Feeling trapped in a cycle of loneliness is something many young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may feel who returned early from their mission.
However, Andi Batt, a senior studying communication, created the support group Companions for Companions to bring hope and friendship to those individuals who feel the struggles of returning home early from a mission.
“Well I came home early — and it was really, really hard for me — and for a long time I wanted to do something to help other people,” Batt said.
Her service began in 2015 to the Washington Federal Way Mission but ended abruptly after two transfers when she was sent home.
“One of the hardest things about coming home was that I just didn’t know how to live with myself, let alone forgive myself,” Bratt said in a public Companions for Companions Facebook post. “The pain and grief were awful. To cope with it all, I decided to ignore and repress everything related to my mission so I wouldn’t remember my mistakes.”
Batt’s experiences led to her wanting to create a conference for her senior project where those who return home early from their mission can discuss their struggles in a safe place with others just like them. She hopes those who attend will find friendship while gaining strength in sharing and listening to the stories of their new companions.
Batt said her best advice for those who return home early from serving a mission is to not let it define and consume you.
“As time goes on it gets better and it gets easier,” Batt said. “Just let time heal you. Share your story if you can and are willing to.”
The Companions for Companions Early Returned Missionary Conference will be on Saturday, June 23, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the stake center gym located at 86 E. Seventh S.