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Coronavirus restrictions on Latter Day Saint missionary travel to be dialed back

SALT LAKE CITY — Missionaries with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will slowly begin serving outside of their countries of origin.

Many missionaries had been reassigned to their home countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, a “limited, deliberate, and cautious” effort will begin to send them abroad.

Church spokesperson Daniel Woodruff released the following statement:

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

At this time, the Church has begun sending a very limited number of these missionaries to assignments outside their home countries. This process is deliberate and cautious. Because of the ongoing pandemic, all missionary travel is dependent upon local conditions and air travel restrictions, and some missionaries may not depart for several months. We recognize conditions can change rapidly, and we will continue to closely monitor world events and make adjustments as needed. The safety of our missionaries and those they serve is our top priority.

Once scheduled for travel, mission offices will notify missionaries who will then share their itineraries with their families. We ask that missionaries and their families not contact the Church Travel Office, embassies, or consuls about their travel plans or documents. When traveling, missionaries will be instructed to follow established public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. After they arrive in their new assignments, missionaries will quarantine for the required period and then take part in activities appropriate to local circumstances.

Sours: https://www.fox13now.com/news/local-news/coronavirus-restrictions-on-lds-missionary-travel-to-be-dialed-back

General Travel Information

Where can I find the address to a particular mission as well as pouch mail instructions?


Why does the travel itinerary include a return flight to the U.S. or to a different country after missionaries arrive in the mission?

This is a return ticket and is on the reservation for visa purposes.

If parents haven’t yet received the itinerary for their missionary returning home, how can they find out more information?

The mission president assigns the release dates. The Missionary Travel Office asks the mission to submit the release date and destination airport three months in advance so the travel office can purchase the missionary's flight home. Once the travel office gets the request, they will send a copy of the return flight to the mission and the parents if an email address is provided by the mission. Otherwise, it is the mission’s responsibility to notify the parents. If parents would like the release date with more than three months' notice, they should contact the mission directly.

What should parents do if they want to pick up their missionary at the end of his or her mission?

Parents should contact the mission office where their missionary is serving to find out the release date and visa requirements, if applicable. Then parents should contact the Missionary Travel Office to obtain the travel allowance amount for the missionary. This will assist parents as they move forward with their travel plans. Parents will need to make travel arrangements for themselves and their missionary and inform the mission and the Missionary Travel Office of these plans. Missionary Travel will mail parents a reimbursement check for the missionary’s ticket in the amount that Missionary Travel quoted, or if the ticket the parents purchase is less, Missionary Travel will reimburse the lesser amount. Missionary travel will reimburse approximately four weeks prior to the release date.

If parents have a missionary going to an international missionary training center, can the parents arrange to fly with their missionary?

This is strongly discouraged for the following reasons:

  • Parents would need to purchase their missionary’s ticket, and Missionary Travel would need to send parents a check for the amount Missionary Travel would have spent. 
  • If there is a problem with the missionary’s visa, parents would likely be left with two or three non-refundable international tickets that will not be used because the missionary would then attend the Provo Missionary Training Center.
  • If the missionary’s missionary training center date is changed or if for some reason the missionary is redirected to attend the Provo Missionary Training Center, parents will be left with non-refundable international tickets.
  • If parents have delays or travel problems along the way, the parents are responsible to pay for and resolve those problems.
  • The international missionary training center does not have any sort of welcome program. 
  • It would be the parents' responsibility to coordinate the arrival with the international missionary training center staff.

Where can information be found regarding current airport security regulations?

This information is available on the TSA website at http://www.tsa.gov (click on Travel Tips).

Baggage Questions

What is the baggage allowance?

Generally missionaries are allowed to bring two bags at 50 lbs. each measuring 62 total dimensional inches. Dimensional inches are height plus width plus length. Most airlines will allow one carry-on bag (check airline website for carry-on weight restrictions) and one personal item like a laptop case, purse, scripture bag, or a jacket that can fit under the seat.


Checked Bags


Madagascar Antananarivo Mission

-including the Reunion submission.


Each bag must not exceed 62 total dimensional inches or 157 total dimensional centimeters (total dimensional measurements = length + width + height). The maximum weight allowed for each checked bag is 44 pounds (20 kilograms).

Barbados Mission

-including all submissions.


Bag cannot exceed 62 total dimensional inches or 157 total dimensional centimeters (total dimensional measurements = length + width + height). The maximum weight allowed for your checked bag is 50 pounds (23 kilograms).

Cape Verde Praia Mission

India Bangaluru Mission


Bag cannot exceed 62 total dimensional inches or 157 total dimensional centimeters (total dimensional measurements = length + width + height). The maximum weight allowed for your checked bag is 44 pounds (20 kilograms).

How do missionaries pay for any excess baggage charges?

It is advised that missionaries travel with $200 available to cover any charges by the airlines for baggage and to use in case of an emergency with flight delays.

Does the Church pay for baggage fees?

  • Missionaries and their families are responsible for any baggage fees when traveling from their home to the missionary training center (this includes any international training centers).
  • When missionaries travel from the missionary training center to their mission destination, they should be prepared to pay any excess baggage fees BUT retain their receipts. The missionaries' mission office will cover the baggage fees for two checked bags at 50 lbs. each. 
  • For returning missionaries, the mission office will either pay the fees at the airport, give missionaries cash, or make sure that missionaries' mission credit card has enough money on it. 

What if missionaries' bags weigh more than 50 lbs or they want to take an extra bag?

The Church will only cover the cost of two bags at 50 lbs each (62 total inches per bag). Any additional baggage fees will be the responsibility of the missionary, and the Church will NOT reimburse the extra weight/bag fee.

Some airlines will not accept excess weight or baggage. For the most up-to-date information, missionaries and their parents should visit the airline's website for fees and restrictions.

Where can missionaries find information about baggage fees and excess baggage fees?

Baggage fees are constantly changing. For the most up-to-date information, missionaries should visit the airline's website for baggage fees and restrictions.

Sours: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/callings/missionary/missionary-travel/general-travel-information?lang=eng
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Will I receive any information from Missionary Travel?

Yes.  All information regarding visa documents and travel for Chile missions will be mailed to the address you provided.

Do missionaries need to get a visa for Chile before they leave?

No, a visa is not obtained before missionaries travel to the mission. Missionaries will travel to Chile on just their passport and enter the country as a tourist. Their two-year residency visa will be applied for after their arrival in Chile.

Missionary Travel will email missionaries instructions and a final itinerary 7-10 days before your MTC entry date. Missionaries will print out the itinerary and instructions and take them along with their passport to the airport.

Do missionaries need to send in their passport to Missionary Travel?

No. Missionaries should only send a copy of their passport ID page. Missionaries will keep their original passport with them.

If missionaries are traveling to the Mexico Missionary Training Center, do they need a visa?

Yes, missionaries will obtain a Mexican tourist visa upon arrival in Mexico. A Mexican tourist visa packet will be mailed to your home two weeks after your call.  Missionary Travel will email instructions and a final itinerary 7-10 days before your MTC entry date. Your onward travel to Chile will be completed by the Mexico MTC and given to you at the Mexico MTC.

I am attending the Colombia Missionary Training Center, when will I get my travel documents?

All travel documents and entry papers will be sent to you via FedEx 7-10 days prior to your departure.

My ticket has a return flight on it – am I returning to the US?

You may disregard the extra flight – the return flight is for visa purposes.

Please note—any reference to a $160 fee is no longer relevant. Please disregard.

Sours: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/callings/missionary/missionary-travel/global-location/south-america/chile?lang=eng
Reassigned Missionaries Travel to New Missions

Reassigned Missionaries Travel to New Missions

Thousands of reassigned missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are heading out to new assignments in their home countries following disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Young missionaries across the world returned home from their international assignments in waves this spring, when Church leaders became concerned for their health and safety when the pandemic hit.

“We have moved about 26,000 missionaries, all of them to their home countries,” said Elder Brent Nielson, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Church’s Missionary Department.

Church travel employees around the globe spent sleepless nights in their offices booking flights and chartering planes to bring the elders and sisters home. Many missionaries were not given much notice before having to pack their belongings and head to the nearest airport. Some left their missions without their luggage.

“This involved many weeks of very little sleep as we coordinated flights, whether those be commercial or charter flights, wherever the missionaries needed to go,” said Nanette Sorensen, Global Travel Services manager for the Church’s Materials Management Department (MMD). “Between our staff here and the staff in the area offices, we saw miracles happen as borders opened up and we all worked together for this common good.”

“In addition to the sacrifice and the dedication, it was amazing how unified we were as a team,” said Russell Harrington, missionary travel manager for Global Travel Services, who slept by his desk some nights while working to help bring all of the missionaries home. “And if that took staying up for 36 hours and working at our desk the entire time, we did it. And everyone did it. The unity that played into that was pretty phenomenal.”

Thank-you notes from the families of missionaries and others hang in the Travel office in the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City.

In Utah, where many neighborhoods are predominantly Latter-day Saint, congregations organized drive-by parades to welcome home the missionaries whose missions were cut short. “I was so happy. That made me feel so loved. That was so sweet,” expressed Sister Katie Telford, who returned to her South Jordan home following 15 months of service in the Philippines.

Missions Make Room for Reassigned Missionaries

Those missionaries who had just a few months left to serve were released. Those with more time on their missions were given two options: depart for new assignments as soon as possible or delay for 12 to 18 months. Most missionaries opted to leave right away.

“That was a great moment for me to see how many of them wanted to go back,” remarked Elder Nielson. In the United States, reassigned missionaries are going to nearly every mission in the country, except “where the virus seems to be hot right now,” according to Elder Nielson, including locations such as New York and New Jersey.


"We’re learning new ways to do missionary work." Elder Brent Nielson.

“Every missionary who’s assigned either to their permanent assignment or to a temporary assignment is made by a member of the [Quorum of the] Twelve [Apostles], so they’ve been very busy lately as they reassigned missionaries,” said Elder Nielson.

There are many opportunities to serve, but not enough apartments in some locations to house the influx of additional missionaries. In high-demand areas such as the United States, Church housing staff contacted hotel chains to help solve the apartment shortage. Many of the hotel properties had available rooms, as occupancy decreased when business and leisure travel dropped during the pandemic.

“We decided to reach out to hotels to see if they might be able to help us,” said Brent Elliott, a purchasing manager for MMD. “And since there aren’t a lot of people traveling, it was a good time to do that. And so hotels reached out and they’re helping us.”

“It is a privilege for the Materials Management Department to support the Missionary Department in helping our beloved missionaries,” said Peggy Cowherd, managing director of the Materials Management Department. “We are grateful for the wonderful collaboration with the Missionary Department, the dedicated teamwork around the world and the countless miracles that have made all of this possible.”

Virtual Missionary Training Centers

When the Church’s 10 missionary training centers (MTCs) closed due to the pandemic, several thousand newly called missionaries found themselves online in a virtual classroom. The missionaries spend six hours a day online in a teleconference with a trainer and their class, including about 500 missionaries who are learning a new language.

“We teach them the same things, we practice the same things with them, and hopefully they’re just as prepared as the ones that come [to the center],” said Bryce Tripp, an MTC instructor from Mesa, Arizona.

Brother Tripp spends several weeks with each class of missionaries who are assigned to English-speaking missions.

“As long as the missionaries are there to learn and the teacher is here to teach, I think the same learning occurs,” he said.

“I was worried the feeling would be different, but it’s not,” said Maegan Hendrix, an MTC instructor who teaches missionaries going to Mandarin-speaking missions. “In regard to things like the language, there’s a lot more responsibility on them, obviously, to be practicing at home.”

Elder Nielson says the families of missionaries also benefit from virtual MTCs. “I think we’ve learned some great lessons about the Spirit that brings to a home when there’s a child there who’s actually studying how to be a missionary and learning a new language.”

Sister Sydney Leiseth, a Mandarin-speaking missionary called to serve in the England Leeds Mission, has enjoyed being with her family in Herriman, Utah, during her training.

“It’s been really cool to be able to share those experiences with them every single day as those experiences are happening,” said Sister Leiseth, who will begin her mission this summer in the Florida Tampa Mission until it is safe to travel to England. “They’ve been so great about keeping the Spirit in our home and following along with my mission protocols and the procedures that can help me be the best missionary here.”

Sister Leiseth and Sister Azoa Price of Midvale, Utah, have both been in Sister Hendrix’s Mandarin-speaking virtual classroom.

“This is a really cool experience,” shared Sister Price, who will serve in the Canada Vancouver Mission. “I don’t regret it. And despite some of the hiccups that happened because of internet, it works.”

Sister Price spends time with her mother practicing her Chinese vocabulary. “My mom is actually really cool. She’s willing to help me learn my language.”

Senior Missionaries Also Impacted

Most of the 4,000 senior missionaries who are at higher risk for COVID-19 returned home. A few did stay in the mission field and are in self-isolation.

“We have some that are serving from home,” said Elder Nielson. “They had an office assignment in their mission, but they can still do it at home and we’ll gradually begin to start having them go out if they can be safe.”

The Missionary Department reports that senior couples are still applying to serve missions.

“We still have some that are ready to go whenever we can send them,” added Elder Nielson, who said senior couples serving on a Church farm can leave now. “It just depends on what the assignment is. … They can social distance, they can wear masks and they can serve in an office.”

Technology in the Field

Despite the pandemic, full-time missionaries are still teaching thousands of lessons every week from their apartments using technology. They are also allowed to leave their apartments at certain times and provide meaningful community service in ways that are safe, which includes wearing masks and social distancing around others.

Two sisters who were serving in Brazil have been reassigned to a Portuguese-speaking congregation in Salt Lake City.

“I knew I’d be with Brazilian people again. I would be speaking Portuguese and that would add this element of familiarity,” said Sister Mauri Dobbs, a native of Santa Clarita, California, who served for a year in Brazil.

“And here it’s so nice because we have smartphones and we can text people and … there’s Facebook that we can use,” said her companion, Sister Hannah Davidson of Sandpoint, Idaho.

“We’re learning new ways to do missionary work. And I think people are actually more receptive online than they are with someone knocking on their door or trying to stop them on the street,” said Elder Nielson.

“We teach from our home or sometimes we go to the church and teach, but we can do it from the apartment just the same,” said Sister Dobbs.

“We hear from almost every mission that they have a really long list of people who are waiting to be baptized as soon as the chapel can open,” concluded Elder Nielson. “We’re excited for that moment to happen, and it’s starting to happen right now.”

Sours: https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/reassigned-missionaries-travel-new-missions

Lds missionary travel

Missionary Travel Guidelines

As we have recently announced, missionaries throughout the world are departing for their new assignments and will continue to do so during the next several months. Others are returning home at the end of their service. When they depart or return home — regardless of location — we ask missionaries and their families to strictly follow established guidelines to prevent the spread of illness while at the airport or on an airplane. Families should limit the number of people picking up, dropping off, or accompanying a missionary based on local airport regulations. Whenever missionaries are inside the airport or an airplane, they should wear a mask, avoid congregating in groups, not shake hands or hug, and obey all social distancing measures. Above all, missionaries and their families should promptly follow all instructions from airport officials or volunteers. We appreciate the cooperation of missionaries and their families as we all work to follow these important safety guidelines.

Sours: https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/missionary-travel-guidelines-covid-19
Reassigned Missionaries Travel to New Missions


For specific questions, please send an email to [email protected]

My signature does not match the name printed on my passport. Is that a problem?

If you did not sign your full name on the passport, all your documents must be signed the way you signedyour passport. You must wait to fill out the online application until after you receive your passport.

Should missionaries wait to start their documents until after they receive their passport?

No. Missionaries should get started on their visa documents right away. There are multiple steps in obtaining a visa, and missionaries may be delayed if they wait. 

How many birth certificates will I need?

You will need to send us one certified birth certificate.

Where can missionaries obtain their seminary transcripts?

If you did not get your seminary certificate or transcript, please contact us first and we will send you those documents. You can also contact your local seminary or your stake Seminary & Institute representative and they can help you get your transcripts.

What about a seminary certificate?

If you have graduated, you can use the seminary diploma in place of the certificate. Please see your state’s requirements for the notary. You may need to make a copy and attach notarial wording that signifies that it is a copy. You may also ask your seminary teacher/principal for another copy of the certificate or diploma.

How do I obtain an Apostille (authentication)?

In a search engine, type in your state and authentications; e.g. “Utah authentication.” Make sure you click on a .gov site.

Can missionaries apply for their own visa and bypass the Missionary Travel Office process?

No. There are multiple steps and additional documentation required for the issuance of the visa that will be handled by the Missionary Travel Office. 

Any attempt by missionaries or their parents to apply for their own visa or to contact the Consulate directly will jeopardize Missionary Travel's relationship with the Consulate and could cause delays for all missionaries.

The electronic application asks for a permanent address. If missionaries are away from home (ex: attending school out of state), what address should they list?

Missionaries must use their home address. 

Can missionaries use their passport for an international trip before they go on their mission?

Your passport is required for the issuance of the visa, so it is best for missionaries to plan on NOT having their passport. If missionaries already have an international trip scheduled, they should call Missionary Travel at 1-800-537-3537.

Back Return to South America page.

Sours: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/callings/missionary/missionary-travel/global-location/south-america/brazil?lang=eng

Now discussing:

SALT LAKE CITY — The number of Latter-day Saint missionaries in some areas of the world has fallen steeply because of coronavirus-related issues, but missionaries are beginning to return to the field.

Four months after the pandemic upended the highly organized global missionary program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, six American sister missionaries recently arrived in the Denmark Copenhagen Mission, including Sister Kendra DeLange, 19, of North Logan.

The relief was welcome in a mission where reduced numbers meant more areas were on the verge of going without missionaries, according to returned missionaries and family members.

More help is poised to crisscross the globe. Many stateside missions are full of Americans holding international mission calls who are unable to travel to their assigned callings because of pandemic-related restrictions. The U.S. State Department’s decision on Thursday to lift its Do Not Travel advisory, in place since March 19, may help.

As the pandemic spread, church leaders recalled 30,000 of its 67,000 missionaries. About 26,000 young missionaries were sent back to their home countries and 4,000 senior missionaries were released because they were at higher risk of COVID-19 complications.

At least one mission, in Hong Kong, temporarily emptied out completely. Others continued with a fraction of their pre-pandemic population.

Several thousand missionaries who had planned to enter the church’s Missionary Training Centers this spring and summer instead trained at home for six hours a day. Thousands more continued to receive new international mission calls, and many of them learned their new languages through instruction provided in Zoom conferences in anticipation that pandemic restrictions would lift.

DeLange was in the Provo MTC when the pandemic threw her plans into disarray. She had arrived there on March 4 destined for Denmark. Suddenly, her planned five-week stay was cut to three weeks.

“The missionaries were called to a Sunday meeting, and at the end they were told the MTC would shut down by the weekend,” said DeLange’s mother, JoAnn. “She found out the next evening she would be going to Gilbert, Arizona, and she was on a bus to the airport by 8 a.m. She found herself in 100-degree weather with a whole bunch of cold weather gear for four months.”

DeLange family

The Arizona Gilbert Mission was bursting with missionaries. DeLange spent all four months in apartments with multiple missionaries. Many stateside missions have resolved housing and vehicle shortages by booking local hotel rooms and renting cars, according to the church.

Now DeLange, who continued to study Danish an hour a day while in Gilbert and via Zoom calls with MTC teachers, is part of a vanguard company of relief for missions thirsting for more help. She arrived in Denmark with five other sister missionaries on July 26. The first handful of missionaries sent to international assignments went out in late May to Taiwan.

“Over the last several weeks, the church has been able to send a small number of missionaries to their original assignments in some places in Europe and Asia,” church spokesman Daniel Woodruff said. “In these circumstances, missionaries have proper travel documentation and strictly follow local requirements concerning self-isolation or quarantine. As they continue their service in these areas, the missionaries take part in activities appropriate to local circumstances.”

Beginning in March, the church sent home missionaries with international assignments from 377 of the church’s 399 global missions. Only the missions in the church’s Europe Area, like Denmark, and Europe East Area were able to keep their foreign missionaries.

“I am grateful I was able to stay on my mission,” said Mei Sorensen, 21, who returned home to West Valley City last month after completing her 18-month assignment in Denmark. Her missionary companion when the pandemic was declared was sent home immediately. because she was close to the end of her mission and there was concern she would not be able to get a flight home later.

Mei Sorensen

“A large part of the reason I could stay was the ability we had to transition to contacting and teaching on Facebook,” Sorensen said. “Otherwise, I think we would have been sent home. It was difficult at first to not really know what to do and to have the temptation to scroll through Facebook all day. With direction and guidance from our mission leaders, we learned how to use it well.”

As missionaries completed their two-year or 18-month assignments and returned home, the numbers in Europe dwindled.

For example, the Russia St. Petersburg Mission had about 44 volunteers when the pandemic began. The last group of missionaries who went home dropped the mission’s numbers to 17, said Brent Rawson, whose three-year term as the St. Petersburg Mission president ended last month.

“That is a very, very small group,” the former Exxon Mobile executive said in a phone interview from his home in Houston.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The church’s Missionary Department initially accepted the offer Rawson and his wife Nena made to continue to lead the mission until their replacements could travel but then decided that could become an indefinite term.

“The Russia Moscow Mission is down about half, too,” Rawson said. “That’s why we were able to leave; the Moscow Mission president is able to oversee both the Moscow Mission and St. Petersburg Mission.”

Still, missionaries all over the world continue to find converts through their new online contacting and teaching. Rawson said his St. Petersburg volunteers found a woman 300 miles from any church building who now awaits baptism once her travel can be arranged.

Sorensen, the West Valley City woman who finished her mission in Denmark last month, taught a man in Nigeria who had sent her and her companion a Facebook friend request after they began to interact with a group on the social media platform. The man is scheduled to be baptized on Aug. 15.

“He messaged me the other day and told us about his baptismal date,” Sorensen said. “We were just overjoyed. He said he wished he had a private jet so he could fly us out there. I would go in a heartbeat.”

Without the infusion of DeLange and her fellow travelers, the Copenhagen Mission, which had more than 50 missionaries in March, according to Sorensen, would have faced the possibility later this month of dropping to about 32 missionaries overall and just five sister missionaries.

For DeLange, the trip was breathtaking, her mother said. She experienced a 50-degree temperature swing as she moved from one of the church’s smallest geographical missions in Gilbert, Arizona, to what one of its largest: The Danish mission includes Iceland and Greenland.

“She’s really excited to be in Denmark,” her mother said. “She’s a tough bird. We’re really proud of her. It’s been hard. This group of kids really got thrown a curveball, things that weren’t really in their plans or in their control, or any of our control.”

Her daughter’s arrival in Denmark, JoAnn DeLange said, “might be a sign things are headed in the right direction for all of us.”

DeLange family

DeLange’s MTC group traveled from Provo to San Francisco to obtain their visas almost immediately after arriving for training. Those visas helped enable their travel.

As for whether more missionaries soon will be headed to their original foreign assignments, Woodruff said, “Additional travel of missionaries to assignments outside their home countries is dependent upon local conditions and travel restrictions.”

In This Stream

How the Church of Jesus Christ has responded to the global coronavirus threat

View all 96 stories Sours: https://www.deseret.com/faith/2020/8/7/21357800/latter-day-saint-mormon-lds-missionaries-overseas-assignments-covid-19-coronavirus

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