63 Latter-day Saint missionaries removed from Bolivia because of political unrest

(Natacha Pisarenko | The Associated Press) A backer of former President Evo Morales holds a Wiphala flag in front of soldiers blocking a street in downtown La Paz, Bolivia, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Bolivia's new interim president Jeanine Anez faces the challenge of stabilizing the nation and organizing national elections within three months at a time of political disputes that pushed Morales to fly off to self-exile in Mexico after 14 years in power.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is moving 63 missionaries from its Cochabamba, Bolivia, Mission amid political unrest in the country.

Most of the missionaries, who are all from North America, will be reassigned to other missions, and those nearing the end of their service will go home, according to a church news release Friday.

The move comes as the U.S. government evacuated all nonemergency workers from the country, and after weeks of fraud allegations against former President Evo Morales and deadly protests. Morales resigned Sunday.

Latter-day Saint missionaries in other parts of Bolivia will remain and continue “limited missionary work.”

“The safety of our missionaries is our highest priority, and we will continue to carefully monitor developments in Bolivia and make further adjustments and decisions as circumstances require,” according to the release. “We pray for the people in Bolivia as they navigate this difficult time in their country.”

The church has 207,000 members, more than 250 congregations, five missions and one temple in Bolivia.

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