Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can now call home once a week instead of waiting for special occasions like Mother’s Day and Christmas, as was done in the past.
Effective immediately, missionaries may also communicate weekly with their families using text messages, online messaging, and video chat in addition to letters and emails, a press release said.
One of the reasons the press release stated was church leaders want the whole family involved in the work of their missionaries.
“Regular communication with their families is an important part of a missionary’s service,” said the First Presidency in the statement. “One of the major purposes of this adjustment is to encourage families to be more involved in their missionary’s efforts and experiences.”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and chairman of the Missionary Executive Council, encourages missionaries to communicate with their families each week using whatever approved method missionaries decide.
Communication ways may vary based on the family’s circumstances, locations and schedules for that week. It is not expected that all missionaries will call or video chat with their parents every week.
Elder Uchtdorf said, “The precise manner of communication is left up to the missionary as he or she decides what will best meet their needs.”
Family members were asked not to initiate contact with their missionaries, but to wait for the missionary to make contact so as not to interrupt the work of those serving.
Leaders would like to encourage families and missionaries to use judgment in determining the length of phone calls and video chats and to be considerate of their companions.
If a missionary’s parents live in different locations, he or she may contact each parent separately.
Where missionaries do not have access to computers or phones, they will be encouraged to continue using their current means of communication.
In addition to weekly communication, missionaries are also encouraged to contact family on other special occasions such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, parents’ birthdays and other culturally significant holidays.
Elder Uchtdorf said the new guidelines offer several benefits, including accommodating varied family circumstances as well as better supporting those missionaries who would benefit from increased personal contact with family at home.
The church has more than 65,000 missionaries serving throughout the world in a variety of countries and cultures as representatives of Jesus Christ.