In coming weeks, substantial numbers of missionaries will likely need to return to their home nations to continue their service
Many Latter-day Saint missionaries will probably return to serve in their home countries and many may see the length of their missions reduced in the coming weeks as the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue to respond to rapidly changing restrictions caused by the coronavirus.
Also, no new missionaries will enter church’s 11 missionary training centers around the world, but all new missionaries will be trained through online video conferencing.
Church leaders already had decided that nonnative missionaries would return home from more than a quarter of the church’s 399 missions.
These adjustments will be made because of the changes and restricitons in world travel.
“The rapidly developing travel advisories and restrictions that are emerging around the world present significant logistical and other challenges.” church leaders said in the letter.
Despite these changes, the church leaders will continue to issue new mission calls.
Read the full letter below:
RE: Further Adjustments to Missionary Service
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We take very seriously the health and safety of our missionaries and of those they teach. The rapidly developing travel advisories and restrictions that are emerging around the world present significant logistical and other challenges. Therefore, the following temporary adjustments are being made:
• In the coming weeks, based upon world conditions, substantial numbers of missionaries will likely need to be returned to their home nations to continue their service. This will be done in a systematic way based on the urgency of travel restrictions, level of COVID-19 concern, and other considerations.
• Returning missionaries will go through a 14-day period of self-isolation and then may be assigned to serve within their home country, based on local conditions.
• The term of service for missionaries returning to or serving within the United States will likely be reduced to accommodate the large number of missionaries returning from around the world.
• Missionary Training Centers worldwide will not receive new missionaries. MTC training for missionaries will take place through technology, and missionaries will be sent to their assigned mission as soon as possible.
As we evaluate changing conditions, further necessary adjustments will be made.
We love and pray for our missionaries and their families. We are grateful for the continued prayers and support of parents, loved ones and Church members as we make every effort to help them remain safe and well in these challenging times.
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Sharing the Gospel Online
With all the turmoil created by the coronavirus, and more people spending more hours at home, including the missionaries, sharing the gospel online is even more important.
Write your testimony and publish it online. When co-workers and others you meet have questions about your faith, you can point them to a website if the situation doesn’t allow for you to tell your conversion story or bear your testimony in full. Thousands of people interested in Clayton Christensen’s professional work have been introduced to his faith through a page on his personal website called “Why I Belong, and Why I Believe.”
When you set deadlines to write about and share your faith online, you can experience urgency and direction in your scripture study, strengthening your personal conversion…
Consider what we do know about what people are looking for online. This list of popular Google searches about religion shows how often people are searching for particular topics.
Because we cannot predict who is interested in being taught by full-time missionaries, it is important that we meet new people regularly. Online missionary work is great for … people who find themselves with limited opportunities to meet new people face to face…
Whether you write and share from Seattle or Moscow, people from Shanghai to Miami can feel the Spirit of God by reading the words you publish online to testify of Jesus Christ and how following His example blesses your life.
1. “Waiting on the Road to Damascus” by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency
“With so many social media resources and a multitude of more or less useful gadgets at our disposal, sharing the good news of the gospel is easier and the effects more far-reaching than ever before.”
2. Online Missionary Work (LDS) by Paul Wilson (Slide Presentation)
3. 8 Unique (and Painless) Ways to Share the Gospel Online by Larry Richman
Elder David A. Bednar told Latter-day Saints that their efforts to communicate gospel messages through social media channels was a good beginning, but only a small trickle. “I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood,” he said. “I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy—and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood.”