‘Significant’ number of LDS missionaries — more than 1,600 — heading home, from Philippines to Salt Lake City, on 5 chartered planes

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 22, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Five chartered aircraft carrying more than 1,600 missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have already landed or soon will be landing at Salt Lake International Airport on Sunday.

LDS Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff has confirmed to Gephardt Daily that more than the missionaries are flying in from the Philippines.

Also making the flight, of more than 7,300 miles, are non-Philippines natives, Woodruff confirmed via text.

The missionaries’ flight is in keeping with the Friday announcement that a significant number of missionaries would be leaving the countries in which they were serving.

“Many missionaries will continue on to their final destinations,” Woodruff said in a brief text confirming details. “1600+ missionaries involved.”

Woodruff said there would be no formal statement because the general announcement was made previously by way of a news release.

Read that statement, in full, below:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We take very seriously the health and safety of our missionaries and of those they teach. The rapidly developing travel advisories and restrictions that are emerging around the world present significant logistical and other challenges. Therefore, the following temporary adjustments are being made:

In the coming weeks, based upon world conditions, substantial numbers of missionaries will likely need to be returned to their home nations to continue their service. This will be done in a systematic way based on the urgency of travel restrictions, the level of COVID-19 concern, and other considerations.

Returning missionaries will go through a 14-day period of self-isolation and then may be assigned to serve within their home country, based on local conditions.

The term of service for missionaries returning to or serving within the United States will likely be reduced to accommodate the large number of missionaries returning from around the world.

Missionary training centers (MTCs) worldwide will not receive new missionaries. MTC training for missionaries will take place through technology, and missionaries will be sent to their assigned mission as soon as possible.

As we evaluate changing conditions, further necessary adjustments will be made.

We love and pray for our missionaries and their families. We are grateful for the continued prayers and support of parents, loved ones and Church members as we make every effort to help them remain safe and well in these challenging times.


The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles


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