The New York Times published an article Friday morning about how Latter-day Saint missionaries have used social media and updated guidelines in recent years.

Reporter Lauren Jackson said she attended church in London, Los Angeles and Paris as part of her reporting process. Jackson spoke with current missionaries as well as people who have previously served a mission. She noted that missionary work started in 1830. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has adapted missionary work especially in the wake of the pandemic.

“So far, the changes appear to be working: In the last three years, as pandemic restrictions lifted and young members responded to an appeal from the church’s top leader for them to serve, the number of full-time proselytizing missionaries has risen by around 25%, according to church data,” wrote Jackson. “At the end of last year, the church had about 72,000 full-time missionaries serving around the world.”

In addition to noting the standards missionaries have such as remaining with their companion and living the faith’s teachings on relationships, Jackson wrote about how the dress code has changed over time.

Jackson also spoke about some of the cultural traditions around missions including parties for opening up letters to find out where they are going. Latter-day Saint missionaries don’t get to choose where they go and it’s exciting for them to find out.

Tanner Bird, a 19-year-old missionary in Brazil, told The New Times, “I’ve had friends who aren’t members of the church. And I just get super, super excited and talk to them about the gospel.”

The New York Times article is available to read here.