For many years, young Latter-day Saints with a desire to serve a mission but who are unable to do so for health reasons have served the Lord valiantly in various community and Church organizations. The Church has now announced increased opportunities for young missionaries who have health challenges.

Beginning on January 2, 2019, all young missionary candidates will use the missionary online recommendation process. Under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, each prospective missionary who qualifies will receive a call that best suits him or her.

Preaching the gospel will always be the primary purpose of missionary service, so the Lord, through His leaders, will call most young people to find, teach, and baptize converts. Others, unable to serve in this manner, may be called to serve the Lord as a service missionary.

Additionally, missionaries who return home early from a proselyting mission
for long-term health reasons may be reassigned to serve the Lord as a service missionary. Some other candidates may be honorably excused from any formal missionary service.

Here are key messages from the First Presidency letter and the website

  • A missionary candidate does not choose which kind of mission he or she will serve. All missionary applicants are considered first for proselyting missions. Young men and women who are unable to be called as proselyting missionaries for physical, mental, or emotional reasons are called as service missionaries. Their service missions are tailored to their unique talents, skills, and gifts and to the local environment.
  • After a young man or young woman has been called to serve as a service missionary, the stake president counsels with the missionary, his or her parents, and the service mission leaders to create a customized mission to match the missionary’s capabilities.
  • Service missionaries live at home and serve locally at approved community charitable organizations (e.g., food banks, refugee services, or shelters), Church operations (e.g., storehouses, canneries, temples, seminaries and institutes), or in assignments from their stake president or bishop. may be a helpful resource for identifying charitable service opportunities.
  • The standards of worthiness for service missionaries are the same as for proselyting missionaries.
  • Service missions are acceptable offerings to the Lord when a proselyting mission is not possible. They are both “real missions.” All missionaries represent the Lord and are His agents in the work of salvation.
  • A call to the work as either a proselyting or service missionary comes from God through the President of the Church. Service missionaries are invited to speak in sacrament meeting before and after their missions, and they report to the high council upon completion of the mission. A calling as a service missionary is recorded on a membership record in the same way as a proselyting mission.

Watch this video “Church Announces Changes to Recommendation Process for Young Missionaries” for more information:

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