Each of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 400-plus mission presidents supervises and trains hundreds of the more than 80,000 missionaries assigned to a specific geographic area. Most mission presidents and their wives serve for three consecutive years.
Many mission presidents serve outside the United States. Some mission presidents have little previous experience with the language or culture of their new assignment. Others may have served in the country as a young missionary, but for most of them, assuming the role to guide a group of missionaries may seem overwhelming.
Well over one million missionaries have served missions since the Church was organized in 1830. The mission presidents who lead them have a heavy responsibility in directing the work of individual missionaries.
Newly called mission presidents come from all walks of life, from many geographic locations, from varied experiences in Church leadership and from diverse family compositions.
As mission leaders, they supervise and train on average from 170 to 180 missionaries during a given time period, but they will work with around 600 young people during their three-year period of service.
Mission presidents share a variety of responsibilities in their service. They are directed to first maintain their own well-being and that of their families. They instruct missionaries to effectively teach gospel principles as well as to maintain their individual health. In addition, the president assumes responsibility for the baptism of new converts and their initial development as new members of the Church.
On a day-to-day basis the supervising couples oversee not only the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of their own families, but also assume responsibility for each of the missionaries assigned to their area. For example, individual missionaries arrive and depart at approximately six-week intervals, as they begin or conclude their two-year period of service. Each missionary is personally attended to, orientated to the mission environment, and then assigned to a companion.