Our ward has a plaque made for each missionary before they leave for their mission. Each missionary chooses the scripture that he would like engraved on it and that plaque is then displayed in the foyer of the church for the time the missionary is serving.
The scripture Connor chose to put on his plaque before leaving for his mission is D&C 42:5-6:
It is a great missionary scripture and it meant something to him at the time he chose it, but it means something more now than it once did.
The bishop gives the return missionary the plaque after he speaks in Sacrament Mtg. upon his return. Connor spoke Sunday (sorry I didn't even remember to post about it previous to it and I didn't even think of a gathering after church - I guess my mind was elsewhere, if anywhere at all).
The bishop asked Connor to read his chosen scripture out loud at the end of the meeting Sunday and Skyler noticed something as it was being read.
"...it shall be given by the power of the Spirit when they shall return."
Connor had a unique situation with the poor health of his father. We shared what we knew about Terry's health with Connor, which was that there was no longer anything the doctors could do for the cancer in Terry's body and that he would not have much time. The doctor did promise to try to help him through the holidays, but her expression seemed to tell us that she doubted he would make it. We were still determined to try as hard as we could, and we put our faith in the Lord to help us.
Connor's mission president was informed, and I had a few phone visits with him during those last couple months trying to inform them of Terry's health condition and helping decide what Connor should do. I could not help make Connor's decision whether to come home early, but promised to pray for the Lord to help him make that decision. We fasted and prayed for him and put his name in the temple, then we turned it over to God to help Connor make that decision. With the help of the Lord, and a branch president and a mission president and unique experiences meant just for Connor, he was able to know what he should do, and his release date became December 17th.
Terry wanted so badly to make it to that date, but the Lord had different plans for him. But Connor was able to be here for the funeral and find some comfort with family at such a sorrowful and critical time.
Not every missionary gets to choose when he shall return, but as Connor's scripture stated "...it shall be given by the power of the Spirit when [he] shall return." Connor didn't choose the exact date he returned - that was given him, but he did choose to come early, which was different than he had been thinking (because he really would have liked to have extended his mission instead).
I will not share the complete story about how Connor was able to decide when he should return, but he had some personal and spiritual experiences that helped him know he should return early, then the leaders chose the date for him.
Realizing the significance of this scripture (and that Connor chose it before he left with no knowledge of what would take place at the end of his mission) has been another tender mercy or small miracle that has brought peace to our hearts and reminds us that the Lord is aware of each of us, and we, and all things, are in His hands.