I am very grateful for the missionaries who have been serving in the Mormon Church for several generations. Since its earliest days, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been a proselyting church, sending out missionaries to all parts of the world. Missionary work is constantly talked about in Mormon congregations, with Church members encouraged to share the gospel with their friends and neighbors.
The LDS Church has perhaps the most active missionary program of any world church. As of December 31, 2004, there were in excess of 51,000 full-time missionaries serving around the world at any given time without pay.
Missionary work is a fundamental principle of the Church, and has become one of the most readily identifiable characteristics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The darks suites and white shirts of male missionaries, called ”Elders,” biking or walking two by two is a recognizable image on the streets of cities both large and small throughout the world. Female missionaries, who also go forth two by two, are called ”Sisters”. All missionaries have been assigned by Church headquarters to their area of work, which can be in any part of the world where governments allow them to preach. They contribute to their own support for up to two years, frequently learning another language.