Missionaries may now communicate with family weekly, rather than twice a year during their missions, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Friday.
On their preparation days, missionaries may now text, online message, call and video chat their families on their weekly preparation day, in addition to letters and emails, according to a press statement released on MormonNewsroom.org.
“Regular communication with their families is an important part of a missionary’s service,” said the First Presidency in a statement. “One of the major purposes of this adjustment is to encourage families to be more involved in their missionary’s efforts and experiences.”
Missionaries are encouraged to judge the length of phone and video calls and be considerate of companions. Additionally, they are encouraged to not disrupt their schedules with lengthy calls.
Family members are asked to not initiate calls or chats, but instead should wait for the missionary to contact them on his or her weekly preparation day.
“We encourage missionaries to communicate with their families each week using whatever approved method missionaries decide,” said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and chairman of the Missionary Executive Council. “This may vary based on their circumstances, locations and schedules for that week. It is not expected that all missionaries will call or video chat with their parents every week. The precise manner of communication is left up to the missionary as he or she decides what will best meet their needs.”
Prior to the change, missionaries could only call or video chat with family twice a year, traditionally on Christmas and Mother's Day.
Missionaries are encouraged to contact family on other special occasions such as Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day, parents' birthdays and other culturally significant holidays.
Currently, the LDS Church has more than 65,000 missionaries throughout the world. Young men serve for 24 months beginning as early as age 18, and young women may serve for 18 months as early as age 19.