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Friday, November 16, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: First Presidency Announces Change in Church Service Missionary Procedures

Hello again, everyone! Earlier today, the First Presidency announced changes to the way Church service missionaries will get their calls and assignments going forward. An official letter has been sent with the signature of the First Presidency. In both the announcement and the letter, it is explained that all who desire to serve a mission for the Church will go through the same process of filling out missionary papers, having doctor and dental examinations, and submitting that material to Salt Lake for consideration.

Upon receipt of those papers through the website, the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with representatives from the Missionary Department, will weigh the available information as they seek for inspiration. Those who are found to have health conditions which would make full-time service impractical will then receive a letter of call, signed by the Church President, with the designated field of labor being noted as "Church Service Missionary", on either a full- or part-time basis. At that point, such prospective missionaries will work with their local leaders to determine an appropriate way in which they can serve locally.

But there is more to these changes than that. Those full-time missionaries who are honorably released to go home early in view of outstanding health issues will have the option, as they are able to do so, to complete the length of their mission as Church service missionaries as well. And the Church will continue the established tradition of honorably excusing anyone who is unable to serve as a missionary either full-time or in a Church Service Mission.

As one whose personal health required me to be honorably excused from full-time missionary service, I can tell you that the part-time Church Service Missionary opportunities I had were a good fit for my personal situation. But I had been honorably excused from serving full-time by my local leaders and had been able to choose my own opportunities.

While some family members wanted me to consider serving in the Family and Church History Mission in Salt Lake, now known as the Church Headquarters Mission, I had prayed about it and had felt impressed to assist with local humanitarian efforts 2-3 days per week and to serve 2 shifts per week as a veil worker in the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple. I spent two years filling the former assignment, during which time I also served in the temple as well, and I extended my temple service for four years after my formal assignment ended.

And those opportunities worked out well for me personally, since the continuation of my temple service after the end of my tenure as a Welfare Services Missionary ultimately led me to meet the woman I would later marry in that same temple. During my two-year service period, I often lamented that the one thing which never happened for me was to have that official call letter signed by the President of the Church. Only that would have made the opportunities I did that much more meaningful.

But it seems that the First Presidency is recognizing that that official letter has been a missed part of the experience for the past and current Church Service Missionaries around the world, and I am glad that this step has been taken to rectify that situation. I am likewise grateful to have been able to pass word of this development on to you all here. I continue to monitor any and all Church news and temple developments on an ongoing basis and will do my level best to keep bringing word of those to you all here as I receive it. Look for another Church news/temple update later today.

In the meantime, that does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.