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From The Office of the First Presidency:
For many years, young men and women with a desire to serve God through missionary service but who are unable to do so for health reasons have served the Lord valiantly in various community and Church organizations. We are grateful for their service and are pleased to announce 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 to gather scattered Israel 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, with our appreciation for their desire to serve, be honorably excused from any formal missionary service.
What Is A Service Mission?
A service missionary is called by the Lord through His prophet to serve in an environment uniquely tailored to the service missionary’s interests, abilities, and talents. Service missionaries live at home and serve for 6 to 18 months (young women ages 19–25) and 6 to 24 months (young men ages 18–25). They serve as close to full-time as their circumstances allow. Many service missionaries will serve the Lord in multiple assignments, including with approved charitable organizations, Church operations, and stake-assigned opportunities. Throughout their missions, service missionaries serve the Lord under the ecclesiastical direction of their stake presidents.
A service mission is an acceptable offering to the Lord when a proselyting mission is not possible. Therefore, referring to a proselyting mission as a “real mission,” “normal mission,” or “traditional mission” is inaccurate and should be avoided. All missionaries represent the Lord and carry out His work.
The objectives of a service mission include the following:
- Provide an opportunity for all willing young women and young men to serve the Lord and increase in testimony of Him.
- Help each service missionary prepare for a lifetime of service.
- Provide needed and valuable service to the Lord through serving in Church and community organizations.
Service missionaries always wear service missionary name badges at their service assignment, at service mission meetings, and at Sunday Church meetings. They do not wear name badges at other times.
Service missionaries and their families are responsible for expenses related to missionary service. Family expenses include but are not limited to transportation, food, clothing, and medical, dental, and auto insurance. Service missionaries and their families are responsible for transportation to and from their service locations. Service missionaries receive no financial support from the General Missionary Fund.
For more information, visit lds.org/service-missionary.
Local Service Missionaries enjoy a meal at their 2018 Service Mission Christmas Conference. Photos courtesy of Mark D. Bradshaw.