Church announces changes for sister missionaries assigned to Church historic sites

Annixi Huffstutler stands in front of the Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site in Palmyra, New York. (Annixi Huffstutler)

Sister missionaries called to serve at Church historic sites will work exclusively at that site for approximately four months and will then be transferred to the proselyting mission indicated in their call starting Jan. 7, 2020.

Previously, the way sister missionaries served at historic sites varied, with some sisters serving at a site a few times a week if their area includes a site and other sisters serving full time.

The changes were announced in a letter dated Sept. 6 that the Missionary Department and Church History Department sent to local Church leaders in the United States and Canada.

The letter also stated that sisters assigned to a historic site will be under the direction of the historic site president.

Several former missionaries who served in areas that included historic sites said they believe the change will be positive.

“I think (the change) will be a blessing to the sites because the sisters will always be fresh; they won’t have time to get tired of serving at the sites,” said Annixi Huffstutler, who served in the New York Rochester Mission from December 2015 to July 2017.

During her mission, Huffstutler served at the Joseph Smith Farm and Sacred Grove, the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center, the Book of Mormon Historic Publishing Site and the Peter and Mary Whitmer Farm.

She said she served her whole mission in the Palmyra stake and worked at the sites three to four times a week. Toward the end of her mission, she was assigned to serve at a historic site full time and did not have a proselytizing area.

As serving on the site was a big part of Huffstutler’s mission, she expressed concern with this change because she said it does not give sisters a lot of time to learn everything they need to know about the sites. Huffstutler said she served 18 months and was learning new things about the sites, even at the end of her mission

Despite this concern, Huffstutler said she thinks the change is positive.

“This change just teaches me that the Lord is always striving to do what’s best for all of His children,” she said.

Madeleine Arnold stands in front of the Newel K. Whitney Store in Kirtland, Ohio, where she served part of her mission. (Madeleine Arnold)

Madeleine Arnold served in the Ohio Columbus Mission and spent part of her mission at the Historic Kirtland Visitors’ Center. Arnold said she was excited when she heard about the change to how sister missionaries would serve in historic sites.

Her call stated that the historic site would be her primary assignment. She reported to both her mission president and the site director, who is now the site president. She said that every other day she would switch between serving in her proselyting area and at the site. 

“It will give the sisters an opportunity to give all of their attention and energy to wherever they are serving,” Arnold said. “There is a reason the Church works so hard to preserve these sacred places, and I’m grateful for all of the missionaries who help facilitate special experiences for each person who visits.”

Sister missionaries serving at the Historic Kirtland Visitors’ Center gather in the greeting area where visitors begin their tour. (Madeleine Arnold)
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