Lord. This experience is a time to fill your missionary with hope and joy that he/she will “See you later.”

You’re not alone. Many others have sent missionaries to far off lands. Here are some of their thoughts about their experience:

“Letting go…of your Missionary”

What to Expect at the MTC

For more ideas, visit:
Make the best care package ever!
The Influence of a Missionary’s Mother
New to the MTC?