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Posted 19 Nov 2001   For week ended November 09, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 09Nov01

By Kent Larsen

LDS Mother Relies on Faith for Safety of Missionary Sons

POCATELLO, IDAHO -- During the October session of General Conference, President Hinckley mentioned that the war on terrorism might affect missionary work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While there hasn't been any sweeping policy change, some foreign missions in the church have advised their missionaries not to wear backpacks, American coats or the black tags that identify them as missionaries.

Sally Nielson has two sons serving as missionaries over-seas. Ryan, 19, and Derek, 20, are two of almost 60,000 church members serving in 330 missions worldwide. Ryan arrived in Rostov, Russia, early this fall and Derek has been serving in Seoul, South Korea since last summer. After the terrorist attacks, Nielson wondered how close her second son would be to the site of American strikes against the Taliban and terrorist groups. "I looked at the map immediately when we knew Afghanistan was the problem," she said. "He is further from Afghanistan than we are from New York. Russia is a huge country."

Missionaries devote themselves to preaching the Gospel and as part of that commitment, they do not watch television or read non-religious material. Ryan was told about the terrorist attacks by his mission presidency, but he didn't realize how devastating it really was. His mother said, "He looked at a magazine in the airport when he left and said he was really shocked. It was hard on him. He said he wished he hadn't even looked."

While Nielson was concerned for her sons after the terrorist attacks, she is more concerned about the political and social problems of the countries where her sons are serving. "When I get their letters, I get emotional and cry a little, but never for their safety," Nielson said. "I feel like they are as safe regarding terrorism there as they would be here."

"Actually, in the days after the World Trade Center attack, I watched a lot of TV and I heard (Russian President Vladimir) Putin talk and be very supportive to the U.S.," she said. "That was comforting because we heard there was a lot of anti-American sentiment and, if they look at Americans or they stand out, they could be targets."


A mother keeps faith
Pocatello ID State Journal 20Oct01 N2
By Graham Garner - Journal Writer
Despite Sept. 11, sons continue missions


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