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Book review: ‘Early Homecoming’ shares wealth of experiences, advice for missionaries, families, leaders

SHARE Book review: ‘Early Homecoming’ shares wealth of experiences, advice for missionaries, families, leaders

"EARLY HOMECOMING: A Resource for Early-Returned Missionaries, their Church Leaders and Family," by Kristen Reber, Cedar Fort, $16.99, 229 pages (nf)

Kristen Reber, author of "Early Homecoming: A Resource for Early-Returned Missionaries, Their Church Leaders and Family" has personal experience with her subject matter. She served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines from October 2010 to April 2011, ending her mission when she contracted life-threatening parasites.

Kristen Reber is the author of "Early Homecoming: A Resource for Early-Returned Missionaries, their Church Leaders and Family."

Kristen Reber is the author of “Early Homecoming: A Resource for Early-Returned Missionaries, their Church Leaders and Family.”

Provided by Cedar Fort

For years, she struggled with feelings of failure, low self-confidence and feeling inferior to missionaries who served the expected length of time. After coming to peace with the events of her mission, she knew she needed to write about her experiences and share her insights.

While Reber was released due to physical illness, she interviewed missionaries who returned home early for any and all reasons. She devotes individal chapters to missionaries who returned because of physical illness, mental illness, worthiness concerns, family tragedy and personal reasons (including loss of desire to serve, lack/loss of testimony, homesickness and spiritual promptings to return). Each topic is discussed with compassionate sensitivity and academic research.

The majority of the book is addressed to early returned missionaries, but Reber includes a chapter for church leaders, families and church members in general.

The heart of "Early Homecoming" is poignant testimony of the love and concern of our Heavenly Father and his son for each person and the place of trials, faith and repentance in their plan. These overarching themes make this book universally applicable and uplifting regardless of the reader's mission experiences or lack thereof. While not everyone serves a mission, every person experiences unexpected trials and disappointments. Everyone has wronged and been wronged, and all must learn how to repent, forgive and move forward.