Members of our Christian church often serve a mission. The church website states:
Missionaries generally begin serving when they are from 18 to 19 years old. Many retired seniors, men, women, and married couples also serve missions. Missionaries serve from 18 months to 2 years. Missions are voluntary, and missionaries are not paid for their service. Missionaries come from around the world, and they serve wherever the Church calls them. While serving full-time, missionaries are official representatives of the Church.
My husband got home from his mission over 6 years ago. He served in Albania. He loved the area in which he served and had amazing experiences. Some of the experiences will stay with him for the rest of his life. Yet all of his mission photographs remain in digital format. We don't have an album or book documenting his mission. I attempted to bring the photos together, leaving space for journaling so he could document later, but I realised that I had no idea how much space to leave. We have talked about his mission quite a lot, each time we talk about it there seems to be new stories I haven't heard before.
As I've talked with My Handsome Man about his missionary experiences, I have been thinking about questions to ask returned missionaries that would prompt memories and stories. I started making a list of prompts and came up with what I thought was a decent amount. I got My Handsome Man to read through the list, asking him for any more ideas he can think of that would encourage all the stories from a mission. My Handsome Man doubled the number of prompts with his ideas.
I think it's important to document all aspects of a mission; from the moments when the missionary is feeling homesick, to the spiritual highlights, to the ways in which they spent their downtime with their companions. What a fantastic record to help teach children and family members how serving has impacted your life.
Missions are often referred to as 'the best two years', it is only right that those years are documented and recorded. Most missionaries keep written journals throughout their mission but, when I write in my journal, I don't think about anyone else reading it. Compiling stories from the mission with photographs means the missionary can write their experiences with an audience in mind.
For a pdf copy of over eighty prompts to help document an LDS Mission, click the image below: