LDS in Liberia

Elder David A Bednar speaks to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members in Liberia on Nov. 1, 2015.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Sunday it is reducing the number of its missionaries in Liberia because of concerns about having adequate supplies for them due to the country's economic problems.

In the next few days, 23 young missionaries who were close to ending their assignments in the West African nation will return home, church spokesman Daniel Woodruff said in a statement. Eight other missionaries who had been preparing to go to Liberia have been temporarily assigned elsewhere. There are adequate supplies for the 99 people who will remain at the Liberia Monrovia Mission, Woodruff said.

“The Church will continue to closely monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed. We pray for the people in Liberia as they navigate the economic situation in their country,” he said.

Serving a mission for the religion, widely known as the Mormon church, is considered a rite of passage for the faith's members. Men serve for two years and go on missions as young as 18. Women serve for 18 months and are allowed to start them at age 19.

The church has 13,200 members in Liberia, where its missionaries have been working since 1987.

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