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COVID pandemic forces LDS missionaries to be reassigned

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 2:05 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of aspects of our lives. It’s also changed how and where missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do missionary work.

Thousands of Latter-day Saints missionaries have had to return home from their missions to be reassigned to another area in their home country.

“It’s been crazy. I never expected it, never saw it coming. I don’t think anyone really did,” said Kami Withers, a sister missionary with the church and a Twin Falls native.

Withers has been out eight months of her 18 month mission, five and a half were spent in her original area of Madera, Mexico.

“On a Sunday, our mission president sent out a video that announced that we were all going home,” Withers said. “And then throughout the next couple of days, we were put in quarantine, so we couldn’t leave the house at all. And then at that time they were sending out texts like saying when people would be leaving, that most American missionaries would be leaving within the next few days.”

By the time Withers left that Friday, her flights had dozens of missionaries also headed back to the states.

“Mexico City, where there were, like 100 other missionaries that were coming from all over Mexico to come back home,” she said. “So on my flight from Mexico City to Salt Lake, there were actually like 100 missionaries.”

Withers was home in Twin Falls for six weeks, and was then reassigned to Atlanta, Georgia.

“When we first got here, we were still in quarantine, we couldn’t leave the house, go to people’s houses not, even members,” Withers said. “But recently we’ve been given permission to go inside members’ houses, but we still have to keep a safe 6 foot distance, masks and no touching still.”

Missionary work in general has changed as well.

“Nowadays most people if they have a question, they’re not going to go find someone on the streets, they’re going to go online. And so it’s been cool to be a part of that because what we do as missionaries is just make videos and just post all day, post on Facebook,” Withers continued. “And so it’s been really interesting to see how people are responding to that versus how it was before where we knock doors for like four hours a day and maybe get one person that lets us in. Where here, we post something and people are actually coming to us.”

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