Jamaican Missionary Shares Message of Hope Amid Covid 19

Elder Coley © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Elder Coley

The COVID- 19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we live our daily lives. The virus has disrupted all sectors of society and its impact has also been felt in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints. Missionary service is one of the operations of the Church that has been significantly affected. On March 12th, 2020 the leadership of the Church issued a statement requiring all senior missionaries and young missionaries with serious or chronic medical conditions serving in twenty two areas in Europe to return home. Elder Michael Coley was among the many missionaries who had to leave.

Elder Coley had been called to labour in the England London mission on August 6th, 2019. It had been anticipated that he would serve for two years. Elder Coley was often told that his mission would be over before he knew it and that he should treasure every moment. However, he never imagined it would be over that soon.

He began his life changing missionary journey on January 8, 2020, trying to embody Christ like attributes as he prepared to serve the people of England. He experienced much personal growth and greater generosity and humanity towards those he met.

Elder Coley could not fathom leaving his mission at that specific time just when he was forgetting himself and doing the Lord's work. At the time, he dreaded going back into the world and being exposed once again to all the vileness of it. Elder Coley confided that when he expressed this to his missionary companion he was told that the only person that can control how much of the world he indulges in is him. For Elder Coley that is a message that he would never forget.

On March 16, he departed London’s Heathrow airport and began the long journey back to Jamaica. The journey home was stressful to him especially due to the different avenues of travel he had to endure. The original travel plan included a flight from the United Kingdom to the United States then to Jamaica. However, the United States had closed their boarders to non-citizens. As a result, Elder Coley travelled to Mexico, then to the Dominican Republic followed by Turks and Caicos. On March 17 he finally arrived in Jamaica.

Even though he knew that he would be quarantined for 14 days it was a relief to be home. This experience taught Elder Coley to be more optimistic and to put his trust in Heavenly Father more. He came to realise that when we do the Lord's work to the best of our ability He helps tremendously.

When asked to share his thoughts on what has been happening in the world Elder Coley said: “In these difficult times the only person that can control how this pandemic is viewed is you. You can either let this difficult time strengthen your testimony in God or weaken it. Let us enjoy each moment here on earth doing the Lord's work and being with our families. We do not know fully what the Lord has planned for each of us. I know however, that God loves His children and enables them to go through experiences to learn from them and evolve into better versions of themselves.”

This message of hope and steadfastness is one which Elder Coley, from his experiences wishes that everyone will be able to embrace during this time of uncertainty and turmoil.