“Trunkiness” is something that many missionaries encounter. So how can they avoid it and how can you help them focus on the work?
How does one avoid being trunky? Well first let’s define what “being trunky” is. One of my former companions, Elder Choe, defined “trunkiness” as follows: “Trunky is when any missionary, elder or sister, is at a point in the mission where they have a foot in their luggage. They’re there, but they aren’t there.”How true those words are! I’ve always thought of it as being ready to go home, get married, and start a family. If at any time during your mission you have thought those things, chances are you have been trunky. So, how do you avoid being trunky on your mission? To be honest, you really can’t. Every missionary will at some point be trunky to some degree or another. You just have to learn to deal with it.
You will often come into contact with things that remind you of things back home. For example, in every single one of my seven proselyting areas, there was always a car that looked like mine. Every time I would walk by them, I would think to myself, “Oh how I wish I could drive that.” And because the areas in my mission were only a couple of blocks in size, I would have to walk by those cars a few times per week. Yep, trunky.
Although you will always be tempted to be trunky, the following suggestions are a few things that helped me. If you apply these principles, you will be able to be “embrace the trunkiness” without it bringing you down.
1) Have hope!
Hope (as known in the gospel) is a knowing that God will fulfill His promises to you if you keep your end of the agreement with Him.Have hope that the Lord will provide for you. That hope includes things such as receiving big and small blessings from serving a mission, finding new investigators, helping people join or come back into the Church, and other blessings. As President Eyring said in one of his recent talks, “If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts, the power to endure will crumble.”We must have hope!
2) Don’t focus on yourself—focus on others!
Lose yourself in the work. Don’t go through the mission; let the mission go through you. Love the people you are serving. Though cliché, these common sayings really do wonders for any struggling missionary. By the end of your mission, you won’t want to leave the mission or the people there. You won’t want to go home. That was the hardest part for me. You will feel like Ammon as he spoke to King Lamoni, “Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die.”
3) Don’t count the days, make the days count.
If you count the days they go slower. As President Uchtdorf said, “Doesn’t it seem foolish to spoil sweet and joyful experiences because we are constantly anticipating the moment when they will end?”Enjoy your mission while it lasts. The missionary handbook says, “Time is one of the most precious resources Heavenly Father has given you. The period when you are able to serve the Lord with all your time and all your efforts is extremely short. Use it fully and wisely. Such an opportunity is a privilege.”
During the last transfer of my mission, my companions would repeatedly say, “Trunky, trunky, trunky,” as a joke whenever they noticed that they or I were feeling trunky. Usually afterward, the trunky feeling left. It is easy to play off a sudden trunky thought, but if you are only concerning yourself with how long you have left, it will not be as simple as just laughing it off.
5) Rely on the Savior.
Of course, if you’ve been serving for a while you know what it’s like to use the Atonement often. Learn to rely on the Savior always, but especially in time of need. Don’t turn away from Him or your mission leaders when things get hard. Remember gratitude in all things. Continue to be obedient to the mission rules. Work hard. Be diligent. Pray fervently. Study the scriptures. Christ will help you keep pushing when you can’t push anymore. He is the balm! Allow the Savior to heal you. The Atonement doesn’t just cover sins; it covers all unfair or hard things in life. With His help, you will succeed. Two men can do anything as long as one of them is Jesus Christ.