“Coming Home Early” to Finish Her Mission

By Tiffany Tolman

When Sister Katie Henrie was 19 years old, she was called to serve a full-time mission in the Missouri St. Louis Mission. But after eight months, three areas, seven companions, and countless life-changing experiences, Sister Henrie called her parents and together they decided it was time to come home to Layton, Utah.

Health issues from earlier in her life had resurfaced, making her mission difficult. Between scheduling doctor’s appointments, managing her pain, and trying to juggle her mission responsibilities, Sister Henrie knew coming home was the right choice.

In fact, the decision was never a struggle. She shares, “I never felt more peace than when I finally decided to come home from my proselyting mission.” That was because she already knew her next step, thanks to the example of her older brother Josh Henrie.

Before Katie even boarded the plane to return home, the wheels were already in motion for her to complete her full 18 months of missionary service by serving a young Church-service mission from home.

After discussing some options with the coordinators for young Church-service missionaries in her local mission area, Katie served for five months as a host at the Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, and as a consultant in a family history center in Kaysville, Utah. Then, for the final five months of her mission, she transferred to the Language Services Division of the Publishing Services Department at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City.

During Katie’s young Church-service mission, she dedicated around 20 hours each week to a variety of activities, including meeting visitors from around the world and fielding emails about errors in the Gospel Library app. She also served as a sister training leader to other young Church-service missionary sisters in Salt Lake City.

“I was humbled,” she says, “to sit in a room of service missionaries and realize that no one expected them to serve, but there they were. They were willing to go the extra mile to serve a mission. They’re really making a huge impact in so many lives and the work of the Lord.”

Being able to serve while living at home meant that Katie was also able to have a job, meet her medical needs, and contribute in other meaningful ways to the work of the Lord.

Katie loved her combined experience of serving both a full-time mission and a young Church-service mission. In St. Louis, she learned how to feel the Spirit; in Salt Lake City, she learned that you never know what God has in store for you. What started out as a full-time mission sharing the gospel in the St. Louis mission turned into an opportunity to serve the Lord in a unique and valuable way as a young Church-service missionary.

What advice does Katie have for others who find themselves in similar circumstances? “You can continue your mission even if you have to come home early,” she shares. “Your time is more flexible to deal with your struggles at home, and you can still serve. And the service is just as meaningful.”

For Katie, her full 18-month mission experience included eight wonderful months sharing the gospel full time and 10 months making a difference and serving the Lord as a young Church-service missionary.