The Taylors in South Korea delivered the stunning news: 101 of the 131 missionaries needed to pack everything, clean out and temporarily close 50 apartments and rush to the mission office in Seoul to catch flights to their home countries. There, they were to be quarantined for two weeks and then reassigned to domestic missions.
COVID-19 had hit China and spread. The missionaries already had been quarantined in their apartments for more than two weeks. The coronavirus had reached 89 countries and killed nearly 3,500 people (3,045 in China), according to the World Health Organization’s daily COVID-19 report.
“It’s hard enough to say goodbye to six missionaries when they go home on schedule at the end of their missions,” President Brad Taylor said. “To say goodbye to 101 missionaries all at once when the news came out of the blue is one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done.”
Centerville 7th Ward members also came home earlier than their expected date. Milena Palacios came home because of health concerns and was greeted in a drive-by through the neighborhoods in April 2020. President and Sister Gary Park returned temporarily from Africa where they preside and continue to preside over the Ghana, Accra Temple.