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Backing Out of a Missions Trip: What You Should Do

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Church missionaries are prepared in advanced to deal with a whole host of problems and emergencies that may arise while on the mission. Missions are well thought out and are purpose driven. However, some situations do arise when a family or a missionary must back out of the original plan to return home or must deal with the unexpected.  These things do happen and leaving your mission post early is always an option. 

Reasons for Leaving a Mission Early

Plane in SunsetThere are several reasons why you may ultimately decide that you need to leave your mission early. More often than not, those who are faced with this very difficult decision are those that have left on a long-term mission. If a whole family is on the mission, the children may have a difficult time adjusting to the new life or demands of missionary work. It may put a strain on family life and relationships, and you may have no choice but to return home early.

Another very common reason why people abandon their mission is because there is civil unrest where they are living. Wars, disputes and political uprisings all make it very difficult and unsafe for many missionaries to remain in place. In fact, the United States government may make this call for you and you will have to evacuate immediately.

Yet another common reason for leaving mission work behind early is because of discontent among other missionaries and church members on the trip. Missions are high stress work and tempers and tensions can flare. If there are problems getting along with others, then your focus strays from your reason from being there in the first place. 

What to Do if This Happens to You 

Saying GoodbyeThere are a few points to remember if you are faced with this very difficult decision. First of all, you do have a choice. You can leave. A call to your mission agent or church will help you make immediate arrangements to come home. Missionaries are never “locked” into serving for a particular amount of time, although you will have to understand your terms of agreement.

The next thing that you should remember is that you always have support. Seek those who understand your situation and can offer advice when needed or who can simply listen to your feelings. At this hard time in your life, you need someone you can depend on and someone who will not judge you. Look to church members, family or other missionaries who have been in your shoes.

As you make your decision about whether you are going to leave or stay, you will be faced with many feelings. You will probably feel uplifted, as if a burden has been lifted off of you, at the prospect of going home. You will feel happy to see your friends and family. However, you will also feel sad about those that you are leaving behind and you will wonder if the mission was completed.  For those who do decide to leave early, or have to back out, the pressure and guilt may be immense. Just remember that you have to do what is right for you and your family.

Plane photo by  Cubbie_n_Vegas
Contemplation photo by JasonRogers

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