Mission Application and Preparation to Serve, Detailed Timeline Example
The following is a detailed accounting of the dates and steps our daughter went through in applying to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in preparing to leave on her mission in 2022. I share this with the hope that it may help many of you to make sure you get everything done in a timely manner that you will need to accomplish in order to be ready and able to serve a full-time mission. I drew heavily on this data when I formulated this File to Track Dates for Mission Application and Service Preparation.
The first part of the timeline counts down days based on the future missionary’s availability date, which is the first crucial date each missionary needs to determine. Please see my post with a higher level overview of the Mission Application Timeline for guidance on determining availability date, or the earliest date in which you could start your mission. The second part of the timeline counts the days based on the mission start date, the date he or she will start their missionary training (either at-home MTC or in person MTC).
While it may be fun to read through this whole lengthy article, honestly, I assume more people will use this post as a reference guide to make sure they stay on schedule with their mission application and preparing to serve. The following dates and events are how we did things and not necessarily the right or best way. I have tried to make note of when we did things later than we should have, so we can do better for our other kids when they serve.
Oct 24, 2021. 221 days before Availability. First Meeting with Bishop
Hannah met with her bishop and told him she wants to serve a mission at the end of the winter semester, in summer 2022. He asked her some questions about her physical, mental, and spiritual health. He enabled her access to the Missionary Online Recommendation System (MORS, located at missionaryrecommendations.churchofjesuschrist.org) to start filling out the application.
Oct 25, 2021. 220 days before Availability. Began Filling out Forms Online
A link to the MORS site appeared on the Church’s Missionary Portal (missionary.churchofjesuschrist.org). Hannah began filling out the Individual Information sections like her name, birthday, education, finances, insurance, and health history. She also download the necessary medical and dental evaluation forms.
Nov 22, 2021. 192 days before Availability. Dentist Appointment
She brought a printout of the dental evaluation form, which the dentist filled out and signed. While he filled everything out and cleared her to go on a mission, he encouraged her to go to an oral surgeon to see if her wisdom teeth need to come out. She went to the oral surgeon the next day, and he said yes, the wisdom teeth need to come out and an appointment was set to do it in December.
Dec 20, 2021. 164 days before Availability. Wisdom Teeth Removed
That was fun. I am half serious. Obviously wisdom teeth removal is major mouth surgery that causes a lot of pain. But Hannah was hilarious when she was coming out of the anesthesia.
Dec 29, 2021. 155 days before Availability. Physician’s Health Evaluation
Went to the family doctor who filled out the required medical/physical forms.
Jan 09, 2022. 144 days before Availability. MORS Submitted to Local Priesthood Leaders
Hannah uploaded her picture (she had done that earlier but hadn’t originally realized that the she was supposed to be dressed in missionary attire in the photo) and put finishing touches on application form fields. She then clicked the submit button which is the last step she completes in the MORS system. The application paperwork now goes to her bishop and then stake president, who ultimately submits the application to the Church.
Feb 01, 2022. 121 days before Availability. Final Interview with Bishop
This is a final interview potential missionaries have just before their application is submitted to the Church to ensure that the candidate is still able, willing, and worthy to serve a mission.
Feb 02, 2022. 120 days before Availability. Final Interview with Stake President
In Hannah’s case, the final interview was actually with a Counselor in the Stake Presidency, which is allowed in Young Single Adult (YSA) stakes.
Feb 03, 2022. 119 days before Availability. Application Received by the Church
Hannah received confirmation, I believe from her bishop, that her mission application had been received by the Missionary Department at Church Headquarters. The young applicant and parents do not have direct access to information about the status of the mission application. Only priesthood leaders have access to that information, which is why Hannah had to get it from her bishop.
Feb 07, 2022. 115 days before Availability. Application Status = In Process
Hannah texted her bishop and he says the current status is “in process.”
Feb 11, 2022. 111 days before Availability. Self Status Checking Trick
Hannah has been continually checking the missionary email system to see if her email address has been created. This is a hack/trick a lot of mission applicants do to see if there call has been issued. The future missionary logs into their Church account and then goes to mail.missionary.org in the web browser. If the mission call has not been issued, there will be an error at that site. But if the mission call has been assigned, then the email account loads properly into the web browser.
Feb 12, 2022. 110 days before Availability. Minor Problem with Application
Hannah’s stake president called her and said the missionary department needed to know the name of a medication she takes for her eczema. Her eczema is not serious and only uses the medication once or twice a month, yet the church would not move forward with the processing of her application until they had the information. The Church contacted the stake president who then contacted Hannah and then he had to relay the information back to the Church. This process caused her mission call to be delayed for a week.
Feb 16, 2022. 106 days before Availability. Application Status = Ready for Assignment
Hannah’s bishop informed her that her mission application has changed to “ready for assignment”. She then checked the email track and found that her missionary email address had been created and was functioning. She also logged into the Missionary Portal and found changes to the content there indicating her call would soon be made.
Feb 19, 2022. 103 days before Availability. Went to Temple for Endowment
Hannah was hoping to have her mission call by the time she went through the temple to receive her own endowment. However, the temple appointment had to be made weeks in advance and unfortunately the call did not arrive before going through the temple. Still, she had a wonderful experience going through the temple endowment ordinance for the first time.
Feb 22, 2022. 100 days before Availability. Received Mission Call
Around 4pm on this day, a Tuesday (which is the most common day the Church sends out the mission call letters), Hannah got an email and text from the Church saying her mission call was ready to be viewed and linked her to the Missionary Portal. Once there, a popup window asked her if she has read her call letter or not. If you select no, it will not show mission-specific information until you indicate that you have read the call letter. Until then, the site allows you to download the mission call letter PDF file to read electronically or to print off. Like many youth, Hannah gathered her friends (in person at BYU) and family (digitally via an Instagram Live video stream) to read her call letter. She was called to serve in the Portugal Lisbon mission speaking Portuguese and started at home MTC on July 25. After Hannah indicated, on the Missionary Portal, that she had read her call letter, several new sections appeared including: Things to Do Immediately (like sending in the letter of acceptance), General Instructions Checklist, What to Bring, Medical Information, Missionary Travel, About My Mission (mission president, mission map)
Feb 28, 2022. 147 days before Mission. Received Email on MTC Training
Hannah received an email about her Missionary Training Center MTC schedule which indicated she would have an at-home portion of missionary training initially, but that she would complete her training on site at one of the Church’s MTC locations.
Mar 04, 2022. 143 days before Mission. Went to Missionary Mall
Hannah went to the store today called Missionary Mall. She heard they have lists of clothing recommended for each mission with contributions from returned missionaries from those areas.
Mar 15, 2022. 132 days before Mission. Birth Certificate and Passport
Today we ordered another copy of Hannah’s birth certificate from the state where she was born. An original, non-photocopied, birth certificate was needed for the passport application. Next time we need to remember to get the birth certificate sooner. Hannah has also been entering her immunization records in the missionary portal. The Missionary portal also has a bunch of Videos Hannah is supposed to watch. Somewhere, Hannah also learned about the Embark app, which is a language learning phone app that teaches Church vocabulary, how to pray, how to bear testimony, etc. Hannah has done a little more clothing shopping but hasn’t bought much and is still trying to determine what clothes and types of clothes her mission recommends and allows.”
Mar 22, 2022. 125 days before Mission. Passport Appointment Cancelled
Hannah had an appointment at the Post Office in Provo to get her photo and turn in other forms for the passport. But the appointment was cancelled by them at the last minute because they were short staffed.
Mar 30, 2022. 117 days before Mission. Visa Application Started
Hannah went to Accuratebiometrics.com for the FBI clearance necessary for her Portugal Visa application. That website gave her a QR code which she took to the UPS store to get fingerprints. Results got mailed to her home address and envelop needs to remain unopened and submitted with Visa application.
Mar 31, 2022. 116 days before Mission. Passport Appointment Success
Hannah brought her filled-out forms, birth certificate (original or certified copy, which post office returned to us later), social security card, and driver license to the post office for her passport appointment. While there she bought extra pictures for her Visa application. One of the purchases would not accept credit or debit cards and required a check.
Apr 10, 2022. 106 days before Mission. Status Update Conversation
Talked to Hannah today to get an update on the status of her passport, visa, and other forms that need to be sent to the Church. The passport application is in and we are waiting for it to arrive (it will be sent to Texas, so we’ll have to then send it to her in Utah). Hannah still needs to go to a notary to have some forms (probably for the visa) notarized and then sent to the Church. Hannah is buying clothes and shoes here and there, and has been doing a little Duolingo to learn Portuguese.
Apr 27, 2022. 89 days before Mission. Passport Arrived and Visa Paperwork
Hannah’s passport finally arrived at our home in Texas and the next day it was mailed to Hannah in Utah. A day or two after that, Hannah mailed the passport, along with other Visa paperwork, to Church headquarters in Salt Lake so they can apply for the Portugal Visa.
May 02, 2022. 84 days before Mission. Email from Portugal Mission President
Hannah received an email from the Portugal Mission President with some notes on how to prepare temporally and spiritually for the mission. Hannah and my wife continue to shop for and buy clothes…various skirts and tops that can be mixed and matched (I think she calls it a “capsule wardrobe”).
May 13, 2022. 73 days before Mission. All Documents Received by Church
Received an email from the Church Travel Department today saying they have received all of Hannah’s paperwork and have started working on her travel documents. Within hours of receiving the “All Documents Received” email, Hannah received another email from the Church saying there was a problem with her Visa paperwork. The paperwork had been notarized in Utah, rather than Hannah’s “home state”. This problem could cause major delays in the visa application. Also, the last few days Hannah and my wife have been looking at missionary luggage requirements and trying to decide if we need to buy any new suitcases.
May 16, 2022. 70 days before Mission. Correspondence with Church Travel
Church Travel back tracked and said there was a mix up because Hannah’s birth state is different than her current home address. They said they would go ahead and submit the visa application. Church travel also said that while it is theoretically possible to mail in the visa application, mailed in application can often sit around in the consulate mail room for months before being processed. It is much faster, sometimes months faster, to go to the Portugal consulate and submit the application in person. So a trip to the Portugal consulate could be coming soon.
Jun 09, 2022. 46 days before Mission. “Missed” Appointment at Portugal Consulate
Church Travel scheduled Hannah to go in person to the Portugal Consulate on this day. However, they did not coordinate the schedule with Hannah and this day was in the middle of finals week at BYU. One other thing to note, Church travel said that a notarized visa application is no longer needed now that Hannah is going to the consulate in person. We wished we had known that before we spent so much time, money, and effort getting the forms notarized.
Jun 14, 2022. 41 days before Mission. Pre-MTC Email
Today Hannah received an email from an MTC teacher offering Pre-MTC Portuguese tutoring. The email included a link to sign up as well as the email address and phone number of the MTC teacher. “Pre-MTC tutoring is so awesome because it helps missionaries get a head start on the language before they start the MTC. …Appointments are 30-45 minutes and we start learning how to pray, share scriptures, meet people, testify, and lots more!”
Jun 27, 2022. 28 days before Mission. Flying to Portugal Consulate
Today Hannah is flew to the Portugal Consulate and completed her visa application there in person. The Church paid for the flight and hotel.
Jul 15, 2022. 10 days before Mission. Email Confirmation of Missionary Training
Hannah received an email confirming her at-home and on-site MTC training. “You are scheduled to begin the at-home portion of your MTC training on Monday, July 25, 2022 and then to transition to the Provo MTC for on-site training on Wednesday, August 10, 2022.” Included a link to the “At-home MTC Experience for Missionaries” document and a note on MTC arrival times, and a message to missionary families from the MTC with helpful information on what to expect during this at-home training, how missionaries should always have a companion, the expectation to follow all missionary standards, and what the family can do to help create a good learning environment.”
Jul 16, 2022. 9 days before Mission. Missionary Badge Arrived in Mail
Hannah got her missionary name tag in the mail today. She also reached out to stake executive secretary today to schedule getting set apart as a missionary. She continues to make final purchases of mission gear, luggage, supplies, clothes, shoes, etc.
Jul 21, 2022. 4 days before Mission. Received Calendar from the MTC
Hannah received an email on her missionary email account with a link to a Google calendar that contains her daily schedule for the MTC, both home MTC for the and Provo MTC. The calendar didn’t have a lot of detail, but showed when meals were and some other broad calendaring/scheduling such as when to do personal and companionship study. It also had 3 hour blocks for “online class” in the morning and evening, time for language study, etc. The calendar showed nothing on Sundays while doing home MTC. All of this in on her @missionary.org Google Account which is the email and calendar system the church utilizes for full-time missionaries. My post on Hannah’s home MTC experience has examples of the daily and weekly calendar schedule.
Jul 22, 2022. 3 days before Mission. MTC Travel Plans and Luggage
After working with Church travel for the past few days, Hannah finalized her travel plans to the Provo Missionary Training Center. She will fly there after her two weeks of home MTC. Hannah decided to buy one more swivel wheeled large suitcase to go with the other one she already has. Decided to bring two large suitcases instead of a large and a medium
Jul 23, 2022. 2 days before Mission. MTC Companion and District Info
Received an email from the MTC titled “Welcome to the MTC!” The email told the names of MTC teachers, the name of Hannah’s companion, and pictures and names of all the other missionaries in her MTC district. The email gave some other instructions for the first day, and how to prepare for the MTC, and how to set up and use the Google calendar.
Jul 24, 2022. 1 days before Mission. Farewell Talk and Setting Apart
Hannah’s farewell sacrament meeting talk was in the morning. In the evening, we went to the stake center as a family and met with the stake president to have Hannah set apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Jul 25, 2022. 1 day before Mission. First Day of MTC, Home MTC
First day of home MTC was preparation day (p-day) so there wasn’t a lot going on. Before dinner, there was only one meeting, a one-hour orientation meeting. After dinner, Hannah had a 3-hour session with her district for introductions. She also got notification that she would have to factory reset phone and install the Church’s phone management software.
Aug 06, 2022. 13 days into Mission. Last Day of Home MTC Classes
This was a Saturday. Sundays are mostly free to do Sabbath activities with your family, while doing Home MTC. Then Monday was P-day. And Tuesday was travel day.
Aug 09, 2022. 16 days into Mission. Flew to Utah for Provo MTC
Hannah procrastinated fully packing her suitcases until last night. Hannah, Mom, and I spent most of the day packing, organizing, weighing, and rearranging the suitcase contents until we got them right (under 50 pounds). Goodbyes were teary, of course. God be with you, Hannah, until we meet again.
Aug 10, 2022. 17 days into Mission. First Day of Provo, Utah MTC
First day of in-person MTC at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. A friend of the family picked up Hannah from the airport on Tuesday and let her spend the night and then took her to the MTC on Wednesday.
Sep 01, 2022. 39 days into Mission. Visa Update from Church
Hannah received an email from the Church travel office saying her Portugal Visa still has not been processed by the Consulate, therefore, an apostle will prayerfully make a temporary mission assignment for her.
Sep 03, 2022. 41 days into Mission. Called to Temporary Mission
Hannah has been temporarily called to serve in the Riverside California Mission until her Portugal visa arrives.
Sep 06, 2022. 44 days into Mission. Left Provo MTC and Arrived in Temporary Mission
Hannah left the Provo MTC early in the morning with a group of other missionaries and took public transportation to the Salt Lake City airport. In California, she was met at the airport by missionaries from her mission, who took her to the mission home to meet with the mission president.
Oct 06, 2022. 74 days into Mission. Got Word from Church that Portugal Visa is on Its Way
Oct 10, 2022. 78 days into Mission. Got Flight Plans to Travel to Portugal
Oct 13, 2022. 81 days into Mission. Flew Out of Temporary Mission
Oct 14, 2022. 82 days into Mission. Arrived in Portugal
Hi Jimmy! Congrats to your daughter! I recently submitted my recommendation forms to my bishop. I was wondering if I need to make an appointment with my bishop to review the forms or if the secretary will contact me? Thank you in advance
Thanks Alexis. I highly recommend that you be proactive and reach out to your bishop (or really to the ward executive secretary) to make the appointment to review your mission forms. You may want to go ahead and do the same thing right away for you appointment with the stake (president/exec sec). Good luck and God bless.