Returned missionaries at BYU-Hawaii said it’s hard for them to transition back to normal life because they keep looking back and have find a hard time dating.
Struggle during the transitional period
Soon after coming home from the mission, the first things students described noticing was missing their missionary life. “I used to sit down and think about the great moments during my mission,” said Mark Eyo, a sophomore from the Philippines studying TESOL and political science.
Maria Sasaki, a sophomore from Japan majoring in TESOL, said, “I was still trying to live like a missionary and do everything according to the Missionary Handbook.” She was so caught up in the missionary life that she didn’t spend time thinking about her education and future career.
Ammon Ioka, a senior from Pearl City studying hospitality and tourism management, said, “I was so stubborn with my planning. I tried to make sure everything would happen on the schedule no matter what.
“Dating was frustrating. I know I have to do it, but I just didn’t know how. I would think, ‘What if I’m dating the wrong person.’”
Switch focus and move forward
Focusing on her intention and desire - what she wanted to “become in the future” - helped Sasaki to move forward. said, “I realize that I can’t just do full-time service forever.”
Sho Sasaki, a junior from Japan studying human resource, said “I realized that I’m not a missionary anymore. I switched my focus more toward my future and family.”
For Ioka, focusing on his wife has helped him to change his focus and maintain his spirituality. “I try to put my wife first in all the things I do. I’d rather miss an assignment or take a day off than missing the time to spend with my wife,” Ioka shared.
Stay motivated with spiritual things
Being home for so long and being caught up with all the worldly responsibilities, the students stay motivated to do “spiritual things” like daily scripture study by remembering what and who they taught.
“I try to remember the devastation I felt when my investigators don’t keep their commitments,” said Sho. “I don’t want to make the same excuse and I want to remain a good example for them.”
Ioka said, “I think of my role models in my life such as the leaders I look up to. I think about what they would do. I try to become more like them, then eventually, I will become more like Jesus Christ.”
Sho said, “When I set a goal, I put small action items under to help me achieve the big goal.”
“Put the Gospel and your family first, then everything will come into balance,” said Ioka. “Grades don’t give you eternal life.”
Sho said, “I know a guy who received low grades for his classes because he spent too much [time] helping his classmates. Do what is best for your situation.”
Although he originally wanted to attend BYU at Provo, Ioka stated, “The process helped me accomplish what I have today with my wife. So, set long-term goals and follow the Spirit. The learning process is more important than achieving the goals.”
Maria said, “Your struggles don’t last forever. Put trust in the Lord and do what you desire to do.”