From the Church

Missionaries Serving in Non-Native Regions in Africa to Be Reassigned


Editor's note: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has updated its press release with information regarding missionaries in Africa, two missions in the Europe East Area, and the Micronesia Guam Mission. 

Missionaries will continue to be called to serve and assigned to labor in missions worldwide. Missionary recommendations will continue to be received, and missionary assignments for worldwide service will continue to be made. However, some missionaries may be reassigned, and young men serving in the United States and Canada may conclude their service three months early.

All missionaries scheduled to enter missionary training centers in Provo, Utah, or Preston, England, will be trained remotely by video conference. Missionaries from regions where government officials are restricting activity will also be trained by video conference.

The Church is taking steps to reduce the number of missionaries in areas where coronavirus is of particular concern. These steps give mission presidents more flexibility to ensure missionaries are effective and safe and that there is adequate space to house missionaries if they are moved out of cities where there are greater concerns about infection.

Young missionaries with health issues and senior missionaries may be released from service. These exceptions apply to the following areas:

  • 2 missions in the Europe East Area (as of March 18)
  • 6 missions in the North America Northeast Area (as of March 16)
  • 22 missions in the Europe Area (as of March 12)

Missionaries who are not native to certain locations will be returning to their home countries. This instruction applies to the following locations:

  • Africa (as of March 18)

    Due to the spread of COVID-19 and new travel regulations instituted by several African governments, missionaries currently serving in most missions in Africa who are not native to those regions will be temporarily moved. Missionaries from outside Africa will return home to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution. Following that, they will receive new temporary assignments in their home countries based on capacity and need. Missionaries from Africa will travel directly to their new assignments in their home countries. Any missionaries who are unable to return home due to travel restrictions will continue serving in their current mission.

    These measures apply to all missions in Africa except Angola Luanda, Botswana/Namibia, Kenya Nairobi, South Africa Cape Town, South Africa Durban, South Africa Johannesburg, Uganda Kampala, and Zambia Lusaka.

    Church leaders continue to closely monitor conditions related to the outbreak of COVID-19 and will make further adjustments as needed. We love our missionaries and express appreciation for their devoted service.

  • Countries within the Micronesia Guam Mission (as of March 18)

    This applies to missionaries currently serving on islands other than Guam.

  • The Philippines (as of March 17)

    With a new travel directive from the Philippines government, and due to a general disruption to their ability to carry out their service, all missionaries who are not native to the Philippines are being moved out of that country. These missionaries will return to their home countries for new temporary assignments. They will begin their new assignments after completing a 14-day period of self-isolation at home as a precaution.

  • Korea (as of March 5)
  • Mongolia (as of February 27)

Prospective missionaries who are preparing to serve in certain countries or who come from those countries will either postpone their start date or receive a new temporary assignment. This update applies to the following locations:

  • Japan (as of February 25)
  • Korea (as of February 25)
  • Cambodia (as of February 20)
  • Singapore (as of February 20)
  • Thailand (as of February 20)

All missionaries have been removed from the China Hong Kong Mission.
Each missionary who returns home is asked to self-isolate for 14 days following instructions from the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Missionaries who remain in regions where COVID-19 is of particular concern are taking precautions to stay healthy, including staying in their apartments as much as possible, avoiding personal interaction with other people and teaching through phone calls or other technology. Mission presidents are communicating with families to let them know of these precautions and keep them updated on local circumstances.


Lead image: Intellectual Reserve, Inc. 
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