True to the Faith

True to the Faith

The other night we had three soon-to-depart missionaries in our apartment. They were Elder Lunga Xolisa Mkutswana, Elder Llungisi Felix Thomo and Elder Lungelo Nyoni. We were discussing their future plans upon returning home; schooling, work, career, marriage, family, and remaining true to the Faith. It was one of those rare and very candid discussions about their concerns regarding the future.

As we shared our thoughts, it occurred to me that there are two general ways that returning missionaries fall away from the Church.

  1. The first is that life is too easy, as is often the case with Muzungus (whites) who return to the states or other first world homes. They can go to school or get a job and get married and, if they are not watchful, easily become relaxed about Gospel living.
  2. The second is that life is too hard, where missionaries from third-world nations go home to extreme poverty, unemployment, a depressed economy, unhealthy traditions and other hardships. Then life demands can drag them away from the Gospel they love.

Our discussion, therefore, centered on keeping alive the flame of testimony that was ignited in their bones as missionaries. They may find that balancing life challenges like education, employment, courtship and the filth of being back in the world clouds their eternal perspective.


We showed these Elders our Declaration of Faith which RaNae and I try our best to live. We developed this years ago and have modified it many times. We suggested that they carefully prepare their own declaration and take a stand.  We agreed to record them making their declaration just before leaving for home (see below). Then they would give follow-up reports in one and five years. If they did this, they would be far less likely to drift into disobedience or discouragement as life gets hard. They were all in.

Here are the tools:

These tools can help returning missionaries face their challenges with faith and determination while maintaining a clarity of vision.

Three Steps to Success

  1. There is an amazing power when a declaration is written.
  2. That power increases when it is spoken aloud to others.
  3. And having a sense of future accountability welds their resolve.

As these amazing Elders left our apartment that night, we were deeply touched with their wonderful faith. We pray that all returning missionaries will not allow the too easy or too hard challenges to pull them from being True to the Faith.

We invite your experience and input if you care to share.


On 16 April, 2015, these two Elders returned home from their mission. Before they left, they read their personal declaration of faith. Here they are.


Elder Lungelo Nyoni returned home on August 20, 2015.


  1. What great advice for beginning or returning missionaries. And because every member is a missionary it’s great advice for all of us.
    Thanks for the great thought.

  2. Thank you for the wonderful talk Elder Taylor. I felt of you love Thursday night. I have downloaded the worksheets and the example of you declaration of faith. Will start working on it soon. Love you both.

    • Great to hear from you, Elder. This will be good to see how these tools work for you two outstanding missionaries.

  3. The too easy/too hard that you wrote about is very true in many instances. I remember when
    our daughter was on her mission in Honduras she had several “native” companions who liked
    having so much money on their missions (more than they had ever had in their lives) and
    wanted to go shopping all of the time to store up clothing so when they went home they
    would have “more.” They would scrimp on their food, etc in order to save money. One
    companion prayed nightly to die so that she didn’t have to go home. A missionary son mentioned
    his comps from native countries who loved their missions solely because life was much
    easier than at home.

    I have noticed, however, that many times the person stays active for many years and
    then as pressures of work, the desire to get ahead, or just “resting on their past laurels” makes
    them less valiant and more lax in their scripture study and in remaining committed to the gospel.

    It surely is a life-time commitment pattern to keep enduring TO THE END.

  4. As far as frustrations go for returning home I would say one thing that is difficult is going from being completely independent and self reliant and needed by others to feeling very dependent and vulnerable. It feels like I don’t know anything about the world anymore and now I’m trying to learn it all over again. However things are getting better each day. I know that it will be for my good. I really miss the full two hours of study but I’m figuring it out.
    My advice to those going home is just to know that life at home isn’t perfect. There are also challenges there just like in the mission field. It still takes hard work to be successful. At the same time, I still feel like I’m progressing and learning because of the challenge, which is good. Change is all a part of God’s plan.


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