Before I went on my mission I knew that after I returned home I would look back on it with affection. As I was suffering through it I knew I would soon forget those same sufferings and now that I’ve been home nearly ten years (holy crap has it been that long already???) and I can admit that I was right all along, the mission was glorious. In fact, I’ve already written about my nostalgia and love for Guatemala here. I’ve been back twice and will hopefully return regularly throughout my life.
But those affections only go so far in the face of being asked if I’d do it again.
Knowing I’ll never do a solo mission again makes it easy to sit back and talk about how wonderful it was, but the prospect of a repeat instantly reminds me of its high level of suckitude. So, looking past the fact that the Church no longer sends married men on missions, I try to imagine an alternate reality in which I’m single and the Church is asking 30-year olds to go. Would I go?
But more interesting than if I go is how would I be different? Which rules would I shrug off this time around? Would I study the language more or less? Would I get along with my companions better or worse? The following is a partial list of things I’d do different:
- I’d listen to others more
- I’d be less judgmental
- I wouldn’t treat the rules as much like commandments as I did before
- I’d do more service
- I wouldn’t get up at 6:30 and would stay out later
- I’d play more soccer with members
- I’d embrace local culture more
- I’d never conclude that anyone was going to hell for not listening to me
- I’d always speak Spanish around Latin missionaries
- I’d share with my companion the spending money my parents send me
- I’d have more patience with my companion
Would you go again? What would you do different?