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Church’s new announcement improves communication with missionaries and their families

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement on the Feb. 15, changing the communicating resources approved on preparation day for missionaries.

Missionaries can now communicate with their families by text messages, video chats and phone calls along with letters and emails.

In the statement, the First Presidency said, “Regular communication with their families is an important part of a missionary’s service. One of the major purposes of this adjustment is to encourage families to be more involved in their missionary efforts and experiences.”

On Feb. 12, Heidi Daniels, a freshman studying art, got her mission call to the California Santa Rosa mission, reporting to the missionary training center on June 12. The realization of serving didn’t hit her until Thursday night (before the announcement) when her sister asked her how she was feeling about it. It wasn’t until Feb. 15 that her worries faded away.

“I haven’t really thought about my mission call a whole lot because I had tests to study for, but since they were all done, my mind was clear and now my mission call was at the front of my brain. I kind of had a breakdown,” Daniels said. “It hit me like a ton of bricks. I started asking myself, ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ How will I cope knowing that I can’t just call my parents at the drop of a hat?”

Shane Witbeck, a freshman studying hospital health and administration who served in the Idaho Pocatello mission, said, “I believe it will help families to be more involved with missionary work. It will also allow missionaries to share the experiences they’ve had in a more meaningful way. Imagine being able to tell them all of the great things that have happened every week.”

McKay Fife, a freshman studying illustration, just got his mission call to serve in the South Africa Durban mission; before The Church’s announcement he was worried about getting news from family. But because of the revelation, his family can be a huge support system for him and be a big part of his mission.

However, there seems to people that believe that the new church announcement is a little too much.

In the Salt Lake Tribune, they interviewed Neil Evans, a resident of Reston, Virginia, said “Twice a year was too little, “ Evans said. “Once a week is too often.” There’s a lot of value in “sitting down and putting your thoughts and feelings in writing,” he said. “I realize that it’s not compulsory [to call weekly], but something in the middle would have been nice. Once a month. Once every other month.”

The official statement advises that missionaries should be wise on considering how much time they spend on phone calls and video chats while being considerate of their companions.

Daniels said, “Heavenly Father knew one of my biggest worries and the next day, He allows us to call or FaceTime our families. I don’t see that as a coincidence – that is a tender mercy, but more significantly, an answer. It showed me that God cares about and knows me.”

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