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Mormon missionaries ditching suits, donning jeans to do more service

LDS » Bay Area elders and sisters are spending their days helping area nonprofits.

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"The missionaries were recently honored at the [Acterra] organization’s volunteer dinner as the ‘largest core group’ of volunteers," she says.

Each pair of missionaries has to find its own service opportunities, which fit within established guidelines:

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• The service has to be within or near their assigned areas.

• Missionaries are not allowed to use power tools and can go only four steps up a ladder.

• Missionaries are not allowed to work directly with children in most cases. (Exceptions are where there are lots of adults around and the service is in a public area.)

• Missionaries always must be within sight and sound of their companions.

• Missionaries always have to wear their name tags.

When evaluating service prospects, missionaries are told "to use good judgment and protect the name of Christ."

Higham celebrates this move toward putting more service in Mormon missions.

"We’re sending a whole generation of young missionaries back home with the awareness and the experience to engage in service in their own communities," she says. "Some of these missionaries will become community leaders and the experience they gained at age 19 or 20 working with the homeless, at-risk youth, disabled individuals and other disadvantaged populations will become invaluable."

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And there’s still plenty of time in the evenings to seek baptisms.


Twitter: @religiongal

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