The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on Friday, Feb. 15, that missionaries would be able to communicate with their families each week on preparation day via text messages, online messaging, phone calls and video chats in addition to letters and emails.
Monday, Feb. 18, marked the first preparation day that missionaries around the world were able to utilize the new communication capabilities with their families. The Church News asked for readers to tell us what their first experience speaking to their missionaries on preparation day meant to them and what technology they used. Here are some of those responses:
1 : A joyful experience
"It was wonderful!! We loved hearing first hand about those she and her companion are teaching and what the Church is like in Spain."
— Klare Davis of the Murrieta California Stake, communicated with Facebook
2 : An inspired decision
"I know that the most recent changes made for communication between missionaries and their families is an inspired decision. President Nelson has promised us that as we study the new 'Come, Follow Me' curriculum, the power of families will be unleashed! I can’t help but think about the possibilities of this promise combined with our missionaries out in the field. Being able to experience our daughter’s missionary spirit in our home gave us greater resolve to do better to do our part to help in the Lord’s work."
— Jada Rhodes of the Rigby Idaho Stake, communicated with Facebook
3 : Like Christmas and Mother's Day
"My daughter is serving in the Scotland/Ireland mission. Being able to see her face to face made me feel like Christmas and Mother’s Day has come all together. We were able to chat about her week and I could witness the excitement about her teaching pool first hand. It was incredible to be able to do this."
— Ceri Breeze of the Merthyr Tydfil Wales Stake, communicated with Skype
4 : Pure delight
"My daughter just came home off her mission a week ago and her brother who is serving currently was able to Facetime her. They haven't seen each other in 18 months and it will be 3 1/2 years by the time his mission is over. It was pure delight to listen to their conversation. They were quoting scriptures together, talking about mission rules and the handbook, and stories galore! What a wonderful blessing already this has been!"
— Erika Bywater of the Tremonton Utah South Stake, communicated with Google Hangouts
5 : Better than email
"I was so afraid to disrupt him with this new change, but I got more information out of our seven minute talk than the last four months of emails!"
— Kerry Frost of the Cody Wyoming Stake, communicated with Facetime
6 : One-on-one time
"It was very gratifying to talk to our missionary and hear about his experiences tracting, teaching investigators, and building friendships with other missionaries. I felt like we had a better opportunity to encourage our son, hear his thoughts and feelings. He is not one to write newsy emails. I feel like we got a better feel for his mission and growth talking one on one."
— Tina Barrett of the Pocatello Idaho Highland Stake, communicated by phone
7 : Something new
"It was nice but a bit different. It might only happen once in a while but we are glad that she has the opportunity to contact us on P-day if/when she needs it."
— Rob Spencer of the Red Deer Alberta Stake, communicated with Google Hangouts
8 : A special blessing
"It was such a special blessing in so many ways. … To learn about the work that he is doing right now and to see the joy in his face and hear the excitement when he told us about the baptism they have scheduled for early March was so special. It brought his mission to life in a way that emails just can’t. We are so happy to be able to have more communication with him and to be able to support him in this way through the last five months of his mission."
— Emma Dadswell of the Bristol England Stake, communicated with FaceTime
9 : The spirit of a mission
"It was a wonderful experience. It was reassuring to talk to him and know that he is well, happy and determined to continue. It was wonderful to feel the spirit of the mission is to be more actively involved in missionary work."
— Lindemberg F. Leite of the Joao Pessoa Brazil Centro Stake
10 : A tender mercy
"(We) like to communicate by emails as it helps to preserve the record. Our son also sends out emails to a large group of friends and family members, which is a great missionary tool. We all wish to continue that tradition, but we certainly love to see our son every week, even just briefly. We are thankful for the Lord’s tender mercy shown to us through this new announcement."
— Dong Wang of the Omaha Nebraska Stake, communicated by email
11 : Staying focused
"My grandson said he did not want to do this yet. He would wait a bit. He would be coming home soon and wanted to continue focused on missionary work."
— J. E. Nielson of the Little Salt Lake Little Cottonwood Stake, communicated by email
12 : No pressure
"It was great. But we all agreed that it wasn’t necessary on a weekly basis. We don’t want him to feel pressured to call. But we let him know how much we love him, and that we are here if he ever does want to talk instead of email."
— Barbara Anderson of the Draper Utah South Mountain Stake, communicated by phone
13 : Sharing testimonies
"It was wonderful for the whole family, I think that this will greatly help us to be aware of how our missionary is progressing and at the same time inspire us to do the same by listening to their experiences and sharing their testimony with us. We feel very happy for this new way of being in contact with her and I believe that this will help many other missionaries to make the decision to leave because there are some who are afraid of being separated from their families and knowing that they can be in contact with their families will be an incentive to make the decision to leave."
— Federico Saldana of the Chicago Illinois Stake, communicated with Facebook
14 : Having a good laugh
"It was amazing! It wasn’t a lot of pressure like on Mother’s Day and Christmas, we could just relax and visit and laugh, instead of worrying about that moment the call would have to end. We loved it!"
— Lynette Hale of the Oakley Idaho Stake, communicated with Google Hangouts
15 : No obligation
"We did not (call her) because we are now accustomed to communicating weekly by email. I told her she could call when/if she wanted, but she shouldn’t feel obligated. She is serving in Argentina so (she) would have to call from an Internet cafe which felt awkward to her. Her mission president allows them to call for an hour or communicate by email for an hour and a half."
— Karin Williams of the Conroe Texas Stake, communicated by email
16 : Family connections
"Our son has been serving almost 18 months and in Ghana Africa. I wondered if he would call, be able to call, desire to call. We got an email suggesting a time to talk. We were pleasantly surprised. It was great to talk about the missionary work happening with him and also to hear him describe some of the experiences with people he is teaching. He is involved in the mission leadership and we heard how the transfers have gone. We shared our love and the call was over. I went to work with a smile on my face. The family connection was made and it was a happy experience all around. He will decide if and when he wants to chat again. They do not always have access to the internet and they don’t have text messaging capability — so while he could call, he did. It was great but probably not something he needs every week."
— Marion Lybbert of the Tacoma Washington South Stake, communicated with Google Hangouts
17 : The reality of missionary work
"We absolutely loved it! It was nice to hear more about his investigators. It made the missionary work seem more real to us and we've been fervently praying for him and his investigators."
— Sarah Smith of the Saratoga Springs Utah North Stake, communicated by phone