SALT LAKE CITY — In the late 1980s I served a two-year LDS mission in the Venezuela Maracaibo Mission. At the same time, two of my best friends also served missions, in Peru and Switzerland. Although serving at the same time, the costs were different for all of us.
For about $90 a month, my friend in Peru paid for his rent, food and a maid to cook the food and clean the apartment. My mission, on the other hand, cost four times more at $400 per month, and we had to do our own cooking and cleaning. I would have loved to have a helper to cook our meals and help clean our apartment. My friend in Switzerland paid $900 per month, more than double the cost of a Venezuelan mission.
For parents and prospective missionaries, this made it challenging to plan how much money to save for a future mission. It could be $90 a month ($2,160 for two years), or $900 a month ($21,600 for two years), depending on the mission.
Then in November 1990, the LDS Church announced a sweeping change to the mission contribution system. It switched to a system where missionaries or their families would pay the same monthly amount for living expenses no matter the mission, and then funds are distributed as needed. While this raised the cost of some missions, it lowered the price for many others.
One immediate benefit was that parents and prospective missionaries could plan for the cost of a mission and no longer have to worry about missions with higher costs.
I believe this also allows missionaries from any financial background to serve in any mission. Thus, missionaries can be called to serve where the Lord wants them to serve with fewer restrictions.
We are blessed to participate in the great latter-day work of preaching the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. The Lord is hastening his work of salvation prior to his Second Coming in power and great glory. I am proud of the youths of the rising generation and the senior couples who put their lives on hold to serve the Lord full-time and fulfill this divine mandate.