CORONAVIRUS

Church Missionary Returns Home From Hong Kong Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Feb 7, 2020, 11:00 PM | Updated: Feb 17, 2020, 10:09 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Church missionary serving in Hong Kong was one of many sent home this week amid concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Still kind of processing it all,” said Elder Cameron Eldridge, whose mission to Hong Kong for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been anything but typical.

Eldridge said his Cantonese still needs a lot of work, and you can’t blame him. He spent the first several months of his mission in San Diego, California, because of months of protests across Hong Kong.

By the time he finally arrived in his assigned mission on Jan. 27, concern had already shifted to the coronavirus.

“Everyone had masks. A lot of parks and stuff were shut down. So, it’s obviously a little scary,” said Eldridge, who spent most of the time indoors studying with his companion. “Not a lockdown but staying inside most of the time. Only going out for exercise and for food. So, no lessons. Church had been canceled.”

And his time there would soon be cut short. On Tuesday, Church officials said, “In light of the coronavirus and the increasing difficulty of conducting missionary work in Hong Kong and Macau, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is transferring 113 missionaries out of the China Hong Kong Mission over the next few days.”

“It just happened fast. Our stake president notified us he would be home Thursday,” said Eldridge’s mother, Natasha. “I wasn’t too worried about it. I think the church is probably doing the right thing, keeping the missionaries as safe as they can be.”

For now, Eldridge has been reassigned to serve in San Diego. But before he packs his bags again, the Church said, “out of an abundance of caution, most missionaries will return to their homes and follow guidelines from the World Health Organization, including to self-isolate for 14 days.”

Eldridge arrived home Thursday night, just eight days after arriving in Hong Kong.

“They said for two weeks to just stay inside. Make sure to stay six feet away from people. Don’t get too close,” he said with a smile while sitting next to his mom.

“Cameron’s been really flexible throughout this whole thing. We’re happy to have him,” Natasha said.

The first months of his mission were far from the experience Eldridge expected. Yet, he said, “It was really exciting to see how much everyone, all the missionaries loved Hong Kong. Even for the small time I was there, it’s a really great place.”

And he’s hoping he will eventually be able to return to Hong Kong as a missionary.

“Last we heard from our [mission] president is, it will take a while. We’re not sure the timeline. But we’ll be back in Hong Kong,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Sa...
LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer

Pfizer asks FDA to clear updated COVID shot for kids under 5

Pfizer is asking U.S. regulators to authorize its updated COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 5.
1 day ago
FILE: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news briefing at the Pentagon July 21,...
TARA COPP, Associated Press

Keep COVID military vaccine mandate, defense chief says

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is making clear he wants to keep the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place to protect the health of the troops.
3 days ago
flu shot tripledemic...
Matt Rascon

KSL+: The rise of respiratory viruses and COVID’s impact

It’s not even winter yet, and the CDC is warning that the country is experiencing a resurgence of respiratory viruses, which are taking a toll on hospitals and children.
4 days ago
RSV and flu...
Deidre McPhillips, CNN

Flu season intensifies, holiday gatherings could make it worse

Americans gathered for Thanksgiving last week amid a flu season that's worse than any has been in more than a decade, and experts continue to urge caution as multiple respiratory viruses circulate at high levels nationwide.
8 days ago
Protesters hold up blank papers and chant slogans as they march in protest in Beijing, Sunday, Nov....
Jessie Yeung and CNN's Beijing bureau

Rare protests are spreading across China. Here’s what you need to know

From Shanghai to Beijing, protests have erupted across China in a rare show of dissent against the ruling Communist Party.
8 days ago
Police officers block Shanghai's Urumqi Road on Sunday. (Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)...
CNN's Beijing bureau and Nectar Gan

Protests erupt across China in unprecedented challenge to Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policy

Protests erupted across China throughout the weekend, including at universities and in Shanghai where hundreds chanted "Step down, Xi Jinping! Step down, Communist Party!"
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Church Missionary Returns Home From Hong Kong Amid Coronavirus Concerns