We’ve Got Mail! Whoo hoo! Our very first missionary mail has arrived from our missionary daughter in the form of a very short but very appreciated email message. We’ll take it! Getting missionary mail is better than Christmas! The subject heading for her email to us says it all; “How to sleep like a Rock – Be A Missionary!”
After reading her brief, sweet message it’s obvious that our daughter is healthy, happy and thriving in her missionary training experience. She is being kept busy from morning to night and, apparently sleeping “like a rock” once her head finally hits the pillow. (the secret cure for insomnia has just been revealed)
Our daughter Sister A entered the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) last Wednesday, Feb. 13th. Time has flown by, and now she is already packing up and preparing to leave for her mission field this Monday Feb. 25th. In total, she will have only spent 11.5 days in the MTC! That could possibly be a new “training speed” record for this century.
Ever since President Monson‘s surprise announcement in October lowering the age requirements for full-time missionary service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there have been a lot of changes to help “expedite” the massive increase of new missionaries flooding the system. It’s been a joyful deluge, no doubt, but any kind of flood requires quick footwork, and some occasional frantic swimming!
In January the Church reported that the response remained enthusiastic and the numbers were unprecendented. As the numbers steadily climbed, the missionary department scrambled to find more space for all of the missionaries in training centers. Time spent in the MTC was drastically cut, and then cut again. Currently, native speakers only stay about 10-12 days as opposed to 3 or 4 weeks. Foreign language training has also been drastically reduced to anywhere from only 4 weeks to 11 weeks. It was confirmed to me that rumors were true of missionaries in Provo being housed in local motels and transported daily by bus to and from mission training sites. Then, a new MTC in Mexico was announced to relieve some of the pressure off of Provo, with more MTCs to be announced in the future.
During a training session for new MTC and Visitor Center President’s, they were forewarned:
“You’re going to see more missionaries than we’ve ever had in the history of the Church at any one time, probably more missionaries than have ever been called in the history of the earth. . .You’re going to see MTCs…that are crowded and strained to the maximum capacity or beyond…You’re going to see wonderful, wonderful miracles as you go through this.””
—Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy, Implications of a Growing Missionary Force
Today the Church announced that 58 new missions will be created by splitting existing missions and realigning boundaries. It seems logical that today’s announcement is just the first wave in a series of new mission realignments and creations. In fact, it should come as no surprise in light of previous statements:
“To accommodate this new influx of missionaries, capacity for many missions will rise to 250 missionaries. When missions exceed that number, new missions will likely be created as needed.”
– MormonNewsroom 7 Jan 2013
Although nothing in a missionary experience is ever certain, there does seem to be two things we can count on over the next 18 months as Sister A serves her full-time mission;
1. Change (and, plenty of it!)
2. Sleeping like a Rock.
- MoSop, aka “Missionary Mom”
- MTC Day: So long, Farewell, Goodbye, Write Soon! (mormonsoprano.com)
- The Lasts Shall Be First (mormonsoprano.com)
- The Mission Call Revealed (mormonsoprano.com)
- Elder Evans Addresses the Implications of a Growing Missionary Force (lds.org)
- Response to Mormon Missionary Age Change (lds.org)
- Missions to be Created to Accomodate Influx of New Missionaries (lds.org)