Thousands of young prospective missionaries have responded enthusiastically to the October 2012 announcement by President Thomas S. Monson that lowered the age requirement for missionary service. As was indicated at the time of the announcement and reiterated later, the Church is working to accommodate the increase in the number of new missionaries who have made plans to serve.
In addition to the previously announced changes in time spent at the missionary training center (MTC) and a new MTC in Mexico, some of the 347 existing missions will be divided to form an additional 58 missions. The Church periodically opens, closes and divides missions around the world to accommodate increases and decreases in missionary numbers and other needs. The new missions will function in the same areas covered by existing missions. No new countries or territories are opening to missionary work. These creations will bring the total number of Church missions to 405.
“The enthusiastic response to the change in missionary age requirements has given thousands of young people more options to serve and they have responded with incredible faith,” said Elder Russell M. Nelson, Chairman of the Missionary Executive Council.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' missionary program is one of its most recognized characteristics. Missionaries can be seen on the streets of hundreds of major cities in the world as well as in thousands of smaller communities. The missionary effort is based on the New Testament pattern of missionaries serving in pairs, teaching the gospel and baptizing believers in the name of Jesus Christ.