The LDS church announced missionary schedule can be customized based on safety, cultural, health, productivity and other needs, according to the Mormon Newsroom. BYU-Hawaii students and former Hong Kong, Mission President, Charlie Goo, said the changes can make missionary work more effective.
LDS church news reported missionaries can now customize their schedule in counsel with their mission president. For instance, “missionaries in Latin America may need to arise and return to their house later. The culture in some African nations may call for missionaries to leave and return sooner,” according to the Church news.
On preparation day, missionaries could have “more flexibility and time for laundry and shopping, communicating with family and the mission president, excursing and participating recreational activities,” according to the Church news.
In the Barcelona Spain mission, Tyler Pisciotta, a junior from Las Vegas studying biology, said their day started and ended an hour later than normal missionary schedules. “One of the reasons we woke up later is it helped us become more effective. Everyone in Spain stared later today and have a nap during the day and stay up really late. People there eat dinner at 10 or 11 p.m.”
Marissa Brooke Jones, a senior with elementary education from Arizona, said she thought the change in schedule as appropriate. “I thought it was pretty cool because each culture has their own traditions and the ways of doing things, so putting every single missionary into the same schedule didn’t seem to make a lot of sense.”
Jones said she served in the Milan Italy Mission from 2013 to 2014. “On my mission, Italian people eat late at night, so we’ve never really had many dinner appointments. But sometimes, it would be really good for us to go with investigators to bond with ward members. So with this new changes it would be possible to adjust into their own cultures to be more effective missionary.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “The most significant change in the schedule is to give the missionaries and also mission presidents the latitude to make the necessary decisions and adjustments in the daily work of the missionary.”
Charlie Goo said the change was inspired. “It helps missionaries worldwide not only be flexible, but also productive. In certain areas of the world, missionaries cannot proselyte after a certain time. So they should go out earlier in the morning and come back earlier so that they can have time to do His work.”
Goo said when he was the Mission President in Hong Kong, they had a special mimssion rule for missionaries to get up at 6am to provide more time for language study. “We felt the blessings coming from this mission schedule. You get better in the language and you can convey the message. The baptismal numbers increased because of the improvements in their language ability.”
Elder Brent H. Nielson, executive director of the Church’s Missionary Department, said to Mormon Nesroom, “It will allow missionaries after the mission to make that smooth transition into their life and have that same flexibility as they have those same goals.”
Reporting to MTC on March 3 to prepare to serve in the Washington Everett Mission, Hadley Gordon, a hospitality and tourism management freshman from Utah, said she hoped the change in the schedule will help her prioritize her time and be what her investigators need her to be. “I have lots of friends on missions telling me how excited they are about the new schedule because it will give missionaries more flexibility. This helps the missionaries use their agency so when they come back from their missions, it will be an easier transition.”