Monday, February 25, 2013

58 New Missions

On Friday, Feb 22, 2013, the Church announced the creation of 58 new missions around the world (list). I thought it would be fun to break it down by continent/country, just to get an idea of where the biggest impacts are, and of course, I have a Scouting angle for it as well. Here goes:

Africa – 4 (Angola, Botswana, Liberia, Nigeria)

Asia – 2 (Japan, S. Korea)

Australia/Pacific – 7
Australia – 1
New Zealand – 1
Papua New Guinea – 1
Philippines – 4

Europe – 1 (Ukraine)

North America – 28
El Salvador – 1
Guatemala – 1
Honduras – 1
Mexico – 8
USA- 17
(AZ-2, CA-3, ID-2, and one each in CO, DC, GA, IL, KS, OH, OR, UT, VA, WA)

South America – 15
Argentina – 2
Brazil – 7
Bolivia – 1
Chile – 1
Ecuador – 2
Peru – 2

Going through the list, at least 33 of those countries are considered “Third-world.” Nearly all of them have areas that would be considered so, even US states. That’s where Scouting comes into play. The skills learned in Scouting (cooking under austere circumstances, treating wounds, fixing your stuff, navigating when there are no familiar north/south-trending mountains, and otherwise roughing it) are necessarily those skills one needs in a place like the one where I served in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala (part of the new Misión Guatemala Cobán). My shelter was a wooden shack with daylight between the boards, and a leaky tin roof. My kitchen was a corner of the shack with a propane stove, the shower was a 5-gallon bucket and tin cup in the doorway. In most areas of my mission we paid someone for our meals. That wasn’t possible here, we were left to our own resourcefulness.

It’s not that you can’t learn and adapt on the fly, but if you’ve already lived the experience of rainy nights in sub-par shelter for a few weeks of your adolescence, the shock won’t be as great when the situation becomes real, and more permanent, and 3,000 miles from home. As Young Men get nearer their 18th birthday and missionary service, they need more Scouting and Venturing experiences like these, not fewer. (And Young Women need it too, since they're signing up at a faster rate than Young Men.) They may want more basketball on weeknights, but that’s only going to help them for a few hours on P-days. The work ethic and basic survival/coping skills learned in a Scouting environment will go much further toward preparing them for the realities of Missionary work, and life afterward than will weekly DTG/Game night.

Prepared. | For Life.™