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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Relationships for The Soon to be Missionaries

Dear Bro Jo,

As like most of the people who email you, I've read a lot of your blog, but I've never emailed you with a question.

So here goes.

My friend got his mission call a few weeks ago. My papers are also in, and I should be receiving my call any week now.  We'll most likely be leaving around the same time.

This friend and I dated a bit our senior year.

I was new to the area, and after a few months of living here, we became friends.

We would hang out at Church dances, we went to Sadie's and Prom, but we both decided to tone down the romance and just be friends since we are both preparing for missions and don't want to risk anything.

However, we have both made it clear that we want to write each other while we're gone, and are open to the idea of dating once we're both back from our missions.

I also explained to him that since my mission is 18 months, I'll be returning home before he will, and I'll be attending a semester of college.

If I get asked out on a date, I'm not going to say no just because he's still away.

Also, if I meet someone else and I feel like it's the path I'm supposed to go on, I'm going to follow it.

Basically, I'm not going to go out of my way to wait for him.

And he agrees.

He said that he doesn't expect me to wait for him.

I told a friend of mine who's like an older brother to me about this conversation and he did remind me that just because he said he doesn't expect me to wait, that doesn't mean he doesn't *want* me to wait.

Judging by his reactions during the whole conversation, he wants me to wait, but understands if it doesn't work out that way.

Anyway, that's looking way too forward into the future. I have no idea how that'll turn out, I just have to wait and see.

I'm trying to be logical and not get my heart set on anything in case it doesn't work out a certain way.

What I want to know is how often we should be writing each other while on our missions?

I'm thinking once a month, if that.

Our missions are not about each other, and I don't want to distract him, nor do I want him to distract me.

I do want to keep in touch though.

Is once a month too often?

I have no idea.

I've never had anyone ask me to write them on their mission before, and this guy is more than a friend-- he's my best friend.

I've prayed about it, and staying in contact with him is definitely something I should do.

I don't know if he's "the one" (honestly, I don't really want to think about that quite yet. Mission comes first), but I know he's going to be an important aspect of my life in some way or another.

I'd follow the mission letter rules -- no romance, no mentioning of plans for returning home, etc -- I just don't know how often is too often. I'm probably over-thinking this, but that's why I'm asking you.

I'm sure once I get a mission leader of some sort, he could also give me an answer, but I'd really appreciate your thoughts as well.

So yeah. That's the story. Any advice at all would be awesome.

Sincerely,

- The Prospective Missionary





Dear PM,

My general feeling is, regardless of how close or not close a guy and girl may be, that one letter a month is enough; just as you said.

Anything more is too intimate, even if the content is strictly mission related.

You write him while he's in the MTC, then wait to get a response. (Not waiting until you hear back before you write again is the hardest part for many of us.)

When you hear back you can start crafting your letter, but don't send it until 3-4 weeks have passed. 

If he writes during that time, include responses to all of his letters in your letter that will go once the 4 weeks since the first letter was received.

If he complains that he's not hearing from you enough, that's a red flag that he's focusing more on you than the work, and if the Spirit confirms it wouldn't hurt to tell him so, perhaps by saying something like "sorry I haven't written sooner, but I've been so busy with missionary work; I'm sure you're busy, too" (that last part makes it more affirming and less of a lecture).

That's my opinion, anyway.

And it doesn't change even if you're allowed to email each other.

You could include each other in your weekly "dear family, this is my generic email telling everyone how the work is going" email if allowed by your mission president and his, because those are not so personal, if you wanted.

The goal is to reduce the personal one-on-one contact so that there's less distraction.

Sister Jo and I at one time had three missionaries in the field.

All have noted that one challenge with the age change is the extra difficulty that younger missionaries are having setting aside their social tendencies and focusing on the work.

The Jo Boy who was most recently in the MTC was disappointed, though not surprised, in just how much flirting was happening when all of them were supposed to be training . . . but that's a challenge that I think can be overcome.

I'm sure you'll be a great missionary!

God speed,

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks so much for the advice :)

It's what I was thinking, but I wanted a second opinion on it.

Well, I got my mission call today and I just opened it. I've been called to serve in the (location withheld) mission!

I report to the MTC on March 27th.

I am so excited!

Thanks again for the advice!

I'll make sure to follow it :)

- PM




Dear PM,

Congratulations!

March 27th is a Very Cool day . . . wishing you the best,

- Bro Jo

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