With the recent surge in missionary applications brought on by the LDS mission age-change, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was going to need a facilities upgrade to keep up with the thousands of additional youth who would soon flood training centers around the world.
The church announced Jan. 31 that Benemerito de las Americas -- a high school in Mexico -- will be converted to a full-time Missionary Training Center in July 2013. The change will displace hundreds of high school students who study at a faith-based private school, in the place of thousands who will learn to teach the gospel to potentially millions.
Elder Russell M. Nelson mentioned the school's long history, while also reflecting on its great potential, in remarks made during the announcement:
“This hallowed ground where we stand today will become more sacred with each passing year,” Elder Nelson said. “Better, higher and holier purposes will be served in the future than we’ve ever known before.”The First Presidency was brief in its statement to the media regarding the announcement:
Church leaders announced today that the Church-owned high school Benemerito de las Americas near Mexico City will become a training center for missionaries who will serve in Mexico and other counties of North, Central and South America.The church had previously announced massive increases in missionary applications, with some speculating an increase of as much as 2,000 percent. Either way, there are going to be a lot of missionaries coming. And now, many of them -- from a variety of nations -- can go straight to Mexico City before leaping into the field.
Church leaders made the decision after considering every immediate alternative that could alleviate the demand at the Church’s other missionary training centers around the world, including the MTC in Provo, Utah.