As part of our Missionary Mondays series, we are also going to highlight women who have served full time missions in the past. Once a man or woman comes home from serving a full time mission they are often referred to as a Returned Missionary.
Juli is a returned missionary who served a full-time mission in the Arequipa, Peru mission in 1982-84. She is 48 years old with two beautiful teenage daughters. Juli says this about her stage of life, “Actually, I wish I could go back to my mission days, they seemed far less stressful and carefree, but I wouldn’t trade having my kids and husband!” Juli loves crafts, and wishes she had more time to do them. Juli also love home decorating, fitness and nutrition, and spending time with her family.
When asked how she prepared for her mission Juli responded. “I did a lot of soul searching and wondering, ‘Am I cut out for this?’ After much prayer and scripture study, I thought, ‘Yes I am!’ I felt a calm reassurance. When I got my mission call, I thought I had to be this perfect person who knew all of the scriptures and be super spiritual. I thought, ‘How am I going to measure up and be able to be a good example and teach these people when I am unsure myself?’ But, when I got to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT, I felt so much at home even though I was thousands of miles away. I felt such a strong bond to the people preparing to serve with me. I had a hunger and need to get out in the mission field. I am that type of person that once I set my mind on something, I go for it whole heartedly and give 100%. That is how I felt about my mission.
“When I got to Peru, I knew I was supposed to be there at that EXACT moment. My mission call came during the Christmas season. My mom was disappointed. She asked if I couldn’t postpone it until after the New Year. I said, ‘Absolutely not!’ I had an undeniable feeling that I should get all of my affairs in order and go on my mission at my appointed time. Actually, if I could have, I would have liked to have gone sooner.”
When Juli was asked what made her decide to serve a mission she said, “I had attended a singles retreat [the Church has a program for young single adults, providing spiritual gatherings, fun activities, opportunities for service, etc.] where a lot of young adults where there as well as several men and women who had previously served missions. I could feel their energy and their love for their missions, and that made me feel like there was something missing in my own life. Many of my friends were either getting married or going on missions. I had completed nursing school and was working at a nearby hospital, but felt like I wanted something more in my life at that time. I went into my Bishop’s office and inquired about the possibility of going on a mission. He jumped up and said, “When can we start filling out the papers?” That’s all it took, and with the support of my Bishop, my congregation and my family I went forward.”
When asked if there was a time where she knew God answered her prayer while on her mission Juli responded, “I would have to look in my missionary journal, but there was a time where my comp and I usually took a certain route home, and this time, we had decided to take an alternate route, on the road we met a man who was selling pots and pans (of all things.) We said we didn’t need any, but that ‘We are representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, would you be interested in hearing our message?’ He said ‘Yes.’ and during that conversation we made an appointment for our 1st discussion with him.”
Juli has since enjoyed keeping in contact with the people she met while serving in Peru through her mission’s website.
If you have served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and would like to share some of your experiences with our readers, please email us at mormonwoman (at) gmail (dot) com. Or, if you would like to share your conversion story, please email us at the same address.
For more Missionary Mondays articles, see here.