Transferred home: Adjusting to life after a mission

As Kevin Hawkins walked off the airplane on Jan. 20, he knew he had a few hours to wait. His plane from Chile arrived in Salt Lake City at 11:30 a.m., and the flight he was waiting for, a flight that originated in Korea, didn't get in until early afternoon. He and his sister Breanne were returning home from different missions on the same day. Since their arrivals were only a few hours apart, Kevin decided he would wait for his sister so they could walk out together.

With a few hours until she arrived, Kevin found a seat in the airport where he could sit quietly and think about the people he had just served and grown to love. He considered how he might never see them again.

He also contemplated the unknown road ahead.

Church. School. Work. Relationships.

All are things he has considered from a distance for the past two years. Now they forced to the forefront of his mind.

"Just coming home from your mission is an adjustment," he said a few days after he returned home. "It is a hard adjustment to not preach the gospel 100 percent of the time and to start working on your own life."

For Kevin, a mission is something he had worked and planned for his entire life. Stepping off the plane was a step into unknown territory, an uncharted course filled with many unknowns and big decisions to make.

Elder Hawkins — now known as Kevin — is not alone.

"It's actually tougher coming home than it is going out," said Randy Bott, a former mission president and religion professor at BYU. "Don't have unrealistic expectations; there is no way you can keep the same schedule as a missionary. You have got to make that transition to regular life."

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