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Friday, November 9, 2012

Mission Age Announcement Friday: She Was In Love with the Guy Who Just Left, Now She Needs to Tell Her Non-member Family that She Wants to Serve

Dear Readers,

While it's typically several months (sometimes a year or more) before an email I receive gets posted on "Dear Bro Jo", so many of you have thoughts feelings and questions related to the "Church Lowers Mission Service Age" announcement that I've decided to dedicate the next few Fridays to just that topic.

I look forward to your emails, questions, and our discussion of how this wonderful and amazing new course will change (if it does) our LDS dating culture and how it affects your lives.

Hope you enjoy the emails!

God bless,

- Bro Jo

March, 2012

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm not particularly sure why I'm writing this.

I'm sure I'll be jumping around a bit and maybe ranting about some things I've been wondering about.

I know you tell it like it is, and I want some general advice. I'm eighteen and soon to be nineteen in July. I recently joined the Church in October last year. I was actually baptized in between General Conference sessions. I was introduced to the Church by a friend I met in high school.

He was in a year before me, and he was two years older than me. He first invited me to church a week after I graduated high school, but I didn't end up going until a month or so later.  He left on a mission  in November of last year.

Yes, we did end up dating for three months before he left.

No, he didn't ask me to wait for him.

It's been nearly four months since he left, but I can't really picture myself even going on casual dates with guys. There's this one boy who I have known for quite a while, and I believe he is on the verge of asking me out. It scares me. I'm not sure what I'm doing exactly. Since he didn't ask me to wait for him, I'm trying to get out of that mindset. In a way I am waiting for him though.

I don't really want to go out on dates with other guys, and I write to him every week. He writes me nearly every week.

He used to be very diligent with writing me until I told him countless times not to write unless he wrote his family before me.

Nearly every Sunday after church I hang out with his family and have dinner with them. I love his youngest sister, and she is always disappointed on the Sundays I don't go to their house. I'm growing really close with his family, and sometimes I even give them updates on their own son.

His family is really like my second family. His dad gave me my new member lessons, and they were all a part of my baptism. I love his parents, and they seem to love me as well. I go to a family ward with them. I went to a YSA ward once to see if it was okay for me, but I felt like the family ward suited me more. It had a lot to do with the fact that his family would be there.

I also got to know people when I was investigating though, so it isn't just them. He tells me that he's grown to love me even more since he's left.

I am just a little confused.

I know I shouldn't put my life on hold until he gets back. That would be twenty more months of nothing, and I know it would drive me crazy.

Then at times all I want to do is wait for him. Only four months have passed.

Do you think that four months was enough time for me to already be ready to date?

I know that you're not the biggest fan of girls waiting for missionaries, but surely this is a rare occasion.

 - Unsure Sister

October 2012

Dear Sister,

Well . . . now it's been a lot longer than four months . . . and your 19th birthday has come and gone . . . how do you feel?

It's okay to take some time to deal with certain situations, but never a good idea to put one's life on hold indefinitely.

In general I'd say that you should go out with any nice guy that asks, especially if he's someone who could someday take you to the Temple.

The reason I counsel young women not to "wait" for the missionary that has left is because, more often than not, when he does come home they both find out that whatever they thought or hoped would be there . . . isn't.

Sure, sometimes it works out . . . and that's wonderful!

But even in those cases the relationship will be better off if she had done some dating while he was gone.

I'm glad you have such a nice family to bond with - what a wonderful thing!

And I'm so very glad that you've felt the healing love of the Savior in your life! Take one step at a time, and enjoy.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

A lot of time has passed by now, yes.

Well I still write the guy, and he writes me as well. I still have my Sunday dinners with his family, who I love.

The missionary and I talked it out and decided that worrying and thinking about continuing the relationship when he gets back is a little premature for now.

My concern isn't really about him right now though. I've decided to serve a mission of my own now with the age change from last Conference.

I started filling out my mission papers just last week.

I still haven't told most of my family, who aren't members of the church. It's mostly out of fear of what they'll say to me, especially my mom.   She was against me getting baptized in the first place and still won't talk about the church with me.

Do you have any advice on how I should prepare for my mission?

And any advice on how I should bring this news up to my family?

- Confused Sister

Dear Sister,

The Mission Preparation question is easier to answer.

I'm a reader (and a teacher) so I recommend studying "Preach My Gospel" and reading "Jesus the Christ". 

Taking any speaking opportunities you get, start a journal if you don't have one already, and if you can find a Mission Prep course at school or in your area, take it.

As for your family, that's a bit tougher.

This one is probably going to be the same advice I'd give for jumping in a swimming pool: make sure the water is clear, and jump in with as little splash or fuss as possible.

You need to tell them, and shouldn't wait any longer than those few days before you hit "submit" on your application.

Be gentle, and brace for hostility.

Don't take any attacks personal; smile and be loving.

In the same way that someone cannot be argued into conversion in the Gospel, neither will you be able to argue your parents into accepting your decision to serve.

In fact, when you think about it, this will be very good mission prep, too.

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Amberlie said...

Definitely pray before going into the conversation!

And make sure you state clearly, "There's something I'd like to announce to the family" when the time is right. It's not going to be easy if they're against your decision (it sounds like they will be), but be honest, stand your ground, and pray for guidance on what to say. Best of luck!