Serving a Mission During COVID-19. What’s it Like?

four sister missionaries serving a mission during COVID-19 wearing masks

COVID-19 has changed full-time missionary work in many ways. Like the rest of you, I have wondered what exactly life is like out in the field right now. Luckily, I have some friends and family serving missions right now, and I was able to interview them! Here’s exactly what it’s like to serve a mission during COVID-19!

Related: Everything You Need to Know About the Online MTC

Just in case you’re wondering, these missionaries are all serving in the United States. They’re located in Nevada, Alabama, and Kansas!

What was it like at first?

Sister Lowe: In our mission, we never used technology for anything except an occasional phone call or text message. Facebook wasn’t allowed. So, our world as missionaries was flipped upside down when we couldn’t street contact or visit people. Suddenly, all we had to work with was technology.

Elder Lee: When we were officially put in quarantine, we were asked to stay in our apartments only to leave to go to the store and for walks periodically. We were only to teach people using technology. At first, it was kind of depressing. It was pretty rough trying to think of things to do.

What else has changed?

Elder Lee: We have definitely been using technology more. Each zone has a Facebook page to connect with other missionaries and members. Some missions even have budgets to advertise their posts!

Sister Curtis: Masks were required during service, at the store, and in any social interaction. We couldn’t knock on doors. Also, a bunch of new reassigned missionaries came in. We now have 244 missionaries now as opposed to 175 since the pandemic!

How have you kept busy?

elder missionaries standing wearing masks

Sister Lowe: We usually keep busy by doing phone calls or video chats both members and non-members. Sometimes we will take walks to get some fresh air. Every day is something different!

Elder Lee: This has actually been the most efficient and productive time of my mission. We call new people every day and use social media to contact people online. Because of technology, we don’t have to travel to lessons. Therefore, we can have more lessons throughout the day.

Sister Curtis: I actually been even busier than before. The First Presidency released a 14-page document for everyone serving a mission during COVID-19 with ideas and activities we all could be doing. The Church mission department made the “Ed” app to teach us how to find, teach, and baptize during the worldwide pandemic as well.

When can you leave the apartment?

Elder Lee: Our mission is allowed to go for short walks and to the grocery store (when absolutely necessary. We are also able to go to the church to use the wifi. Recently we are allowed to again teach in homes if invited. Masks are required during those appointments.

Sister Curtis: At first, we could not leave the apartment at all except for on Mondays for grocery shopping. Gradually after a few weeks, we got to go outside for walks. Now, we get to go teach people as long as we are outside and wearing masks.

How are you able to teach?

Sister Larson: It has been pretty difficult to teach because people didn’t want to use technology and many stopped responding. However, we have been able to teach family and friends back home which has been super cool!

Elder Lee: We call people over the phone and have lessons with them. Zoom and Facebook messenger work for video chat lessons, too. Beginning in June we were allowed to have lessons at the church. Now, we can have lessons in homes if we are invited over. We just have to maintain social distance and wear masks.

What is finding like?

two sister missionaries at home doing livestream

Sister Lowe: We have been able to find so many people to teach! Technology has brought a ton of miracles. We have to use the Spirit to know how the Lord wants His work done through our devices. There are always blessings when we act on promptings!

Elder Lee: Finding hasn’t been the most successful thing for me. However, I have found the most success by calling people who have been taught before. Social media has helped, too. One of our zones has found hundreds of people through Facebook and many of those people were baptized!

What are transfers like?

Sister Larson: It has been crazy. In my first area at the beginning of COVID-19, I never really met anyone in person. I never went to anyone’s house and I didn’t know anyone there at all. It is still sad to me how I didn’t get to know that area.

Sister Lowe: Reassigned missionaries are coming in every week. We don’t know when or where we are going to get transferred, so you always have to be ready. Everyone has been affected by it. It is hard to get to know an area, but there are people prepared in every area. Every change happens for a reason!

Elder Lee: Being transferred during quarantine is really difficult. I spent about 3 months in an area and never met even half of the ward. If you have a companion who has been in the area it is pretty easy, though.

Related: Evacuations and early releases during COVID-19: Excerpts from Church project documenting missionary experiences

Have you been able to keep working with members?

Sister Lowe: We spend an hour or two every day calling the members of our ward. We love to see how they’re doing! They join us in video chat lessons we have with investigators. I feel like we have gotten to know them even better thanks to COVID-19.

Elder Lee: It is actually easier to work with members now. When we have video chat lessons we invite a member to join. I think it has made missionary work more convenient for members.

What are the biggest challenges/hardships?

two sister missionaries teaching someone serving mission during COVID-19 wearing masks

Sister Lowe: I am an extrovert and I love to be outside talking to people. The lockdown felt like we were in prison just sitting inside our apartment by ourselves all day. It was mentally the toughest thing I have ever done. It was not what I thought serving a mission would be like. There were so many unknowns. With the extra time to think about ourselves, it is very easy for Satan to put doubts and discouragement in our heads.

Elder Lee: The hardest part has been just sitting still for hours. We’re on the computer and phone for so long and get tired of it. I think it can sometimes be hard to focus on contacts or in lessons when you are teaching over the phone just because you can have different distractions all around you.

The positives?

Sister Curtis: I have come closer to my Savior! Miracles have not ceased during this time. I have been able to use technology more effectively and spread the gospel. I have been able to teach my own family as well!

Elder Lee: Serving a mission during COVID-19 has humbled me. My companions and I, and those around us, have realized what matters most in life. Through social media, we are more involved in the lives of members and investigators.

How has your testimony been strengthened?

Sister Lowe: During the pandemic, I have felt depressed, lonely, and empty. Jesus Christ was also alone when He suffered for us. He knows exactly what it felt like for me and what it feels like for everyone. Now, more than ever before, there are people who need to know who Jesus Christ is. My goal during self-isolation is to help others feel God’s love through me. I have felt it and seen His hand so many times through all of this.

Elder Lee: As I look back at the different adjustments the Church made regarding ministering, online tithing, and Come, Follow Me, I see how the Lord prepared us through His chosen servants to be prepared for this pandemic. The Lord’s work will not be stopped!

Sister Larson: I have learned to trust in the Lord. His plan is perfect, not mine. He knows exactly what I need even if it isn’t exactly what I want. I have learned to rely on my Savior and know how much He loves me and every person on this earth.

Related: Here’s Exactly What It’s Like to Be Sealed During COVID-19

Do you know someone who is about to serve a mission during COVID-19? Make sure to share this article with them! 

Brooklyn Gittins is an enthusiastic member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has written for food and lifestyle blogs but is currently sharpening her skills as a writing intern for Third Hour. She enjoys spending time with her husband, petting dogs, and eating buttered noodles.