I loved my mission! Even though I have since become disaffected with the church, I still have a lot of fond memories from my mission, and I have kept all my journals, photos, and some memorabilia. It was on my mission where I met my wife. We were both missionaries, where I was her district leader. Even though we didn't have feelings for each other on the mission, her mom invited me to her homecoming, and we started dating, and the rest is history. But I wouldn't trade my mission experience for anything. I served a lot of people, did a lot of great work, and overall just had a very rewarding and fun time in Toronto, Canada.
While I didn't enjoy the pressure and expectations of serving a mission as I grew up, I actually finally told my family I was not going to serve because I didn't fully have a testimony. I then studied to understand what the big deal was and ironically found a testimony. I felt my faith was then strong enough to stand on my own and did decide to serve a mission. I went because I loved people and wanted to help them. I am so glad that I had my own reasons for going and didn't go out of obligation or expectation. I think that has made a huge difference in my attitude while serving and since. I served a mission in France and Belgium and really enjoyed myself. It was a so called "hard" mission because we didn't baptize many, but that was ok with me. I enjoyed serving in foreign lands and learning a new language and culture. I didn't follow sales tactics I was taught and expected to use, because I respected people and let them make their own decisions. I didn't record my teaching statistics and when was asked I would give a number that generally represented the week. I did train new missionaries and was called as a district leader multiple times, so don't think I didn't try my hardest to really do the work. I saw one baptism on my mission. A woman who was suicidal when we met her and we helped her turn her life around - it was such a positive experience for all of us and I'm proud to have helped her. I am fairly certain she is no longer active in the church, so my mission had a net-zero effect on actual church membership, but I know I made a difference in her life. I made great friends on my mission too, and I never expected to. Many members from areas where I served as well as fellow missionaries are among my closest friends.