When we were in Tonga last time President Pearson gave a talk to the Senior Missionaries at a Family Home Evening about the importance of our bonds with our family back home. While it is fully expected that ALL Senior Missionaries make sacrifices to serve, and missing out on special family events is a big part of that, President Pearson told us that it was acceptable to have any of us go home briefly if we had a family situation that we felt we needed to attend. Of course, the trip would be totally at our own expense, and we are expected to come back as soon as possible. But he made it clear that as Senior Missionaries the rules are different for us than for the young elders and sisters. He said to let the spirit be our guide in counseling with the Lord about what things we would request leave for.
A big part of this mission has been about developing ourselves spiritually and learning to recognize and heed spiritual promptings. So far, most of those promptings have had to do with how to fulfill our assignment. Over the last couple weeks, though, both Larry and I have had some new promptings telling us we need to go back to Idaho for a short time.
At first we wondered if we were just feeling homesick or not wanting to miss out. So we really made it a serious matter of prayer. In the days that followed we both felt a strong sense of peace that going home over the holidays is the right thing to do. Part of it has to do with Aaron and Stephanie going to the temple. But somehow we feel there are other reasons too, perhaps some we won't know until we get there, or might not ever know. Yet we have a powerful sense of direction making it clear to us that this is what we should do.
So we are going through all the steps to get permission cleared for us to go. First, we talked to our manager, Mike Higgins. He was fine with it, once we assured him we really would be coming back. Next we need to get the okay from our Mission President. I'm pretty confident that will not be a problem since we already know we will have President Pearson's support.
At first I was quite concerned about the expense. We are not wealthy and this will cost a big chunk. However, when it became very clear to both Larry and I that this was not just about our wishes, but a clear direction of something important for us to do at this time from the Spirit, then I began to let go of that worry and just trust that it would be ok.
We are trying with all our might to follow these practices.
I am also mindful of the lesson taught by President Monson on the importance of following promptings as soon as you recognize them:
Sometimes it is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to have all the answers of full understanding of how things will work out before taking action. I'm working hard to learn to recognize the spiritual promptings I receive and to have the faith and trust to act on them quickly. I don't always get it right. In this particular case, however, I feel a definite peace that we are doing exactly what we need to do, even in the absence of knowing all the whys.