Called to serve in a pandemic: ‘It’s nice to remember that I’m not alone’

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Editor’s note: Thousands of missionaries across the world are facing upended plans during the pandemic. Some are returning home before completing their missions, others are serving in quarantine and many are receiving new calls. The Daily Universe is looking at how these missionaries are grappling with challenges in a series of stories.

Charity May had been serving in the Brazil São Paulo North Mission for just six months when on March 23 she got some unexpected news that she would be leaving Brazil that same day.

At 3:30 a.m., May found out she would be leaving Brazil. She was on a plane back home to her family in Wyoming that night at 8 p.m.

“I wasn’t expecting to go home so soon,” May said. “I thought I had at least a little more time.”

March 23 was a day of several tears for May. “I definitely cried when it was time to say our last prayer before leaving the house,” she said. “I almost couldn’t get through it.”

Charity May was serving in the Brazil São Paulo North Mission for six months before she had to come home. (Charity May)

Upon her arrival home, May had to self-quarantine for two weeks. “I can leave my room, I just have to stay away from people,” she said.

For the first week of being home, May was still set apart as a full-time missionary, she wasn’t released until April 1, after the Church came out with the announcement on adjustments to missionary work.

“I started an online institute class made especially for the missionaries in quarantine, and that helped me,” May said. “I also joined a FB (Facebook) page called LDS Brazil missionaries, and there are other resources that help me get in contact with other missionaries going through the same thing, so it’s nice to remember that I’m not alone.”

Charity May, left, with her siblings in their home in Wyoming. After returning from a mission in Brazil, May has had to self quarantine. (Charity May)

May said she likes to have everything in her life planned out, so it’s been hard because now she doesn’t even know what she’ll be doing next month.

May’s mission has taught her how to trust in the Lord and trust in his plan for her life. “If this happened anytime last year, I would be super anxious and devastated,” she said. “I am surprisingly calm about everything.”

May has decided to delay her mission for 12 to 18 months. “I can’t exactly explain why, I just feel like it’s something I need to do,” she said. “It gives me lots of time to work on myself before I go back.”

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