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8 hours ago, Rain said:

That fits with going after the one.  

As part of my high council portfolio, I teach the mission prep class in our stake. I did so last night, and we actually discussed the possibility that, for the foreseeable future, people may be assigned to missions they never set foot in. I sense that, amongst the many cultural adhesions that need to go away in the Church, the current situation may be useful for changing some of the less-helpful attitudes towards what it means to serve a mission.

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8 hours ago, rongo said:

 

I commented on this upthread. I agree that, pre-refugee, every single one of the few native French-speakers would speak and be taught in English. 

We ran into an Ivory Coast elder at my daughter's institute building at NAU (belongs to the Phoenix mission), and he said that they do work with African refugees, but it's not an intensive, all-the-time missionary demand that would occupy a lot of time. The called French missionaries in the Phoenix mission are going to spend 99%+ of their mission speaking and working with English-speakers.

There are other missionaries with "official" calls in languages (e.g., Tagalog in Alberta, French in Phoenix) that they will likely only use "live" in rare circumstances.

we had spanish missionaries here that basically fell apart due to up and downs of different factories and even now they do have spanish missionaries but I think they are waiting to go to wherever they were originally called. I am not surprised to hear about Tagalog in Alberta, Filipinos have been coming to Canada since like the 70's and we have many here-great people

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5 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I sense that, amongst the many cultural adhesions that need to go away in the Church, the current situation may be useful for changing some of the less-helpful attitudes towards what it means to serve a mission.

Bednar was starting to get on top of that in 2017 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2017/04/called-to-the-work?lang=eng

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The letter is signed by the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the first two sentences read as follows: “You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the ______ Mission.”

Please note that the first sentence is a call to serve as a full-time missionary in the Lord’s restored Church. The second sentence indicates an assignment to labor in a specific place and mission. The important distinction expressed in these two sentences is essential for all of us to understand.

In the culture of the Church, we often talk of being called to serve in a country such as Argentina, Poland, Korea, or the United States. But a missionary is not called to a place; rather, he or she is called to serve.

 

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What is the point of calling large numbers of missionaries to missions that they will never set foot in (besides possibly having some at the ready for if and when)? One of our new sisters in our ward (had them over for dinner last night) was called to Tokyo South but is now in her 10th month in the Arizona Tempe Mission. Another elder in her mission is almost ready to go home, and he never got to Alberta (Tagalog speaking). Our friend is hitting his one-year mark in West Virginia, and will likely not get to Brazil. His call said he would report to the Sao Paulo MTC, and when his parents asked about that, the Missionary Department said that yes, he should be able to report to Brazil for the MTC. Anyone anywhere at the time could have seen that that was not going to happen.

I'm not requiring infallibility or "remote-controlled" transmission from God on mission calls, but I also don't think that God's larger plan with tens of thousands of calls to places missionaries will never go is part of a larger plan to wean the Church off of attitudes about missions, or to help these missionaries learn patience and flexibility. I think it's much more a function of those issuing the calls have no idea if or when they will get to these missions, but it's better to have a lot called that can go at some point, some time --- but in the meantime, warehoused stateside spending large amounts of time on  Facebook and Instagram. 

During "The Surge," when the missionaries temporarily and artificially peaked (because the cohort had a one-time simultaneous doubling with the age drop) at 89,000 (and Elder Holland predicted would top 100,000 by 2020), the Tempe mission president said that he was asked monthly if he could take on an additional 30 missionaries beyond what he was supposed to get. This led to 2-4 companionships in every ward, which wasn't good for the missionaries, the members, or the investigators (it also coincided with missionaries essentially living at the church buildings, spending all their time there). It wasn't a case of a revelatory call to a mission, it was simply having to put people somewhere. I think this spurred Elder Bednar and others' emphasis that mission calls are calls to service, not to a place or people. Why not just call all missionaries to missionary service, scope and location to be determined? 

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1 hour ago, rongo said:

What is the point of calling large numbers of missionaries to missions that they will never set foot in (besides possibly having some at the ready for if and when)? One of our new sisters in our ward (had them over for dinner last night) was called to Tokyo South but is now in her 10th month in the Arizona Tempe Mission. Another elder in her mission is almost ready to go home, and he never got to Alberta (Tagalog speaking). Our friend is hitting his one-year mark in West Virginia, and will likely not get to Brazil. His call said he would report to the Sao Paulo MTC, and when his parents asked about that, the Missionary Department said that yes, he should be able to report to Brazil for the MTC. Anyone anywhere at the time could have seen that that was not going to happen.

I'm not requiring infallibility or "remote-controlled" transmission from God on mission calls, but I also don't think that God's larger plan with tens of thousands of calls to places missionaries will never go is part of a larger plan to wean the Church off of attitudes about missions, or to help these missionaries learn patience and flexibility. I think it's much more a function of those issuing the calls have no idea if or when they will get to these missions, but it's better to have a lot called that can go at some point, some time --- but in the meantime, warehoused stateside spending large amounts of time on  Facebook and Instagram. 

During "The Surge," when the missionaries temporarily and artificially peaked (because the cohort had a one-time simultaneous doubling with the age drop) at 89,000 (and Elder Holland predicted would top 100,000 by 2020), the Tempe mission president said that he was asked monthly if he could take on an additional 30 missionaries beyond what he was supposed to get. This led to 2-4 companionships in every ward, which wasn't good for the missionaries, the members, or the investigators (it also coincided with missionaries essentially living at the church buildings, spending all their time there). It wasn't a case of a revelatory call to a mission, it was simply having to put people somewhere. I think this spurred Elder Bednar and others' emphasis that mission calls are calls to service, not to a place or people. Why not just call all missionaries to missionary service, scope and location to be determined? 

I think many of those would work if you are assigned to your own country in your own language.  However, if you are assigned to other countries speaking a different language the advance prep is good and sometimes vital.  Some of these missionaries are headed to other countries with only a few days to a week notice.  

Edited by Rain
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6 minutes ago, Rain said:

I think many of those would work if you are assigned to your own country in your own language.  However, if you are assigned to other countries speaking a different language the advance prep is good and sometimes vital.  Some if these missionaries are headed to other countries with only a few days to a week notice.  

Yeah, the ongoing Zooming with MTC teachers "is what it is." It's something, but nowhere near talking with people you live with and are in-person with. The sister ostensibly someday going to Japan said that the Zoom lessons are not that helpful, and she knows that speaking with actual Japanese people once you get there will be another thing altogether. I remember it took me about 8 weeks before I could understand and have conversations with people, even with the 8 weeks in the MTC.

ETA: lack of immersion is a problem even with traditional stateside language calls. A boy from our ward went to North Carolina, Spanish-speaking. It was hard for him to learn Spanish because he was immersed in English. I think that will be true, in spades, of our friend's son trying to learn French while occasionally, infrequently working with a few African refugees. 

Will they even send a sister somewhere if she only has four months left? Wouldn't it make more sense to just leave it as is at that point? Although, I'm sure I would want to go, even if it was only for a couple of months. 

What I'm not understanding is the random nature of who goes and who stays reassigned. I know of missionaries who have made it to Mexico, but I also know missionaries who were Mexico-bound and reassigned who are still reassigned. Plenty of time for the paperwork to go through, etc. Wouldn't the reassignments take precedence over new arrivals? It's seemingly random. 

 

Edited by rongo
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10 minutes ago, rongo said:

Yeah, the ongoing Zooming with MTC teachers "is what it is." It's something, but nowhere near talking with people you live with and are in-person with. The sister ostensibly someday going to Japan said that the Zoom lessons are not that helpful, and she knows that speaking with actual Japanese people once you get there will be another thing altogether. I remember it took me about 8 weeks before I could understand and have conversations with people, even with the 8 weeks in the MTC.

ETA: lack of immersion is a problem even with traditional stateside language calls. A boy from our ward went to North Carolina, Spanish-speaking. It was hard for him to learn Spanish because he was immersed in English. I think that will be true, in spades, of our friend's son trying to learn French while occasionally, infrequently working with a few African refugees. 

Will they even send a sister somewhere if she only has four months left? Wouldn't it make more sense to just leave it as is at that point? Although, I'm sure I would want to go, even if it was only for a couple of months. 

What I'm not understanding is the random nature of who goes and who stays reassigned. I know of missionaries who have made it to Mexico, but I also know missionaries who were Mexico-bound and reassigned who are still reassigned. Plenty of time for the paperwork to go through, etc. Wouldn't the reassignments take precedence over new arrivals? It's seemingly random. 

 

Sometimes things seem random because we only have a tiny percentage of the information the people in charge are working with.

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4 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Sometimes things seem random because we only have a tiny percentage of the information the people in charge are working with.

I'm sure that's true. It's just that when they have many, many months for the paperwork to go through (because they're reassigned), it can't be a paperwork issue (many countries are a nightmare to get visas or permits for). Brand new missionaries are being sent (one is from my stake) when long haul reassignees are still waiting. 

I suppose it is possible that countries have changed paperwork requirements, and the "old" missionaries' paperwork is now outdated, but I doubt it. 

Our friend in West Virginia is really struggling. His president is hyper scared about Covid, and they aren't allowed to meet with people or be on Facebook. If they're lucky, they can work a couple of hours at a food bank. They study, exercise, and play a lot of board games. He's bored out of his mind. That's an outlier (our sisters are door-knocking, but I don't think that's actually in keeping with mission policy. They are able to visit with people (I've gone with them on appointments). I think most are a mix of normal missionary work and social media --- skewing towards more social media. 

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3 hours ago, rongo said:

Yeah, the ongoing Zooming with MTC teachers "is what it is." It's something, but nowhere near talking with people you live with and are in-person with. The sister ostensibly someday going to Japan said that the Zoom lessons are not that helpful, and she knows that speaking with actual Japanese people once you get there will be another thing altogether. I remember it took me about 8 weeks before I could understand and have conversations with people, even with the 8 weeks in the MTC.

Of course it doesn't work as well, but you have to work with what you have.  

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ETA: lack of immersion is a problem even with traditional stateside language calls. A boy from our ward went to North Carolina, Spanish-speaking. It was hard for him to learn Spanish because he was immersed in English. I think that will be true, in spades, of our friend's son trying to learn French while occasionally, infrequently working with a few African refugees. 

Will they even send a sister somewhere if she only has four months left? Wouldn't it make more sense to just leave it as is at that point? Although, I'm sure I would want to go, even if it was only for a couple of months. 

What I'm not understanding is the random nature of who goes and who stays reassigned. I know of missionaries who have made it to Mexico, but I also know missionaries who were Mexico-bound and reassigned who are still reassigned. Plenty of time for the paperwork to go through, etc. Wouldn't the reassignments take precedence over new arrivals? It's seemingly random. 

 

Haven’t you ever done things with good reason, but your children, students or others may have thought it was random or they didn't understand why you did that that way? The advantage you have is that it is just you and another person so if they asked you could explain it.  With the missionary department they are working with tens of thousands of missionaries with hundreds of countries and changes of laws and health situations. 

Could it be random?  Yes.  I suspect there is much more that goes into it those based on the nature and scope of the situation

Edited by Rain
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34 minutes ago, rongo said:

I'm sure that's true. It's just that when they have many, many months for the paperwork to go through (because they're reassigned), it can't be a paperwork issue (many countries are a nightmare to get visas or permits for). Brand new missionaries are being sent (one is from my stake) when long haul reassignees are still waiting. 

I suppose it is possible that countries have changed paperwork requirements, and the "old" missionaries' paperwork is now outdated, but I doubt it. 

Maybe it doesn't have anything to do with paperwork.  

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3 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Maybe it doesn't have anything to do with paperwork.  

I think it likely doesn't, unless there are admissions quotas, in which case it may be random (i.e., since only so many can get in, all things being equal, some will simply be chosen and others won't). The families are in the dark, though. When a reassignee has their paperwork in order, is in good health (mental, physical, etc.), and new missionaries are being admitted into the country --- and it isn't a visa or residency issue . . . then what? It's not Covid restrictions if some are getting in (unless there are entrance caps). 

Or are you suggesting that it is revelatory; that God through His leaders is keeping some in reassigned areas for a wise purpose while letting others go to their assigned areas? 

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1 minute ago, rongo said:

I think it likely doesn't, unless there are admissions quotas, in which case it may be random (i.e., since only so many can get in, all things being equal, some will simply be chosen and others won't). The families are in the dark, though. When a reassignee has their paperwork in order, is in good health (mental, physical, etc.), and new missionaries are being admitted into the country --- and it isn't a visa or residency issue . . . then what? It's not Covid restrictions if some are getting in (unless there are entrance caps). 

Or are you suggesting that it is revelatory; that God through His leaders is keeping some in reassigned areas for a wise purpose while letting others go to their assigned areas? 

I'm not really suggesting anything other than that we don't really have enough information to even pretend we can guess at the answer.  

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I both like and don't like that comment by Elder Uchtdorf, in charge of Missionary work, who basically said you make these plans and then when the meeting is over you have to change them again-aka glad i'm not in charge😇

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On 4/13/2021 at 3:45 AM, bluebell said:

Maybe it doesn't have anything to do with paperwork.  

Our recently called elders quorum president came to my home last night to assist with some ministering, and something he said reminded me of one of my favourite passages of scripture, one that has had huge impact on how I have tried to conduct my life post-mission. It comes from D&C 51 and was specifically a revelation intended for Saints who had left places like New York for Ohio but who didn't understand whether they would be staying there or even for how long:

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And I consecrate unto them this land for a little season, until I, the Lord, shall provide for them otherwise, and command them to go hence;

And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good.

I strongly suspect that it is as important for us to learn this lesson now as it was for the early Saints who faithfully experienced repeated 'reassignments' in the process of establishing Zion.

I doubt we will ever go back to issuing mission calls from the pulpit, but perhaps we need to be reminded that missions are not about the missionary.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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  • 2 weeks later...

My niece just opened her call. Argentina, Resistencia, reporting to the Mexico City MTC in August. 

What are the chances she will go to the MTC, and/or Argentina in August?

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2 hours ago, rongo said:

My niece just opened her call. Argentina, Resistencia, reporting to the Mexico City MTC in August. 

What are the chances she will go to the MTC, and/or Argentina in August?

MTC - who knows?  Argentina may be good.  There have been missionaries go there at least as early as March 30th.

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41 minutes ago, JustAnAustralian said:

The missionaries in our ward were scheduled to get their first COVID-19 vaccine shots on this coming Friday, but unfortunately they were exposed to COVID-19 late last week and one of the missionaries tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.  He is not feeling well.   But needless to say, they can't get their vaccine on their scheduled date now.  Fortunately they were aware of their exposure late Saturday night and so they didn't attend church in person on Sunday.

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7 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

That's a good question. My understanding is that you won't/can't be called foreign without it (it would be in the battery of required vaccinations), so that would seem to indicate yes. Or, are missionaries called foreign and told that their going is contingent upon their adding a Covid vaccination to the mix? I know that vaccination record is part of the medical paperwork. 

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8 hours ago, Rain said:

MTC - who knows?  Argentina may be good.  There have been missionaries go there at least as early as March 30th.

I don't know how bad Mexico is supposed to be, for one thing. 

Do they begin with the reassignment backlog (people waiting stateside to go) before sending people directly? Or, is it kind of random who goes and when? In a way, August is months away, but on the other hand, "out of an abundance of caution" psyche can also mean that things won't be materially different in three months. Time will tell. 

ETA: If they don't reopen the MTCs with the new vaccine requirement, that will be dumb. Isn't that the point of requiring the vaccine --- to make it so people don't have to worry about thousands of people in close proximity indoors? If there is remaining, ongoing skittishness about things like the Conference Center, MTCs, etc., even if everyone admitted is vaccinated, that kind of feeds into the "then what's the point?" thought. 

Edited by rongo
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I've had two kids of people i'm friends with called to two different places in Africa in the last month.  Both are slated to attend the MTC in South Africa.  Guess we'll see.

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1 minute ago, bluebell said:

I've had two kids of people i'm friends with called to two different places in Africa in the last month.  Both are slated to attend the MTC in South Africa.  Guess we'll see.

I don't think you can go off what the call letter says. Every single one has always said, and still says Mexico City MTC for Spanish, Sao Paolo MTC for Portuguese, and so on. Our friend nearing his one year mark in West Virginia (called to Brazil), his call letter said, "you will report to the Sao Paolo MTC," and at the time, that was ludicrous. I kind of wish the language was changed to the effect that you will attend ____ MTC if possible, but will do home MTC if not. Everyone hopefully already assumes that, I think.

Your son will be awaiting a call fairly soon, right? Our niece's call came as a shock --- only a week after it was submitted. Calls are being made quickly, it's just anybody's guess if and when foreign calls will be realized as called. 

 

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39 minutes ago, rongo said:

I don't think you can go off what the call letter says. Every single one has always said, and still says Mexico City MTC for Spanish, Sao Paolo MTC for Portuguese, and so on. Our friend nearing his one year mark in West Virginia (called to Brazil), his call letter said, "you will report to the Sao Paolo MTC," and at the time, that was ludicrous. I kind of wish the language was changed to the effect that you will attend ____ MTC if possible, but will do home MTC if not. Everyone hopefully already assumes that, I think.

Your son will be awaiting a call fairly soon, right? Our niece's call came as a shock --- only a week after it was submitted. Calls are being made quickly, it's just anybody's guess if and when foreign calls will be realized as called. 

 

My son's friend got her call back in a week (stateside, reports in July).  My son is planning on putting his papers in at the end of september, so not much longer.

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2 minutes ago, bluebell said:

My son's friend got her call back in a week (stateside, reports in July).  My son is planning on putting his papers in at the end of september, so not much longer.

I think it's wise to miss the summer crush (most missionaries put their availability date in June or July, because of school schedules, which means that there is a massive cyclical bulge in the pipeline). Plus, that allows more time for the Covid craziness to (hopefully) die out more. If he doesn't already have a passport, have him get one (I think like everything else, the process is s-l-o-w right now). The application asks you to upload an image of it if he has one, and I figure it can't hurt your chances of leaving the country if you already have one. ;) 

My daughter wants to leave in January, so she needs to start that process kind of soon. We go and get her from college on Saturday, and she goes back in August for one more semester. Wisdom teeth out and all the rest in May!

Our son's mission is down to about 30 missionaries, and 24 are currently out on reassignment. The president told parents on the Facebook page to manage expectations about their children getting there this summer, as it doesn't look like Norway is in a hurry to allow it. Even pre-Covid, visa-waiting for at least six weeks on reassignment was almost a given, although this only began once Trump was elected . . . 

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2 hours ago, rongo said:

I think it's wise to miss the summer crush (most missionaries put their availability date in June or July, because of school schedules, which means that there is a massive cyclical bulge in the pipeline). Plus, that allows more time for the Covid craziness to (hopefully) die out more. If he doesn't already have a passport, have him get one (I think like everything else, the process is s-l-o-w right now). The application asks you to upload an image of it if he has one, and I figure it can't hurt your chances of leaving the country if you already have one. ;) 

My daughter wants to leave in January, so she needs to start that process kind of soon. We go and get her from college on Saturday, and she goes back in August for one more semester. Wisdom teeth out and all the rest in May!

Our son's mission is down to about 30 missionaries, and 24 are currently out on reassignment. The president told parents on the Facebook page to manage expectations about their children getting there this summer, as it doesn't look like Norway is in a hurry to allow it. Even pre-Covid, visa-waiting for at least six weeks on reassignment was almost a given, although this only began once Trump was elected . . . 

Thanks for the tip about the passport.  That's a good idea.

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