News Story

Returned Missionaries Share Lessons Learned 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the globe have returned home prematurely.  However, rather than focusing on disappointment resulting from the truncation of their full-time service (18 months for women and two years for men), four returned missionaries from Gippsland Australia Stake share the main lessons they learned during their time away from home:


Sister Tyra Utatao of Lynbrook Ward (congregation) served in the Philippines Baguio Mission, 2019-2020.

The 3 main things that I’ve learnt from my mission are: (1) Loving the people! This is the most important attribute that a missionary needs to have when entering the mission field. People need to feel that you actually love them and that you’re there to help them; (2) Loving the culture where you serve! This is also another important attribute to have! In the Philippines, the people are so humble and kind. They live simple lives; I wish we could be more like them. They are the best people I’ve met in my entire life! (3) Seeing people change. This was the best uplifting thing that a missionary could witness! Seeing people, who knew nothing about the gospel, decide to become better people was the most memorable thing about which I can look back and say, “The gospel of Jesus Christ is true.” I’m grateful for the opportunity and time that I was able to serve the people of the Philippines, and mostly Heavenly Father!


Sister Cameron Moir of Moe Ward served in the Roseville California USA Mission, 2019-2020.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from serving as a missionary is the importance of service as a tool, not only to show love to my brothers and sisters on earth, but to show love to my Father in Heaven and my Saviour. I learned that it is easy to show our love for them through simple acts of kindness and that this was the best way to build the kind of relationship with people that allows us to share the gospel message. Another lesson was the importance of listening to the Spirit in all you do. It is the Lord’s work that we are privileged to participate in, so it’s best to let Him lead the way. Finally, I learned that you won’t always agree with what your leaders think; that agreeing with them is not as important as humbling yourself and submitting to their will as they strive to do as the Lord requires of them, then listening to the Spirit so you can do what the Lord requires of you.


Elder Joshua Fielding of Wonthaggi Branch (small congregation) served in the New Zealand Hamilton Mission, 2019-2020.

(1) There were days where I felt “less connected” to the heavens than usual. Maybe those days I was more casual with the guidelines, or something happened at home that drew my attention away from the work. I even had times where other missionaries’ behaviour distracted me and my companion. Without the Spirit on those days, I felt almost as if whatever I did was in vain, because it didn’t seem to be heaven-led. We must strive always for the companionship of the Spirit. Even now, without the calling as a full-time servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, I still try to maintain the companionship of the Spirit daily. It’s not something we have to give up when we’re released.

(2) Everyone is at different levels spiritually. Some people would be almost perfect at their ministering, callings and seemed to always be available for lessons. Others occasionally turned up to church on-time, partied on weekends and didn’t attend the second hour of church. But each one of us strives to do our best. What God considers OUR best, is different to the best He considers from our fellow saint down the road.

(3) Always be an example for good, even when everyone around you seems to be disobeying what you know to be right. Eventually, they will respect your level of commitment to the commandments.


Elder Llewellyn Lelenoa of Lynbrook Ward served in the Samoa Apia Mission, 2018-2020

In Samoa the missionaries are treated like kings and queens. Everyone believes in God and everyone lets the missionaries in to their homes to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with their families. Most people accept the message. Giving copies of the Book of Mormon to families is something I miss – it’s the way to gain a testimony of the restored gospel. The biggest lesson I learnt in sharing the message is this: the best way to share it is through example – through becoming a true disciple of Christ. We get up early to study, we become in tune with the Holy Spirit and live according to the gospel principles and mission culture. Alma 37:6 teaches us that “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.” We need [our homes] to become gospel-centred homes. Doctrine & Covenants 11:21 teaches us to “first seek to obtain” the Lord’s word before declaring it. Bonnie H. Cordon’s talk stood out to me from this April’s General Conference. The Lord’s invitation to spread the gospel is not about randomly waving a beam of light, but focusing it in front of others, so that they can see the light of Christ.

These returned missionaries exhibit a positive attitude in spite of changing circumstances and have learned lessons that will be of use throughout their lives. 

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.