Every mission is unique, but as the Church expands, some missionaries are called to serve in ways that would have surprised their pioneer ancestors.
No name tags, no proselyting and going to work five days a week is the normal routine for LDS service volunteers in Belarus.
BYU student Alex Farnsworth served in the Baltic Mission, which includes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus. He was assigned to work in Belarus, where he worked as a volunteer for a native Belarus nonprofit organization. “Church relations (in Belarus) are tenuous,” Farnsworth said. The government prohibits the influence of non-recognized foreign religions; this makes proselyting and openly carrying religious material illegal.”
The 100 active branch members had to split up in small groups for church meetings when their meeting house was condemned. “It’s very interesting, as a missionary, to turn to your companion and ask, ‘Do you know where we are going to church on Sunday?'”
Farnsworth and his companion were prohibited from teaching or performing church services as foreigners. This included helping with the sacrament or giving talks in church, regardless of the meeting place. “We basically have day jobs; it was normal schedule till 8 a.m., and then we walked to work,” he said.
A majority of their time was spent doing puppet shows.