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What You Need to Know about How COVID-19 is Affecting Missionaries Worldwide

by | Mar. 27, 2020

Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are serving during an unprecedented time.

According to Church News, approximately 50 percent of the Church’s 67,000 missionaries have returned home due to the COVID-19 pandemic for reassignment or release. On Friday, March 27, one missionary serving in Mexico City tested positive for the coronavirus. A second case of COVID-19 for a missionary in Australia was also reported by the Church on March 30. Moving forward, the Church plans to "rely on public health agencies and individuals to make the required notifications" to the public.

In an interview on Thursday, March 26, Elder Brent H. Nielson, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department, told the Church News that this is a time that will always be remembered—however, not for the reasons many people might think.

Between the Church and the Missionary Department making constant adjustments to missionary service and working with security and local experts, steps have been taken to ensure the missionaries’ well-being. And while there might be unknowns about the future, it is also inspiring to see how the missionaries have set an example of faith.

“When I see their pictures on the planes, they are today’s ‘army of Helaman’—they are very impressive,” Elder Nielson told Church News, noting how one elder suggested having a prayer before the flight took off. “I hope everyone, in the middle of all this, doesn’t miss the historic experience this is for these young men and young women who were the ones who made it through the pandemic.”

Speaking with David N. Weidman, the Missionary Department’s managing director, and Elder Nielson, the Church News reported additional insights on the following topics:

  • • Missionaries returning home
  • • International impact
  • • Mission leaders
  • • Training via technology
  • • New calls and assignments
  • • Reshaping missionary work

Find out more information on these subjects and more at thechurchnews.com.

Lead image by Laura Seitz, Deseret News
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Danielle Christensen

Danielle is a features writer and editor for LDS Living. Previously, she served as web producer for Church News, where she managed their website and social media platforms. Danielle is a graduate of Brigham Young University in English and has been published with Deseret NewsChurch NewsBYU Magazine, and Spires Intercollegiate Arts and Literary Magazine.

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