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In a ificant shift, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now allowing its 65, missionaries worldwide to communicate with their families once a week through text messages, online messaging, phone calls and video chats in addition to letters and s, officials announced Friday on Twitter.

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He was very polite and friendly and helped answer some questions I had about submitting referrals online. It is extremely easy to navigate and has tons of great information to share with your non-member friends. Anyone can request a visit from missionaries anywhere in the world. Visitors on the site can also request a free Bible or Book of Mormon, as well as click on a link that allows them to read the scriptures online. If your computer has a Flash player you can watch several video clips on various gospel subjects, as well as hear testimonies from members of the Church. What a great resource this web site is for us to use as members of the Church!

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Curious about the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints? talk via phone or video call with a missionary

Guenter Castrillo nods. With that, the young men have their Facebook post for the day.

This is what missionary work looks like during the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the Utah-based faith widely known as the Mormon church to accelerate its online outreach. After hastily bringing home more than 26, young people from overseas missions aimed at recruiting new members, the church has begun sending many of them out again in their home countries with a new focus on online work that may persist even after the pandemic, officials told The Associated Press.

This will change what we do, I think, forever.

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Missionary work has changed drastically for young people like Rather and Castrillo, who had spent long days walking through the streets in the Philippines to spread the word of their faith before the pandemic hit. Now, they hardly leave a ground-level apartment in the small town of Brigham City in northern Utah.

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After sending the Facebook post recently, they knelt for a prayer and then dialed in to a Zoom call with a family. A similar scene is playing out worldwide as reased missionaries navigate new realities. The husband and wife had different outcomes: She says she found it difficult but would like to work on it.

Pandemic accelerates mormon missionaries’ transition online

On Facebook, McCain and King craft a message in Portuguese, the language they learned for their original asments in Brazil. They also text people asking to set up a call to talk about the church. The church began incorporating online faith outreach when it gave some missionaries tablets six years ago.

A more online-based approach would be a major shift and could diminish the appeal for some young church members who crave an enriching cultural experience, said Ryan Cragun, a sociology professor at the University of Tampa who specializes in religion and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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The time in the community also breaks up the drudgery of being alone with a fellow missionary, said Cragun, a former church member who served a mission in Costa Rica. McCain said she sees an opportunity to use online tools to reach more people.

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The virus forced church officials to scramble for flights to get missionaries home from far-flung countries like Ethiopia, Australia and Vietnam. But Nielson said the church never wavered in keeping the missionary program going.

It shows the importance the church places on sharing its gospel and giving young people the chance to fulfill an important rite of passage. About 5, missionaries who were brought home have been sent out again in the United States.

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Thousands more are heading out soon. The church gave them the option to wait a year, but the large majority chose to start again now, Nielson said. Missions, which last two years for men and 18 months for women, are as much about locking in young church members for life as converting others, Cragun said.

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The average of people converted per missionary has risen slightly in the last three years, to 3. People searching for answers.

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People searching for someone to talk to. Fam reported from Winter Park, Florida.

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The AP is solely responsible for this content. After hastily bringing home 26, young men and women who were serving in foreign countries, the faith has begun sending many of them out again in their home countries with a new focus on online work that could stick even when the pandemic is over, church officials told The Associated Press.

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Coping with the Pandemic:. Full Coverage: Religion. Connect with the definitive source for global and local news.

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