PROVO – With new missionaries reporting for training at a rate of 1,400 per week since Jan. 1, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has acquired additional buildings near its Provo Missionary Training Center to meet the burgeoning need for training facilities and accommodations.
A release posted on the church’s Newsroom website late Wednesday indicated that beginning in May, approximately 2,000 new missionaries will begin occupying the Raintree Commons apartments at 1849 N. 200 West and portions of the BYU-owned Wyview Park apartments at 146 W. 1940 North in Provo.
“We’re grateful for all those who have chosen missionary service,” said Elder David F. Evans, exective director of the church’s Missionary Department. “Regardless of where they are trained, missionaries will have a rich and inspiring experience that prepares them for their labors in their assigned missions.”
According to the website, there are currently more than 64,000 missionaries serving around the world, nearly 20 percent more than were serving one year ago. For the missionary calls extended since the first of the year, 57 percent of the missionaries are elders, 36 percent are sisters and 7 percent are seniors.
The dramatic increase in new missionaries is linked directly to last October’s church announcement reducing the minimum age for missionary service for both young men and young women. “This temporary arrangement is one of the many ways the church is accommodating more missionaries entering into missionary service around the world,” the website said.
Other ways include turning the church-owned Benemerito School in Mexico City into an MTC for missionaries called to serve in Mexico and other Latin American countries as well as opening 58 new missions around the world.
“Missionaries housed at the Raintree Commons and the Wyview Park apartments will eat, exercise and attend classes and worship services on-site,” the website announcement said. “Additional temporary structures will be installed nearby to provide services to missionaries.”
According to the story, the church is currently reviewing options with Provo City and area neighbors that would “approximately double” the Provo MTC capacity.
“These plans are not yet finalized,” the website said.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company