Deseret Book will launch a new website for prospective missionaries on Oct. 1. The site, missionhome.com, will feature directories containing mission-specific information.
“The site has dozens of articles about issues and topics of interest to missionaries and their families — practical things like tips for packing effectively and how to prepare to leave as well as inspiring and authentic experiences from former missionaries and mission leaders,” said Laurel Christensen Day, vice president of product development for Deseret Book.
These directories will give information about the people and culture of a certain area as well as details of what missionaries can expect as they go into the field.
“The best part is that the content on these pages (is) provided by people who actually served in those areas,” Christensen Day said.
The timing of the site launch complements the recent increase in missionary work. The age change for missionary service has greatly increased the number of men and women willing to serve.
“We recognize that more people are involved in missionary work than ever before — more young men and young women, more family members, more friends,” Christensen Day said. “We saw an opportunity to provide a gathering place of relevant information and knew we were in a position to provide that gathering place.”
Information for the directories has been collected over the past year from returned missionaries who served in the missions. Brittany Bivings, a communications major from Colorado Springs, Colo., worked on the team that collected this information.
“Our job was to contact and interview the missionaries,” Bivings said. “The missionaries gave us information about their missions, including everything from what they ate most on their mission to the essential equipment all new missionaries would need.”
Missionhome.com is not the first site of this kind. Recent BYU graduate Alex Balinski also saw a need for an informational website to help future missionaries prepare for their service. His site, preparetoserve.com, features video interviews from missionaries and clips about what can be expected in each area. He is very supportive of missionhome.com.
“Each website (created to help prospective missionaries) offers unique services,” Balinski said. “Some offer similar resources but not the exact same resource. I think we can accomplish the most if we work together and support each other in our endeavors.”
Missionhome.com will also include a care package service through the Deseret Book website.
“To our knowledge there is no other site where you can order from such a wide range of product options and have guaranteed delivery to the missionary,” Christensen Day said.
BYU students, both pre- and post-mission, are responding positively to the new site.
“You’ll go on a mission, and no matter what anyone tells you, it’ll be different than what you’re expecting, but it was always nice to hear stories from missionaries to give a reasonable warning as to what to expect,” said Scott McClellan, an international business major from Midlothian, Va. “I would have loved to have had a website like that.”