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How Many Of You Have Gone Back To Your Old Mission Field?


Buzzard

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This doesn't apply if you served in the California Anaheim mission, or anywhere it would just be a nice road trip to swing through from where you live now. I mean a trip where you had to get on an airplane and that was the reason you went-to go see your old mission.

I served 35 years ago in Europe, never been back. Before my health goes, I'm fantasizing about going back, but between the spousal unit getting a new set of knees this summer and BYU home football games I have tickets for, it would be October before we could pull it off. I think/hope I'd still be in decent enough shape to make the trip, though the weather would be shaky and in that part of the world the leaves will already be off the trees, so not the most scenic time of year, but well, it HAS been a few decades.

Part of me thinks it would make some great memories with my family and a chance to stroll down some of those old French and Belgian streets again, part of me wonders if it will just be cold and rainy (It can be that time of year) and too much time has passed for it to be anything but a strange foriegn country. Except for a couple days in Paris, it's not like we will be doing the touristy areas.

So, did any of you go back after a prolonged absence, and what was your experience?

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I haven't but I am thankful for google maps! I wouldn't expect anyone to remember me though, although I would love to go back to LA again. In fact a restaurant we ate at several times was featured on Gordon Ramsay's 'Kitchen Nightmares'...

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I've been back three times. This was Ohio. Once as a quick visit, once to scout a possible move and finally once interviewing at OSU where I was able to drive up to Kirtland (had never been as it was not in our mission).

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Ironically enough, Uncle Sam recently moved me to my mission area. I currently live in the city where I was trained. I don't remember much at all about most of my areas (including this one), not my address, the neighborhood I lived in, or even the names of anyone in the wards I attended. It's been a long time since I was here. 28 years..

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My wife and I recently traveled to Brazil, which is where I served a mission. It was an amazing trip and something I am very glad I was able to share with her. Brazil and my mission are such a big part of who I am I can't imagine living my whole life without her experiencing it. In many ways it felt like going home again, and I shed a few tears when the trip ended knowing I may never be able to return. Somethings had changed in my absence, but nothing had changed enough that it was unrecognizable. The people were as warm and inviting as ever, and I think the food actually improved with time (if that's even possible Brazilian food is amazing). From my experience I would wholeheartedly recommend it. It brought my wife and I closer together, and gave us an experience we will remember for the rest of our lives.

-guerreiro9

Edited by guerreiro9
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My wife and I recently traveled to Brazil, which is where I served a mission. It was an amazing trip and something I am very glad I was able to share with her. Brazil and my mission are such a big part of who I am I can't imagine living my whole life without her experiencing it. In many ways it felt like going home again, and I shed a few tears when the trip ended knowing I may never be able to return. Somethings had changed in my absence, but nothing had changed enough that it was unrecognizable. The people were as warm and inviting as ever, and I think the food actually improved with time (if that's even possible Brazilian food is amazing). From my experience I would wholeheartedly recommend it. It brought my wife and I closer together, and gave us an experience we will remember for the rest of our lives.

-guerreiro9

What mission did you serve in and when did you serve there, Warrior9? I served in Recife from 1990-1992

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I haven't but I am thankful for google maps! I wouldn't expect anyone to remember me though, although I would love to go back to LA again. In fact a restaurant we ate at several times was featured on Gordon Ramsay's 'Kitchen Nightmares'...

You ate at a five star restaurant on your mission? I was lucky to eat cabbage and horse-meat hotdogs.

I went back once, but I didn't have the time to reconnect. I served in Japan and it certainly has changed. While I was there I noticed a return missionary who had been absent about 20 years. He had three teenagers and a wife in tow and had gained at least 80 pounds. I dreaded the thought that would be me in 20 years, but it came out that way.

Edited by Ron Beron
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You ate at a five star restaurant on your mission? I was lucky to eat cabbage and horse-meat hotdogs.

I went back once, but I didn't have the time to reconnect. I served in Japan and it certainly has changed. While I was there I noticed a return missionary who had been absent about 20 years. He had three teenagers and a wife in tow and had gained at least 80 pounds. I dreaded the thought that would be me in 20 years, but it came out that way.

ha..ha..........ha...........no! that place wasn't a 5 star restaurant! It's called the Capri Restaurant in Eagle Rock, California. Sadly this is one of my claims to fame. I saw this on TV and I died a thousand deaths, I totally ate there several times, ugh

[media=]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXeH_T2Zs4g

Edited by Duncan
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If you are going back to see the culture and the country then it can be a great experience. If you are going to see some of the people you knew and/or baptized, expect a bitter-sweet outcome.

I baptized four people. It's been over three decades. I know two went inactive, one passed away of old age, but active to the end, and the last I heard, one married a guy, converted him, and he was a BP in southern France. But even that information is over twenty years old. No, if I go, I plan to go to church in a branch-now ward-where I served, but I doubt anyone has any bright memories of one of hundreds of elders who have served there. My Dutch companion did come back and marry a girl from that branch, so some of the old folks might remember him, and I can at least tell them that I was his companion.

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I imagine facebook will bridge the disconnect many missionaries feel to their areas. I wish I had facebook way back in 06 so I could have at least added people's contacts and kept them fresh in my mind before they became only vague memories.

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I went down with some of my friends to visit my mission during Memorial Day Weekend. It was fun; I visited a few families and went to a ward that I served in. Good times, I was happy a few people still remembered me.

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I had a really terrible experience in my first mission area, but it was a real nice small town in a rural area (lots of vacation homes and communities in the mountains, which made for slow tracting). A few years ago, I found myself on a business trip nearby, and I drove a few hours to revisit the town. I spent a few hours walking around the main street and neighborhood where our apartment was. It was strangely therapeutic, and I ended up feeling a lot better about those first few months.

But it was especially nice to be able to get back in my car, drive out of the area, and get on a plane on go home to my wife :)

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ha..ha..........ha...........no! that place wasn't a 5 star restaurant! It's called the Capri Restaurant in Eagle Rock, California. Sadly this is one of my claims to fame. I saw this on TV and I died a thousand deaths, I totally ate there several times, ugh

[media=]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXeH_T2Zs4g

Oh...Kitchen Nightwares....yep, been to a few of those. I remember this one. You have my sympathy and my Tums. Eagle Rock is right over the horizon from where I live in Mission Viejo. Edited by Ron Beron
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I went back to WV and toured my mission. My mom thought it wierd that I didn't want to see members or past investigators. I just couldn't remember were most of them lived and I had no phone numbers. I thought it would be too wierd to just show up. My future wife even toured with us. We were not even engaged at the time. I plan on going back in the future. More than likely I wont make it back to WV just to Virginia Beach or Nags Head. I dunno we will see. I wll say that Parkersburg WV had a really nice hotel that we stayed at. I was really surprised.

Edited by Mola Ram Suda Ram
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Well, we just applied for our passports and put the deposit down on the trip. So away we go! At least in three months or so. Besides attending church in one of the branches I was in 35 years ago, I'm looking forward to seeing some of the historical stuff you don't get to see outside of your assigned city like the Battle of the Bulge museum in Bastogne, Belgium. My daughter is jazzed about Versailles, and my wife just says she is looking forward to hearing me speak French for a week and a half.

I do think that when you go back to your old area, since you got to know it so well, you see things that tours in big buses don't even think about, Like Luxembourg City (It's gorgeous), or the cathedral in Tournai, Belgium that took 600 years to build, so the front is low and square, as you progress back through the building there are several different styles, until you reach the back of the church done in full gothic style complete with flying buttresses. I could go on and on about sharing my old stomping grounds with my family, plus seeing some of the things I didn't get to see all those decades ago, lets just say I am looking forward to everything except spending the money. From what I've been reading, everything is a lot more expensive over there. Low-end restaurants running 25 euros per person. Times three, at $1.30 per euro....comes to a hundred bucks a dinner, and that's not even at a swanky place. Be still my cheapskate heart!

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Buzzard,

Part of me thinks it would make some great memories with my family and a chance to stroll down some of those old French and Belgian streets again, part of me wonders if it will just be cold and rainy (It can be that time of year) and too much time has passed for it to be anything but a strange foriegn country.

I've never had the experience of living in a foreign country as a missionary (I know: "So why are you chiming in, Ken?" :huh: Sorry! Can't resist! ;)) but I will say this: notwithstanding the ways you've changed, and notwithstanding the ways it's changed, and whether or not you have a chance to meet anyone who was there when you were first there, I suspect that if you do get an opportunity to go and to take your loved ones, you will feel a Spirit-driven sense that, "This is familiar. This"-in some sense, at least-"is home!" No matter what happens to one's relationship to the Church and the Gospel in the intervening years, for most of us, a mission is, in some sense, a formative (indeed, a transforming) experience. You leave a part of it there when you go, and you take an enormous part of it with you when you leave ... and no one will be able to take that away from you no matter what else happens in your life.

Here's to your health holding out long enough to be able to have that experience, and to share it with as many of your family members as are able to join you. Godspeed! I wish you well! :)

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I had a really terrible experience in my first mission area, but it was a real nice small town in a rural area (lots of vacation homes and communities in the mountains, which made for slow tracting). A few years ago, I found myself on a business trip nearby, and I drove a few hours to revisit the town. I spent a few hours walking around the main street and neighborhood where our apartment was. It was strangely therapeutic [emphasis added by Kenngo1969], and I ended up feeling a lot better about those first few months.

But it was especially nice to be able to get back in my car, drive out of the area, and get on a plane on go home to my wife :)

Isn't it interesting how things we don't necessarily expect to have that effect on us actually do sometimes? Glad you had that experience. :)

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Calmoriah,

Supposed to be great food and atmosphere now, Ramsay went back and apparently gave them straight A's.

Wow. And Ramsay doesn't even grade on a curve! :shok:

;)

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I used to want to go back to southern Brazil where I served almost 40 years ago, but I won't remember anything or anybody. and I certainly don't have the money. If I had been able to go many years ago it might have been fun, but now I think it's best just to keep the old memories.

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I used to want to go back to southern Brazil where I served almost 40 years ago, but I won't remember anything or anybody. and I certainly don't have the money. If I had been able to go many years ago it might have been fun, but now I think it's best just to keep the old memories.

There are those, too. :)

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My wife and I went to Germany and France in 2009. I spoke at the FAIR Conference, and we did a fireside in Strassbourg, France. Not a day goes by that I don't think about people, places, and events from my mission (which was also my dad's mission), and it was a special trip. We want to take our four kids to Germany, but air fare has skyrocketed since 2009.

We ran into the missionaries in my favorite area (a town of 30,000 in East Germany), and I got caught up on how people and things are doing.

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And, I got a referral for the missionaries in Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe right before boarding the train to go to the airport to go home. He was a Russian who spoke good German and really likes America and Americans, and he offered me some of his coffee. I declined, and he told me “it’s not like I spit in it.” I told him I don’t drink coffee out of religious reasons, and he was curious. I got his contact information and forwarded it.

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You do find, when you look up converts and investigators, that there are tragedies and triumphs. I learned while over there in ’09 that an elder from our mission from Köln (Cologne) was completely inactive (the man with the white mustache in the picture from the FAIR Conference served as a counselor to him in the EQP. The man talking to the girl on the left was a government official over “new religious movements” (i.e., cults), and he is talking to a girl with testimony issues who left her mission to Las Vegas early.

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On the other hand, I also learned from the missionaries in Halberstadt, East Germany that a sister who had formally had her name removed has since been rebaptized. I’ve learned not to get too hung up on where people are at at any given time (both as a tragedy, or “strongest convert ever!”) because things can change.

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