One of the responsibilities Terri and I have as part of our mission is escorting sick or injured missionaries home.
Occasionally missionaries are hurt or injured or become so ill that they need to return home. The decision to send a missionary home is not an easy one, and goes through many levels of church leadership. But in reality the decision becomes quite obvious: if the missionary is too injured or too ill to work, or, if the medical care they need will take a long time, or, if the medical care they need is not available in the mission field (along with other reasons)– the decision is made to send the missionary home to heal.
All missionaries sent home for medical reasons are officially released– this way neither they, nor their family, needs to continue to live mission rules while they are healing. If and when they are sent back to the mission field their calling is reinstated.
Once the missionary is completely healed and the doctor says he can return to the mission field, they can be sent back out. Sometimes they return to their first mission, and at other times (for many various reasons) they might be sent back into the field, but to another mission–perhaps a mission closer to home, or that has better medical facilities, etc.
Once the decision is made to send the missionary home, they are usually accompanied by someone with a medical background, to make sure they made it home safely. Last week Terri and I escorted a missionary home to Canada (this would be our second trip with a sick or injured missionary–the last time was in December and we went back to Salt Lake).
This trip was an arduous one! We first traveled to Guadeloupe on Monday to pick-up the missionary, then back to St Martin (St Martin is a much better hub for long flights to other countries). We arrived back to St Martin Tues morning only to get on a plane to Canada that afternoon. Sometime after midnight we arrived at our destination and handed the missionary off to the parents (we were excited/worried to see them!). The missionary would see the doctor the next day.
We stayed overnight in Canada, then the next day we traveled to Seatle, then to Charlote, then back to St Martin–arriving on Friday. So the whole week was spent traveling and aiding a missionary to get home to their family and to better medical care. We have lost all sense of space and time…
And we may need to do it again next week!
And we thought it was going to be a slow week….
But this week is transfer week, and we find out tomorrow who is getting transferred!