Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What are some good things to write to a boyfriend who is now a mormon missionary? —skitt

I was a Mormon missionary. Things it would have been helpful for people to say to me:

Be careful out there. Don't assume you're safe from injury or accident or illness because you're on the Lord's errand. Missionaries can and do get hurt, especially if they don't take care of themselves.

Be respectful of the people and culture. In Korea I saw missionaries take "funny" pictures at Buddhist temples, talk disparagingly in English about people right in front of them, etc. I'm not just talking about being a good example, but rather not carrying an attitude that everything about the local culture is stupid and inferior to our way of doing things. There's probably a reason they do things the way they do.

Live on your own terms. Mission life can be hard. The pressure to baptize is enormous. It's difficult work with little reward, and too often missionaries internalize the guilt trips put on them by companions and leaders when the numbers don't meet expectations. Tell him to give himself a break, he's a volunteer for heck's sake.

Oh, and send photos so he can show you off to the locals and other missionaries.

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