Mormons announce millionth missionary - East Valley Tribune: Spirituallife

Mormons announce millionth missionary

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Posted: Saturday, June 30, 2007 3:29 pm | Updated: 7:30 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday that it reached a historic milestone in its ministry outreach — sending out its millionth missionary.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday that it reached a historic milestone in its ministry outreach — sending out its millionth missionary.

“It is not possible to pinpoint exactly who the millionth missionary is,” Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said during a news conference at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. It was during orientation sessions with 118 new missionaries. “We do know that young men and women, senior sisters and couples have volunteered to serve at their own or family expense in spreading this message to 145 nations and territories.”

The church’s prophet and president, Gordon B. Hinckley, noted the milestone. “We have made great progress in our missionary work in recent years. We have more missionaries and more effective missionaries. It is reliably estimated that a million missionaries have served since the organization of the church (in 1830).”

Ballard pointed out how diverse the missionaries are. “A young Peruvian sister grilled hamburgers at a street cart to finance her mission in her home country. A young elder from India served in Toronto, Canada, and a retired couple left children and grandchildren to help dig clean water wells in West Africa. Missionaries serve where they are assigned, not knowing where in the world they may be.” He noted that their work ranges from humanitarian projects, helping people trace genealogy in family history centers and “teaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“They face rejection and sometimes verbal abuse,” Ballard said. “But they soldier on. They serve, they help others and they go the extra mile to lift and bless people in all walks of life and in all human conditions.”

Beginning with 16 missionaries its first year, the church now has about 53,000 full-time missionaries, from young adults to seniors, around the world. Most are young men assigned for two years and young women serving for 18 months.

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