Ever since the announcement of lowing the age of eligibility for male and female members of the Church to serve missions, it has increased the numbers of missionaries going out into the field. As a result, the LDS Church has announced the creation of 58 new missions to accommodate the rapid growth of missionaries.
Ever since the announcement, many Deaf members of the LDS Church are wondering if this will have an impact on the Church's efforts to proselyte among the Deaf. Many Deaf members are hoping that the creation of these new missions will also mean that more Deaf missions will be created which will give more opportunities for Deaf members to share the gospel with others.
The announcement will have an impact on the following American Sign Language Missions with the new missions in parenthesis: Oregon Portland (WA-Vancouver and OR-Salem), Washington Seattle (WA-Federal Way), Idaho Boise (ID-TwinFalls and ID-Nampa), Illinois Chicago, Missouri Independence (new KS-Wichita), Virginia Richmond (VA-Chesapeake), Arizona Phoenix (AZ-Gilbert and AZ-Scottsdale), California Anaheim and California Los Angeles) ( Irvine, Bakersfield and Rancho Cucamonga).
I hope the LDS Church will consider adding more American Sign Language missions. As someone who has served an American Sign Language Mission and has worked with many ASL missionaries, I know that there is a huge need for Sign Language missionaries in the US and around the world. For example, in Southern California alone, there is a a need for ASL missionaries around and between Orange County and San Diego in places like Oceanside, Carlsbad, Long Beach and Arcadia. Many members live outside the boundaries of the California Anaheim Mission and the California San Diego Mission and there are people who can be taught in those areas.
Many Deaf people are excited for the announcement of new missions because it is seen as an opportunity for the LDS Church to increase their efforts to reach out to the Deaf people. They hope that more Sign Language missions will be created in America and around the world so that more Deaf people will come unto Christ.