Missionary Service for the Church of Latter-Day Saints
Chadwick McCrea Graham is an immigration attorney with Graham Adair, a business immigration firm he co-founded with his partner, Sam Adair. Having spent two years on a mission in Uruguay for his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Chadwick McCrea Graham still serves as a teacher for the youth at his church.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is also called the Mormon church. Mormon missionaries are usually young single men between the ages of 18 and 25 who volunteer to spend two years somewhere in the world that allows the church to do its work. Missionaries do not choose their location, pay their own way, and sometimes must learn a new language as a part of their service.
Men, who are called elders, make up 66 percent of the LDS church’s 74,079 full-time missionaries, but women older than 19 participate as well, comprising about 26 percent of that number. Women, who are called sisters, spend 18 months in service. Eight percent of full-time missionaries are retired couples, who travel to do their work together.
Missionaries complete a training before going to their assigned country, and, once they’ve arrived, spend most of their day in personal study and then proselytizing the gospel on the street or by visiting homes. Missionaries are completely dedicated to their work while they are away, and do not participate in activities or events that are not mission-related. Even contact from home is limited to letters and a few phone calls.
Missions are completely immersive experiences that require a deep dedication to service to one’s faith. Many missionaries return to their homes to report life-changing experiences.