LDS leader Elder Bednar visits Liberia, missionaries return, after Ebola outbreak

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A large crowd gathers in Liberia to hear Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak during a recent visit, November 1, 2015. Courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

SALT LAKE CITY — Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are returning to Liberia after no reported new cases of Ebola in the country since June, according to church officials.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife Susan, recently traveled to the country to show it was safe for missionaries.

The World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola free,” Bednar said of the West African nation. “We want people to know that we’re here…We would not be calling young men and young women to serve in Liberia if there was great danger or concern.”

Mormon missionaries serving in Liberia and Sierra Leone were transferred out of those countries and reassigned to other missions as a precaution in August 2014 following the outbreak of the Ebola virus, according a press release from the LDS Church.

The first cases of the virus in Liberia were reported in March 2014.

The World Health Organization declared Liberia free of Ebola virus transmission on Sept. 3. Since that time, full-time missionaries have begun returning to the country.

Prior to the Ebola outbreak, there 80 young missionaries along with six seniors serving in Liberia. Currently, 53 Mormon missionaries and four senior missionaries are serving in Liberia. Half of those missionaries are from Africa and the other half are from outside the continent.

According to the news release, the Church Missionary Department hopes up to 100 young missionaries will be serving in Liberia once the buildup is complete, along with 12 senior missionaries.

Click here to read the full press release.