Utah State University student Morgun Olcott always planned to surprise her family with her decision to serve as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but her plan got a lot easier when she was informed she would receive her mission call online.
Rather than worrying about how she’d manage to grab her mission call letter before any other family members checked the mail, Olcott simply received an email saying her mission call was ready to open.
“(My family) didn’t know it was coming because it didn’t come in the mail or anything,” said Olcott, who was called to serve in the Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission. “That was really useful. They were super surprised and super excited.”
Olcott was part of a pilot program in her home stake, the Fruit Heights Utah stake, to test the church’s initiative to distribute mission calls online.
According to Mormon Newsroom, the initiative will now expand to potential missionaries in Utah and Idaho. By the end of 2018, the church anticipates the process will expand to the rest of the world with reliable Internet.
According to Elder Brent H. Nielsen, executive director of the Missionary Department of the church, the new process will help missionaries receive their mission calls sooner, expediting the visa application process. The initiative will also cut down on postage costs.
“Technology is there, and it’s so easy to do,” Nielsen said. “We just put it online and they can read it in a matter of minutes.”
Olcott’s mission call came 15 days from the day she submitted her mission papers. According to LDS.org, the typical wait time for missionaries to receive their call is between two and three weeks.
“I got a little message on my phone that said, ‘Your mission call is ready to view,’ so it was still super exciting because I still got to have that surprise,” Olcott said. “I thought I was going to be disappointed about it, but I wasn’t at all. I actually loved it a lot.”
According to Mormon Newsroom, missionaries will receive either an email or text message saying their mission call letter is ready to open.
The change will greatly impact potential missionaries who live in foreign countries, who will be able to receive their mission calls in a fraction of the time. Nielsen spoke about the first sister missionary to receive an online mission call in Brazil.
“It would have taken over three weeks to get her call and she had opened it in three hours,” Nielsen said.
Read the full press release here.