LDS Mission

Brian Smith, Australia Brisbane Mission (Mental Health)

"As I came across (Jonah's story again), it had a new meaning.  In all my years studying the scriptures, I never gave this verse a second look.  As I have gone through these experiences though, the verse makes perfect sense.  This life, I believe, is to find joy - whatever that joy is. "


For almost twenty years this story has been one of anger, but over time the anger began to leave...

                My story starts on a plane leaving Brisbane Australia on October 3, 1997, I was only six months into my mission.  You see my family and I moved from the “flat lands” of Colorado just over a year prior.  We lived in a small farming community and were the only Latter-Day Saints within a 25 mile radius.  The school we attended was just as small.  Again we were the only members of the church that attended.  With that, for me, a since of pride, and not the good kind.  We didn’t really have interaction with the youth of the church, so our friends were mostly non-members, in some ways this was a good thing because it kept me in check.  I could not do anything outside the LDS norm.  The branch that I grew up in had about 50 members.  It was there that the feeling to serve a mission grew, and I started my paperwork there as well.

                The summer of 96’ we moved to Salt Lake City.  The ward we moved into had about 200 members.  It was also during that time when the urge to serve a mission was fading.  While I was in high school I met a girl from another State while at a youth conference.  We would write each other over the course of two and a half years.  Toward my last year in high school we talked about what we wanted to do when we graduated.  It was then that marriage was brought up, and in February of 97’ my call to serve a mission came.  I was to report to the MTC in April, and like many young kids, I felt like I had everything all planed out.  I had a job to come back to, a girl to marry, and I was set.  What could go wrong with this plan?

                The MTC was everything I heard it would be - very spiritual.  Time seemed to fly by, and before I knew it, I was at the airport with family seeing me off.  Within the first four months in the mission field I went through two missionary companions, and both were at the end of their missions.  I was in my first area for five and a half months.  Within those four months I helped baptize four new members into the church, but it was also during this time that something was changing inside of me.  I was no longer feeling the “spiritual high” from the MTC, the rejection and insults were starting to leave their mark on me, and I was starting to take them personally. 

             I was also struggling with my own testimony.  I never really had a testimony of my own, and was going off of my parent’s testimony - which manifested itself at a zone meeting.  My zone leader had everyone put their chairs in a circle, and had us go around and bear our testimonies.  As it came my turn to stand and bear mine, I couldn’t say anything.  I couldn’t say that the church was true, because I didn’t have that confirmation of the truth.  That was scary for me, because the one thing that a missionary has in his or her defense is a testimony.  I would write my mother and express feelings about everything, and she would write uplifting letters back with love in her heart, would say that she believed in me and loved me. She said that the Lord sent me there to find those who need the gospel in their lives.  I held on to those letters for years after I came home. 

                 I have often heard members say that a mission is where you can get a testimony - and that is true, to some extent.  For me, it felt that I was too far gone, and the anger that was starting to grow was unbelievable.  I had never felt anything like it before.  It was a deep anger, and it was showing signs everywhere.  I started to hate the mission, my missionary companions, and the Wards that I was serving in.  It was around this time that I was writing my girlfriend back home, and would tell her my about my mission and that I was thinking of coming home. One day I received a letter from her mother, and it haunted me for months after I came home.  In one of the paragraphs it said “be the kind of missionary that will take my daughter through the temple.” That was just one of the many letters I received in the final weeks of my mission. 

                Three weeks before I went home, I was transferred to the city of Brisbane.  It felt like everything was coming apart.  My last week before I went home, my companion and I were on splits with the AP’s, and as we were walking the AP asked me something that, again, has hunted me to this very day.  He asked “what are you going to do when your Ward judges you for coming home?”  I fired back that they would have to walk a mile in my shoes before they can judge me.  I didn’t realize how wrong I was.

                As I was on my last leg of my journey home, I boarded a plane with about five or six missionaries going home as well.  I didn’t think too much of it at first, but as we landed in Salt Lake I had to walk through almost everyone’s “welcome home” parties.  My mom, my sister, my older brother, his wife and newborn son were the only ones at the airport to welcome me home - no ward members, and no bishop.  It was one of the most depressing walks I had to do.  As my mom drove me home I remember looking at the sky and it was full of very dark looking clouds.  That should have been a sign of what was to come.

                My first Sunday back in my home ward, I had an elderly couple approach me and asked “what are you doing here?”  I tried to explain, but before I knew it she said that she was glad that the missionaries that taught her family the gospel never quit, and she turned and walked away.  It felt like someone just punched me in the stomach.  I had received comments like that and others in the weeks that followed.  It got to the point where I gave up on saying my prayers, I lost faith and started a deep decline into depression.  The plan that I had going for me by that time was destroyed.  I had no girl, and no job.  I was alone and that was not good for me at that time.  It was within the first four months of being home that I began thinking of suicide.  I wanted the pain to stop.  Nobody wanted to be seen with me, friends turned their back on me, and I had a bishop that didn’t believe me.  I had no one to turn to. No priesthood leadership to help me.  I was put in the Young Men’s Presidency, but that didn’t help.  All I got was put downs.  I stopped praying because in my mind I gave up on His mission, so why would he help me in my time of need?  It is sad to say, but it was true.  In my mind it was drilled that I failed, I didn’t serve the full two years, it was a failure.  My parents tried their best to try and talk to me about what happened on my mission, but I did what I had always done - I close myself off.  I would lash out in anger over the smallest of things. I would be by myself most of the time, and didn’t let anyone get too close to me.  I asked myself what the point was - I failed that was the end of it.  I could count on one hand how many ward members reached out to me. 

                The only bright spot was that I had a loving Stake President.  He saw me as a son God who tried his best to serve.  He was the only one that I could turn to, but it still didn’t take the pain away.  I remember being released from my mission, and I sat in the chapel and cried my eyes out.  The anger and the pain was growing faster now than in the field.  One night I reached a breaking point, a night that the pain was unbearable.  That night I was going to make it stop: suicide. 

                      My cousin wanted me to go with him to a young single adult dance, and I think he knew that something was up.  I met him at his parents’ house and we went to the dance.  As we arrived, we made our way up to the second floor of the building.  I was in a spot that I could see the dance floor.  I saw a girl that I hung out with before my mission, but then I noticed a girl, and that was all I could see.  As we made our way down to the dance floor, I ran into this same girl, and she asked me to dance, but I told her “no.”  She was with a girl that turned her back on me, and I didn’t want to be around her.  She didn’t move, but asked me again.  She said that she would protect me from the girl who had hurt me.  I was taken back a bit.  I didn’t know this girl, but she knew me.  We danced, and for the first time in six months I felt protected, and as though I was not alone.  This girl later became my wife! 

                 The struggles I experienced continued while dating my (future) wife.  One Sunday I was so upset that I walked out of a meeting at church, and vowed that I would never come back again.  I was told while on my mission that for the ones who come home early, their spiritual side stops progressing.  I didn’t want to believe that, but it was true for me in that period of my life.  For the longest time, my spiritual side stopped growing.

                The other side of the story is this, a choice.  I had many choices to make back in those early days when I returned home from my mission.  I could have chosen to take the “high road” and let the comments roll off, instead, I chose to take them personally.  Another more important choice was forgiveness.  This was something new for me to understand.  Forgiveness, for the longest time, just stuck in my throat, my thought was “I did nothing wrong, why do I need to seek forgiveness?”  As I take a closer look, I can see that I did everything wrong - including finding fault in the leaders and in the members. 

                 As I studied the scriptures, I found D&C section 64 verse 10 “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.”  Another one is found in the book of Jonah.  In chapter 4, Jonah becomes angry because Nineveh begins to repent.  In verse 4 the Lord is speaking with Jonah, and the Lord asked Jonah a question.  “Then said the Lord, Doest well to be angry?”  Later on in the chapter, the Lord repeats the same question.  That question stayed with me for some time.  The more I thought about it, the more I felt that the verse was speaking to me.  Then you throw in 2 Nephi 2: 25, “Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.”  As I came across this, it had a new meaning.  In all my years studying the scriptures, I never gave this verse a second look.  As I have gone through these experiences though, the verse makes perfect sense.  This life, I believe, is to find joy - whatever that joy is. 

                Now to those that maybe going down this path like I have, I would like to share with you some things that my mother shared with me many years ago.  I would like to share some quotes from that letter that may shed some light in your darken path.  She said: “Accept your life as it is today, and move forward with your life, and keep the Lord by your side.” “You can overcome anything that Satan can throw at you. If he can keep you from going to church, doubt your testimony, and doubt the decisions you have made in your life, then he has succeeded in turning your heart from the Lord.” “You can’t go back and change anything that happened in the past, except ask the Lord for forgiveness and then you have to let those things go, never worry about them again.”  Here is the one that stands out on its own: Not one of us is perfect, and we can’t judge others about anything, we should be busy keeping ourselves in tune with the Lord.   

            I want to say, as I have had time to really take another look at my experience, I realize that I have been on both sides of the spiritual spectrum. I have been on the prideful side, and on the humble side. I’ve also learned lessons on forgiveness and on self-power. Self-power is something new that I have learned, and would explain a lot of what I went through. When you take the word of offense personal, you give your power to those people that offend. When this happens, your forward progressions stops in that moment. It takes a long time to get that power back. You pretty much stop caring about everything, going to church, saying prayers, and going to the temple. This list can go on. Where I want to be spiritually, and where I am today, is still so behind the curve, and I have to fight each day to stay on track.

            I have also taken a different look at my mission as well. I have come to terms with it all. I have seen for the first time in a long time what a blessing my mission was in my life. In those six months I saw first-hand the power of the Lord. I was able to see his hand in everything. Yes, I came home. Yes, things were said. Yes, I reacted foolishly. I have come to see that the time I served was served honorably. Was it the full two years? No, it wasn’t, but I gave it my all. For the longest time I saw it as a failure, and that was because I gave my power away. It put a dark cloud over what truly matters. For years, I kept all of my mission belongings in a box. Year after year, move after move, that box stayed with me. A few years ago I started to get into BBQ grilling. It was around this same time that I decided that I needed to get rid of the contents in that box. I had all of my letters and mission letters in this box. One Saturday I was out of fuel for my grill, so all of the contents in that box went up in smoke. Those were some of the better tasting burgers I have ever made!

            In closing, my story comes from a different generation. My story has some turns, and some regrets, but the major thing that I have come to learn is that we are all God’s children. We are all on the same path. We are all in different stages of the path, but still on that same path. Some stumble, some have to crawl, some take a little longer, but are we not all pointed in the same direction? I was asked a few questions a while ago: “Why don’t you leave the church? If you are not happy, why not find another church?” I told the guy that I would have been lying if it hadn’t crossed my mind, but why would I leave something as awesome as this? Yeah, things were said, but I take full responsibility for acting the way I did. My Stake President at that time said it best – “We can’t control what our members say.” It’s true! I have worried for many, many years about those comments. It doesn’t mean the church is not true, and my wife taught me that as well. She told me repeatedly that the gospel is true, not the members. If I would have listened to her back then, I think I would have come to terms with this a long time ago. I couldn’t find another church that gives you opportunities to improve yourself, that teaches you never to give up, and to keep trying. It’s the gospel that teaches you about forgiveness and the power of self-worth. It teaches us to “perfect the saints.” I’ve witnessed too many miracles on my mission to doubt the truthfulness of the gospel.

                I leave with you my testimony:  I know the church is true, I know that God lives, I have a firm testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I know that the Lord had me go through this to teach me about humility and forgiveness.  I don’t think I would have learned it any other way.  May this help whoever reads it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.      


Misty Schumann, Alpine German Speaking Mission (Physical Health)

"The hardest part for me was the uncertainty for 8 months. 8 months of not knowing what I was supposed to do with my life, and not knowing what was wrong with my health, and why this was happening to me. I felt like I had been robbed by God." 

Misty (right), with her companion, Kimberly Eden, taken at the Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany

Misty (right), with her companion, Kimberly Eden, taken at the Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany

       On January 20th of last year, I left on my mission to the Alpine German Speaking Mission. My Mission was the “dream mission” for me. It covered Southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the top of Italy. My grandparents are from Germany, and it is the same mission my dad served in. I felt a connection to my ancestors, and like I was continuing the German legacy in my family. When I was in the MTC I had a friend from England who struggled and wanted to go home. We were in the England MTC, so it would have been so easy. Her parents even told her that if she wanted to come home to just call and they could drive 30 minutes and pick her up. I explained to her how different it was for me. I told her that I could never go home early and that I would rather die on the mission then go home early. I explained to her that I would bring dishonor to my ward and family, and that there were members who would reject and disown me in a way for coming home early. I remember very vividly the words leaving my mouth “I could never leave the mission before my 18 months are up. Never.” Needless to say, I shot myself in the foot with that statement.

          I was a transfer into my mission and had what my mission called the “golden power.” My companion and I were teaching and finding with a lot of success, and I was extremely blessed with the gift of tongues. This is also when my right pupil began to randomly dilate and cause a little bit of eye pain every so often - but it wasn’t of major concern. I was still able to do all our work and carry out the normal missionary standards. I saw a few eye doctors, and they thought it was just from the headaches I was also experiencing, so I didn’t really think anything of it.

          By this time, I was halfway through my second transfer in the field and on my way to a zone training where I would be giving part of the instruction to all the other missionaries - in German. I was on the train with my companion and a set of Elders when my Mission President called and asked to talk to me. He asked me what I had thought about the doctor’s appointment, and told him that I thought it was fine, and I would just take some Tylenol when these headaches occurred. This next moment is when my life turned upside down - He proceeded to tell me that he had a strong impression that this was a lot more serious than what the two of us and the doctors were taking it, and that I needed to go home. I was in complete shock. He told me he felt I needed to seek medical answers at home in America with the support of my family, and that this was the number one priority in my life. He said I would be gone within the week. I had absolutely no say, and no choice.

          As I sat down next to my companion and the Elders, I must have looked like a ghost, and then the tears just started falling. I don’t think they ever really stopped for the next month. My mind was racing: “How could this happen to me? I thought I was supposed to be on a mission? Am I not doing well enough? What am I supposed to now? What will my family say? My parents are going to be so ashamed. My ward is going to be so ashamed. Where does my life go from here?” We sat in silence, but my mind was truly in shock at the uncertainties that I now faced.

          When we got to the zone training, I told my companion, and she just held me as we both wept.  I pulled myself together for 20 minutes and gave my instruction to the missionaries. After the conference I received a blessing from one of the office Elders, and I was filled with peace. My mind was still racing with all the concerns, but I felt at peace that I had done what the Lord sent me to Germany to do, and that he needed me somewhere else.

          That week flew by as I said goodbye to my precious investigators, bearing the strongest witness to them of my love for them and this gospel. When I had my exit interview with my Mission President I was surprised. I thought he would tell me to figure my health stuff out and then to come back to the mission, but he instead expressed so much and gratitude on behalf of the Savior for my sacrifice and service. I felt so humbled. He told me that for this point in time I had fulfilled my mission, and that I should focus on getting answers about my health. He also said it was appropriate to search for an eternal companion - which scared the heck out of me.

          The 23 hours traveling home were torture, but I made a choice on that plane - I knew that the road ahead was not going to be an easy one, but I decided I was not going to let Satan, or anything, or anyone take the things I knew away from my testimony. I promised myself that I would read the scriptures and pray every day - even when I didn’t feel like it. I promised myself that I would go to the temple every week. I promised myself that I would fill my life with good things so that there would be no room for Satan to drag me down. I can honestly say that had I not made that choice, right then and there, that I would not be here, or active in the gospel right now.

       My family has a kind of unique way of handling things, and I was so afraid of them rejecting me and being disappointed in me. I hesitate sharing this next experience, but it’s the truth, and some of you may be able to relate.

       I had no desire to see my family. I did not miss them. I was loving my mission, and coming home was one of my biggest fears. I thought back on my experience with my companion in the MTC and thought “God must be having a good laugh right now. I really shot myself in the foot, didn’t I?” When I saw my family I was exhausted from being awake for 48 hours. They all hugged me, but it was not your typical returned missionary-excited-airport-reunion that everyone dreams about. It felt more like a funeral. It was 1:00 in the morning Salt Lake City time, so I wouldn’t be getting set apart until the next day. As we drove home, my dad started going on about how he had to fix this, this, and this on my car, and how I owed him this much money. I was just like, “Are you serious… You haven’t seen me in 5 months and that’s what you want to talk about?” As I’m sure many of you can relate - laying alone in your own bed again felt so strange. I just cried and prayed that I could get some sleep.

       The next morning I went to get set apart, and my parents came with me. My Stake President was very gracious about it, and gave me all the information about LDS Family Services and the support group. He asked if I would speak in church and give a homecoming talk, to which I was a little bit apprehensive about, but grateful that I was treated like a normal RM.

          Giving my homecoming talk was hard, but I am so grateful I did it. I shared experiences about the people I taught and how they had a change of heart, and how I was having a change of heart, and that I was learning to accept Heavenly Father’s will for me. I am so grateful that my ward mostly accepted me with hugs and love and support. There were those who asked, “Why didn’t you just get a blessing?” or, “Don’t you have enough faith to be healed?” but I learned a lot from those interactions too.

          The next few months were a blur of doctors’ appointments, but let’s just say that my Mission President was inspired of God to send me home. After getting an MRI, they found multiple lesions on my brain that they thought were tumors at first, and then Multiple Sclerosis. My symptoms started to get way worse and really scary. I didn’t come home for mental health problems, but they hit me when I came home. The first few months I told myself that things would get better and that I could do it on my own. After 3 months of only sleeping 3 hours a night because I was so anxious, and then being so depressed and weighed down during the day, I finally went and talked to some of the people at the church and received some help. So, if you’re feeling that way then don’t put off getting help!

       The hardest part for me was the uncertainty for 8 months. 8 months of not knowing what I was supposed to do with my life, and not knowing what was wrong with my health, and why this was happening to me. I felt like I had been robbed by God. On my mission I was the happiest I had ever been in my life, and He took it away from me. But our missions aren’t our time - we are on His time to do what He wants, and just because we came home earlier than anticipated does not give any less value to our service. So when someone asks if you served, say proudly “YES, I SERVED A MISSION!” Own it. There is no need to qualify it with… “but I came home early,” or “only for 2 weeks.” The Lord accepts all our offerings the same.

       I actually just found out this month what is wrong with me. After 10 months, 3 countries, 18 doctors, 60 blood tests, an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, an EEG, a spinal tap, a HIDA scan, 6 MRI's, 3 CT's, a PET scan, 5 ultra sounds, an ECHO, TEE, and about 25 different possible diagnoses, from Multiple Sclerosis, to brain tumor, to sarcoidosis, to lymphoma, WE FINALLY HAVE A DIAGNOSIS! - Patent Foramen Ovale. There's a hole in my heart and an aneurysm that's been letting blood clots go to my brain, killing parts of my brain, and causing little seizures and strokes, which is why I have lesions, migraines, and weird eye stuff going on. Hopefully they'll be able to go in and repair the hole so I can move on with my life and have no further damage. This last year has been a roller coaster and nothing what I planned it to be, but I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that let's us go through hard things so we can learn and become what He wants us to be!

       One of the greatest blessings in my life was when I chose to turn my will over to the Lord. A lot of us have a lot to carry. It is too much. I would invite you to turn it all over to the Lord. Trust him. Trust him with your life. He will lead you with work, school, dating, callings, missions, families, and any other decisions that are important to you. I know this because I have lived it. Nothing about my situation changed when I made that choice. In fact, things got worse; but I felt so much light and at peace because I knew who was in charge and in control of my life.

[Disclaimer: We at Mission Fortify have asked ERMs to submit their experiences with returning home earlier than anticipated from their mission service, and we will publish a new story every week on the "ERM Blog." While we encourage ERMs to be honest about their feelings and experiences, Mission Fortify does not necessarily endorse or support the views expressed in every story. It is our hope that these shared experiences will fill other ERMs with hope and encouragement - as well as reassuring them that they are not alone in their struggles.]

Nathaniel Jones, Mexico, Mexico City Mission (Anxiety)


"I felt like I failed the Lord by not finishing out my mission. I was in the belly of the whale like Jonah of the Old Testament...I did not know what to do. "

Nathaniel had to leave his mission in Mexico City due to anxiety, but he found another opportunity to serve the Lord as a full-time Service Missionary

Elder Juan Uceda once said, “It is comforting to know that we worship a God who is merciful and who allows His children many chances to learn His ways and be obedient to them.” I know this was the case with me.

I have wanted to serve a mission all my life. I love being with the missionaries. So when the time came to put in my papers, I was so excited and also nervous like most people. I still remember when I received my call. I was in Lake Tahoe with the Priests from my ward, and I waited to open it the day I got back. I invited many of my friends over including the Elders. They were all excited for me. When I opened my call, I messed up while reading it. I said “…you are hereby called as a México” instead of “…you are hereby called as a missionary”. I was embarrassed but went on. I was excited to go to México. I would finally be putting my four years of Spanish to good use.

Fast forward three months. I received my call to México, México City South Mission in June of 2014, and in September I reported to the Provo MTC. I was scared and really sad to leave my family, but even though I had my hardships, I loved my experience in the MTC. I was there for six weeks and had two wonderful companions both from Washington State. Elder Stout from Sammamish who is actually giving his homecoming today and Elder Peterson from Camas. Elder Stout and I were the only ones in our district to go to the México City South Mission. The others went to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Panamá, Cancun, Guadalajara and Tuscan, AZ.

One of my most memorable experiences was being able to sing in the Priesthood Session of the 184th Semi-Annual General Conference with my two companions. I absolutely loved every second - from practicing for 8 days, to the actual performance. It will forever be one of my fondest memories.

A few weeks later, early in the morning Elder Stout and I boarded a plane to México City. I was so excited to be in México. It felt a little weird being in a different country with a different language, but I really enjoyed it. We got settled in with another district and met our trainers the next day. I actually met my trainer on the ride from the airport to a place they called “La Casa Amarilla” or the Yellow House.

At first, I was really enjoying the mission life, but latter on it became really difficult. I remember one time I was in the restroom of our apartment, bawling my eyes out from the stress and homesickness I was experiencing, and thinking “I cannot do this.” Then lyrics from a song I used to listen to popped into my head. They read, “Don't worry about a thing 'cause every little thing gonna be alright…” From then on I knew the Lord was on my side.

Unfortunately, things got harder, and at five weeks and five days of being in the field, I came home due to my anxiety. I felt happy and disappointed about being home. Happy because I was out of that hard time, and disappointed because I felt like I failed the Lord by not finishing out my mission. I was in the belly of the whale like Jonah of the Old Testament. I did not know what to do.

I found out that I could not return to the field as a full time missionary due to my anxiety and, surprisingly, I was elated because I did not feel good about possibly going back out. I still did not know what to do though. Then, one day, my dad and I were talking and the topic of serving a service mission came up. I thought to myself, “Why didn’t you think of that?” After that conversation, I went to the places where I knew I could find service missionaries. I went to the Family History Library where they needed service missionaries, and the institute where they did not. The Family History Library sounded fun, but it did not feel right. My father and I had another conversation after I went looking and he mentioned serving in the mission office. That idea hit me like a ton of bricks. I really wanted to serve in the mission office.

So I brought this idea up to my Stake President when we had one of our interviews. I will never forget what he said after I told him that I wanted to serve in the mission office. He said, “You have a three percent chance,” because this was where every service missionary wanted to serve. I felt a little sad. I really wanted to serve in the mission office and I felt like I was denied that opportunity.

Then President Marston of the California Roseville Mission said that he wanted to see me, my parents, and my Stake President in his office. We walked in, started with a prayer, and then got started. President Marston started out by thanking us for coming in and then told me that he was in need of somebody to serve with a Hmong Elder who was in need of a companion. He asked me if I was willing to do so, and I accepted. He then said I might have to learn Hmong, which was very prevalent in the Yuba City, Oroville and Chico areas of the California Roseville Mission. I was excited because I wanted to learn a new language, and was excited to do so. He then told me that I was a blessing to the mission and was an answer to prayer.

Later that day I met with Elder Mitchell (my new companion) and President Marston to talk about how to find Hmong people in the southern parts of the mission. That is where my life changed for the better. I got a second chance at serving a mission, and I was so happy! Thanks to this wonderful mission, I was able to learn a little Hmong, go to many Zone Conferences, go to Hmong Conference, help out with transfers, get another wonderful companion, use my Spanish, travel throughout the mission, and help the missionaries and the Mission Presidency. This has been a wonderful experience and I am sad to be ending it so soon.

[Disclaimer: We at Mission Fortify have asked ERMs to submit their experiences with returning home earlier than anticipated from their mission service, and we will begin publishing a new story every week on the "ERM Blog." While we encourage ERMs to be honest about their feelings and experiences, Mission Fortify does not necessarily endorse or support the views expressed in every story. It is our hope that these shared experiences will fill other ERMs with hope and encouragement - as well as reassuring them that they are not alone in their struggles.]