Fourteen months after closing for the COVID-19 pandemic, three of the 10 missionary training centers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will reopen next month, according to a news release issued Monday morning.
The church has provided online training to 30,000 missionaries during the pandemic.
In late June, small numbers of missionaries will begin to live and train at the MTCs in Provo, Utah, Ghana, and New Zealand, if local circumstances and health guidelines allow, the release said.
Each week, the Provo MTC will accept about 150 to 250 new missionaries who are not learning a second language. The center will accept only missionaries who have been fully vaccinated and had a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival at the MTC.
The Ghana and New Zealand MTCs will welcome only local missionaries and operate at a capacity of about 50 missionaries each.
The other seven MTCs will accept missionaries on site when local conditions allow. The numbers of on-site missionaries will expand gradually.
As the pandemic spread, church leaders recalled 30,000 of its 67,000 missionaries. About 26,000 young missionaries were sent back to their home countries and 4,000 senior missionaries were released because they were at higher risk of COVID-19 complications.
All 10 MTCs have operated online training through the pandemic, as missionaries have trained virtually from their homes for six hours a day. Thousands more continued to receive new international mission calls, and many of them learned their new languages through instruction provided in Zoom conferences in anticipation that pandemic restrictions would lift.
During the transition period to returning to full MTC operations and capacity, most new missionaries will begin training at home and then move to an MTC for the remainder of their training.
“This will allow missionaries to continue to experience many of the positive elements of online training,” the news release said.
New missionaries also will now begin their online training on a Monday.