'Limited number’ of Latter-day Saint missionaries are resuming foreign assignments

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Elder Ethan Borg waves from his driveway as friends and neighbors honk and wave as he returns home from his Latter-day Saint mission in Thailand, Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has once again begun sending missionaries outside their home countries — but only a “very limited number.”

Earlier this year, many missionaries were reassigned to serve in their home countries because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite spikes in the outbreak in many places around the world, the church has begun a “deliberate and cautious” process to return to more normal missionary assignments.

“All missionary travel is dependent upon local conditions and air travel restrictions, and some missionaries may not depart for several months,” church spokesman Daniel Woodruff said in a news release Wednesday. "We recognize conditions can change rapidly, and we will continue to closely monitor world events and make adjustments as needed.”

In a statement, Woodruff went on to say, “The safety of our missionaries and those they serve is our top priority.”

Mission offices will notify missionaries when their travel has been scheduled; it will be up to the missionaries to share that information with their families. The church is asking that both missionaries and their families “not contact the Church Travel Office, embassies or consuls about their travel plans or documents.”

And missionaries will be instructed to “follow established public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19” — including quarantining when they arrive at their assignments.