Note: Apostles using divine guidance issue individual missionary assignments.
As a child, Maddie dreamed of going on a mission, like her father did to Belgium. But as she grew up, that dream faded as she got busy with school and sports. She went to BYU, across the country from Dighton, Massachusetts, to play goalie for the lacrosse squad.
But in Provo, surrounded by returned missionaries, she found a smoldering remnant of that childhood dream was sparking again. By December, she sent in her papers and waited to see where the church would send her.
It was two months later, as she walked into the testing center, when the email flashed across the screen. Her call had arrived. She couldn’t look but she couldn’t wait, either. She sped through the statistics exam, her mind all over the map. “I think it was like 25 minutes I spent in there,” she remembers. “Not my best test.”
On the phone with her family, they opened the email together. She’d be spending six weeks in a missionary training center starting June 3, then shipping off to the Guayaquil West Mission. Maddie was about to become Sister Edwards.
It was perfect.
So, at the end of February a divinely inspired Apostle decides Maddie is going to Guayaquil in Mid July.
Then, on March 31, another email arrived. Subject: “Adjustments to Missionary Service: New Options Available.”
Like the rest of the world, the church was figuring out how to respond to COVID-19. It offered Maddie the choice: Begin virtual training from home on June 3, or wait another year, or more, to start her mission.
As of the end of February (when Maddie'S call was issued) the Church obviously had no plans in place for altering the missionary programme because of the pandemic.