The following was posted on February 11, 2016 by Sister Tolman, Doran’s first mission president’s wife. A sweet message for all of to remember.
Posted: 11 Feb 2016 12:34 PM PST
Leaving missionaries in the field was piercingly painful. We grew to love each of them with a love not known to this earth. It was a tender blessing from God; every missionaries immediately became important and vital to us. We have missed them terribly since being home.
We certainly have a new perspective on early-returning missionaries. We as a people need to do a better job of celebrating what they have achieved rather than focusing on what was left undone. When a missionary returns home early, it is cause for celebrating because it signals the beginning of healing either physically, emotionally or spiritually. As we navigate this mortal experience and certainly this mission experience, we need to remember it is not always a straight upward course. Changes sometimes need to be made, and those changes can bring greater health and happiness if we handle them correctly. Wrap your arms around those missionaries; congratulate them on their service and their sacrifice. Help them to know there is healing and hope awaiting them.
Personally, trying to make sense of all of this has been a challenge neither one of us saw coming or had the ability to understand easily. How does one understand why things don’t work out like we planned? How do we come to terms with facing the painful fact that we could not complete what God had sent us to do? How do we reconcile our faith with the outcome we didn’t want or expect? It has been almost impossible not to look at where we fell short. What more should we have done?
These past six months have been some of the hardest we have faced. Some have asked what we have learned. I am not sure we are even to a place yet where we can formulate that into meaningful words. The Savior promised: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Quite frankly, it has been hard to find that promised peace.
So we try to live in a place of gratitude. Gratitude for the time we had with our remarkable missionaries. Gratitude for the sweetness of being in His service. Gratitude for the strength of each other. Gratitude for a family, a ward, friends and priesthood leaders who have loved and supported us; they have celebrated our service and recognized our sacrifice. Gratitude for the moments we do grasp His peace.
We have felt the prayers of all those of you who have reached to the heavens on our behalf. Your kind thoughts and concerns have sustained us these past six months. You have helped the healing begin. You truly have helped carry our burden, for which we will ever be grateful. Alofa tele atu.