Recently, I had a sweet new sister missionary email me with trainer problems. Her email stated,
“My trainer and I just aren’t getting along at all…like I’m pretty sure she hates me and isn’t talking to me for the past three days. I don’t think I did anything but I’m just so confused and I’m just having a really hard time. Can you just pray for me? And any advice? How did you not get along with your trainer? Is it just a trainer thing and once you get past the first few months things are better. Honestly I wish the transfer was now but it’s in a whole other month! Ahhh! I’m going to go crazy. I’ve just prayed to Heavenly Father for help and I know he will deliver and I can get through this.”
Dear sweet Sister ( ),
I am so glad you emailed me about this. Don’t try and push through the tough times by yourself. First, rely on your Father in Heaven and the Atonement. Those two things are going to get you through the next month and for the rest of your life whenever times get tough. I had a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father before my mission…or so I thought. But you will never grow closer to Him then when He is the only one you can rely on and the only one to turn to. My trainer and I didn’t get along from Day 1. I was SO surprised! We were very different. She didn’t think the way I did. I thought that going on a mission would be the greatest adventure of my life and I had imagined myself walking alongside my companion, Book of Mormons in hand with “Called to Serve” playing in the background and dust flying behind us…Epic. But it’s a bit of a wake-up call when you are first adjusting to a missionary lifestyle. I remember feeling so guilty and un-Christlike because I didn’t like my companion. I was supposed to be this perfect missionary! Let me tell you right now, there is no such thing. That was one of my greatest personal struggles on the mission…not. being. perfect. I tried to be consecrated but I fell short every single time. And that is where the Savior along with His Atonement became my best friend. He made up for it all and told me again and again to stop beating myself up about it.
So, here’s what I learned from my first two transfers with my trainer:
1. We are still girls. Yes, we are set apart as full-time missionaries but we are going to have bad days…and even worse days once every month.
2. Her decisions are not my fault. Yes, we are responsible as a companionship to look out for one another but if she decides not to like me…that is her choice.
3. Service. Try killing her with kindness. It’s a great way to work on self-pride. (*Warning- this one can be the hardest to do)
4. Focus on the work. Do everything you can to just plunge in and think of others.
5. There ARE angels around you. The unseen ARE THERE. You are never alone.
6. Focus on the tender mercies that God WILL send to help you get through the right now.
Remember, to those who are keeping the commandments of God and doing everything they can to do His will, He has promised that “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper”. I would like to say though, that later towards the end of my mission, I was able to look back and realize that I appreciated my trainer so much. When I was the one training, I discovered that she had actually done quite a lot for me. My respect for trainers began to grow. I have never liked being told what to do and being submissive and gentle was SO HARD FOR ME when I was first being trained as a missionary. But I learned to check my temper and to pick my battles wisely. And now, I am realizing that those first few months with my trainer have prepared me for marriage and for life in general. Your mission will shape you into what God can already see and what you cannot. Be patient and live the next few weeks by WWJD. You may ask, what would Jesus do? Well, He would love your trainer and have patience with all her imperfections. Do your best to do the same. …It will not be easy.
Ask your family to put your name in the temple. Missionaries already are being prayed for in every temple that dots the earth. You are getting many prayers! I remember well how hard it can be out there and prayers will make such a difference. I promise you that.
Remember you are loved!