LDS church starts sending missionaries to other countries in ‘very limited number’ amid ongoing pandemic

ST. GEORGE — After returning thousands of missionaries to their counties of origin due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it was beginning to send missionaries to other nations again.

In this undated photo, missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serve in the Alabama Birmingham mission | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News

Daniel Woodruff, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a statement released Wednesday that the church was beginning to send missionaries outside their home counties, albeit a “very limited number” for now.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many missionaries have accepted reassignments to serve in their home countries due to challenges posed by the coronavirus,” Woodruff said. “We are grateful for their faith and optimism in these extraordinary circumstances.”

The church will go through a process that “is deliberate and cautious” when considering who gets assigned to serve in another country. Travel will also be subject to local conditions and air travel restrictions.

“Some missionaries may not depart for several months,” Woodruff said.

As conditions can change rapidly, church officials will be closely monitoring world conditions to ensure the safety of the church’s missionaries.

The LDS church brought an estimated 26,000 missionaries home earlier this year as COVID-19 reached around the globe. Some missionaries returning to the United States and Canada were given an option to return to service at a later date.

The church’s missionaries are generally young adults who range in age from 18-21. Young men serve for two years while women serve 18 months. A number of older retired couples also serve as missionaries for the church for periods of six months to two years.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the church’s missionaries have had to adjust their proselytizing methods, which has included increasing their online presence.

The church currently has 67,000 Latter-day Saint missionaries serving worldwide, according to the church’s news site.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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