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Thousands Of Missionaries Adjust To Being Home, Under Quarantine

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A new day for thousands of missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across Utah who are now home and under quarantine.

“What do I do? I don’t know what to do,” said Elder TJ Holm who just returned from the Philippines and began a 14-day quarantine.

“A big mix of emotions,” said Elder Tyrus Washburn who was sitting in the Missionary Training Center in Mexico just days ago. “I just have no idea how this is going to pan out.”

Both missionaries said the news to pack their bags and be ready to leave came quickly.

“It happened so quick. Oh gosh, what’s going on?” said Elder Washburn. “Shock is pretty accurate.”

“What the heck is going on? Are we getting sent home?” said Elder Holm about finding out he was going home. “We had like an hour to pack all of our things.”

Elder Holm was released from his mission because he has been out for 19 months, but he can’t leave the house for two weeks.

“Me and my family are just quarantined in my home. We are trying to stay away from each other,” said Elder Holm.

Elder Washburn is still a missionary and having to live by missionary rules.

“I’m still waiting on instruction on exactly what I’m going to be doing,” said Elder Washburn.

His brother, Elder Braxton Washburn, has been stuck in El Salvador because the government shut down the borders. He has been out on his mission for four months and has been quarantining in his apartment for six days.

“It’s possible we will be stuck here for the next 28 days until the quarantine is over,” said Elder Braxton Washburn. “We don’t have too much to do because we don’t have any technology that allows us to do missionary work on electronics, so we are just stuck doing nothing in the house right now.”

A tough time for all missionaries as none of them could have ever expected something like this.

“I just feel really sad, and I’m going to miss the Philippines and all the people there,” said Elder Holm. “I love all the people there and they have a place in my heart.”

“We’ve really grown to love the culture. We’ve grown to love the people. We’ve grown to love the language. We’ve grown to love the country,” said Elder Braxton Washburn. “I am very, very much grateful for the time I’ve had to be here.”

Hundreds of other missionaries serving outside the U.S. are expected to return home this week. All are expected to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine before they can go back into the public.

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