Parker Strong, a 19-year-old from Centerville, Utah, sat on a tro-tro in West Africa. The Ghanaian public transportation was overcrowded and passengers began to pass their goods back for others to help hold. Strong was handed a goat to keep on his lap. It breathed on his face and he looked out the window at the rain forest he was driving through.
“In that moment it just hit me,” Strong said. “‘I’m in the middle of West Africa.’”
Strong, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was called to serve in the Ghana Accra Mission in 2013. Although he would eventually get used to the culture and learn several different dialects of the language, upon arriving in Ghana, Strong had some major adjustments.
The first three months Strong viewed as an adventure. Waking up each morning to fetch water, using a bucket to shower and living life without electricity seemed exciting. However, the excitement began to wear off as the reality of his new circumstances settled in. Along with longing for the luxuries he had at home, Strong began to have doubts that Ghana was the place he could share the gospel the best.
“I think it’s natural for most missionaries to feel that way,” Strong said. “‘Is this really where I’m supposed to be? Is this what I should be doing with my life?’”
Well-dressed young men and women who learn foreign languages and travel the world—it sounds like something out of a James Bond movie, but it’s actually quite common in our Church.
And now that the dress and grooming guidelines for missionaries allow sunglasses, they fit the James Bond description more than ever before. In fact, here are 13 other people or groups that already wear the suits and shades—don’t confuse them with the missionaries!
“1500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat. And 15 minutes ago, you knew that people were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know after you take the missionary discussions.” -Missionary K
The Church recently updated their dress and grooming guidelines for missionaries, allowing missionaries to wear conservative sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats in order to help them better protect against the sun.
The Church holds its missionaries to high standards—both spiritually and when it comes to dress and appearance. As servants of the Lord, they represent Him in every way.
Missionaries are told, “as an ambassador of the Lord you are to wear professional, conservative clothing that is consistent with your sacred calling and that will clearly identify you as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Dress and Grooming Guidelines for Missionaries).
Read about even more updates that have happened over the years at LDS Living.