How and Why to Stay in Contact With People After Your Mission
Staying in contact post-mission is no easy task. With the digital-friendly age and social media at our fingertips, it appears that connecting to people requires little to no effort on our part. Don’t be fooled, however, that it will be easy to look up to everyone you’ve met on your mission. Here are my suggestions for staying in contact post-mission and, more importantly, why you should do it.
How to Stay in Contact
- Buy yourself an address book before you enter the MTC.
- Collect full names, phone numbers, email addresses, and street addresses from investigators, companions, and ward members. Don’t skimp! Write down as much information as you possibly can.
You’re probably thinking that you won’t need all that information, but hear me out. Between the 18 months or 24 months that you’re serving, people are going to move; they may change phone numbers, get new email addresses, or only use part of their name for their social media profile. By taking these extra precautions, you won’t let anyone slip through the cracks. The people you teach are precious.
Stay in contact through Christmas and birthday cards or even weekly emails. You’re small acts of encouragement and support will go much further than you can imagine.
Why Do I Need to Make This Effort?
Missions are full of sweat, tears, blisters, a full range of emotions, and a downpour of heartfelt, pleading prayers. Even though you may feel alone, as you give up your former life to serve, you are actually making memories that will stay with you forever. Mission companions particularly will play a large role in your mission and undoubtedly will share many sacred moments with you. These experiences you have together can continue to be a blessing to you throughout your life. Let me give you a personal example.
Last General Conference, I heard from a dear former companion of mine. She lives in Lima, Peru. She’s a beautiful girl: thoughtful, detail-oriented, and kind. She had written me an email and explained her current situation. Much to my surprise, she was in a hospital bed. Her pregnancy complications had grown worse, and she was consequently losing her baby. It was her first pregnancy. Grief and sorrow overwhelmed her, but she was rallying. She bore her testimony. Then, to my surprise, she talked about the wonderful memories we had had together and how they were helping her stay positive. Despite being on the other side of the world and feeling altogether useless, I felt gratitude that we had maintained a friendship and could still be a source of comfort for each other.
I also understood at that moment WHY we need to stay in contact with people from our mission. We accept full-time missionary work for 18 months or 24 months, but we have the privilege to continue reaching out and loving those we served for the rest of our lives. Companions, recent converts, and ward members all need encouragement from time to time. Prepare now to be a light in their lives for years to come by following the steps above to stay connected. It will be a blessing to them, and it will prove to be a blessing in your own life.