When Eric Langlois opened his mission call two years ago and read, “Italy, Milan,” his family yelled in excitement, “We’re going to Italy!”
Parents in the past have traveled directly to the mission field to pick up their children, but the new trend that many prefer is coming straight home and returning to visit their mission after they are officially released.
Langlois’s older brother served a mission in Ecuador and his parents traveled to South America to pick him up. After that experience, they formed a tradition of traveling to the lands of their children’s missions. But rather than traveling to Italy to pick Langlois up, they decided to wait a few weeks and go sightseeing with their son.
“I didn’t want to be still set apart when my parents came because I wanted to go swimming and do other things I wasn’t able to do as a missionary,” Langlois said.
Langlois returned to Italy to visit just two weeks after coming home from his mission. The Langlois family went to see the sights of Italy for a week. He said he loved being able to take his time visiting families and having the freedom of not being on a tight missionary schedule.
“It was a little weird because I walked in the places I served and still felt like a missionary,” Langlois said. “I wanted to stop and talk to people.”
Overall, Langlois’s trip was a successful, rewarding experience. He said he loved taking his family to experience the culture and people that he told them about in his weekly emails for two years.
“Being able to take my family to experience the places I had served in was really cool, especially for my family,” Langlois said.
Easton Trejo also traveled back to his mission in Oaxaca, Mexico with his family. Trejo’s parents made it a tradition to visit their children’s missions after visiting their oldest daughter’s mission in Chicago. Trejo’s parents have traveled to four different mission areas with their children: Chicago, Switzerland and two different missions in Mexico.
Trejo left for his Mexico, Oaxaca mission a year after his brother, Romney, began his mission in the Mexico City. Both brothers traveled with their parents to Mexico two months after Trejo returned from his mission.
“We visited Romney’s mission for a week and visited some of the sights you’re not able to see as a missionary, like the Pyramid of the Sun,” Trejo said. “Then we went to my mission and did the same thing.”
Trejo said he felt that visiting his mission after returning home was a better option than being picked up because he had been home for a couple of months which gave him time to miss his mission.
“It was exciting to go back and get the food because you miss it,” Trejo said. “My dad loves Mexican food so it was fun for him to get to try to the food.”
Traveling to missions outside of the U.S. is exciting for families to go sight seeing and experience different cultures and food. Stateside missions are a desired destination for return missionaries as well, often for different reasons. Preston Wenger traveled back to his Washington, Tacoma mission after being home a year to visit all the people from his mission that he loved.
“What I missed was not the area or the sights, but the people that I served for two years,” Wenger said. “I wanted to go back and spend time with them, not as a missionary.”
Tacoma, Washington is 897 miles away from Provo, about a 12 hour car ride. Wenger made the trek with a mission buddy so they could visit their favorite families. Missions in the states are often easier to visit because they are just a car trip away and just as rewarding of a trip to take.
“I am hoping to go back again this year,” Wenger said. “If I could I would go back every year.”