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Which ILP Schools Have The Easiest LDS Church Access?

Posted by Emily Cummings on 9/27/16 1:42 PM

Volunteer with ILP

Don’t miss out on the chance to go to church while you serve abroad!

You can participate in an LDS ward no matter what country you’ll be volunteering in with ILP, but there are a few schools that have a church house (or even have a temple!) close to your school. 

Looking for opportunities for LDS volunteers? ILP might be the perfect fit. Come fill out an application and see. 

International Language Programs isn’t affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, many of our volunteers are LDS. Oh, and every ILP volunteer agrees to a code of conduct, which means you’ll be traveling around the world with people who share your values.

Being a volunteer abroad can be a wonderful way to prepare for a mission, be a good transition for return missionaries or just a perfect chance to see your testimony grow.

What Is Church Like In A Foreign Country? 

Depending on your school, you might call or Skype into church, or go to church and have everything be in a different language. Some countries have the option of meeting at a member’s home, where if there are worthy members, you can take the sacrament. No matter your options, having access to your church while teaching English abroad  is an incredible opportunity.

If you are looking for a school that has close church access, these are great schools for you — 

  • Suzhou, China
  • Mexico 
  • Iasi, Romania 
  • Moscow, Russia 
  • Kiev, Ukraine 
  • Phitsanulok, Thailand
  • Lugala, Uganda

Suzhou, China 

Yep, the LDS church in China is a real thing — there’s an English speaking branch for foreigners that’s close to all of our Suzhou, China volunteers.  It’s easy to get there via public transportation (by bus or metro), or you can always take a cab. Here’s a helpful link if you are looking for directions.

There are other branches our China volunteers can visit; For example, Nanjing has a small branch but it takes about 1.5 hours on the metro to get there. Other volunteers in this country can Skype in, or meet in a private home. There’s even an LDS temple in Hong Kong, but there are some visa restrictions if you’d like to visit.

Find out more about going to Church in China right here. 

Teach English in China

Mexico

There are Spanish speaking wards within walking distance for those volunteering in Mexico. 

Most members speak Spanish only, but they welcome you right in. Bring a book or something to do during classes if you'd like, but it's an experience you've got to have if you're LDS or if you'd just like to join in with others in your group who attend. It's a great way to get to know the locals AND a great way to practice or even learn basic Spanish.

spanish_bom_-_credit_jelinanicole-2.jpg

Iasi, Romania 

Volunteers at the Romanian orphanage have a beautiful 20 minute walk from their apartment to their church meeting house. The branch that meets there will be in Romanian, but that shouldn’t stop you from singing the words to the hymns. On her blog, one of our volunteers talked about how her testimony was strengthened in one meeting:

“While singing ‘Isus, Cel umil născut’ or ‘Jesus, Once of Humble Birth’ I had tears in my eyes because the Spirit hit me so strong! I was praising and worshipping God in another language, that I don’t even know, and He heard me. I felt such a stillness and peace knowing that.”

Get more info about volunteering in an orphanage in Romania, right here. 

ILP Romania

Moscow, Russia 

Going to church in Russia is an incredible experience. Depending on where you are living, there might be an International (English speaking!) branch not too far away from you. This branch is popular with foreigners, meaning you might get the chance to become friends with people from all over the world who share your religious beliefs.  If the foreign ward is too far away, there are also local wards and branches that are conducted in Russian, but the service, spirit and Gospel are the same.

There are new restrictions for sharing your beliefs in Russia, but at church you are free to share your testimony. 

Teach English in Russia

Kiev, Ukraine 

Volunteers who are teaching English in Ukraine have a temple nearby, lucky them! (Here's how to get to the LDS temple in Kiev).

There’s an English ward that meets right next to the temple, meaning you could have the chance to visit it often. You can also attend one of the church services conducted in Ukrainian that also meets right next to the temple. You may have a host family who is willing to take you there, or could get together a group of volunteers on a Sunday for church. 

ILP Ukraine

Phitsanulok, Thailand 

For those who are in Phitsanulok, there's an LDS church just a short bike ride away. Phichit volunteers have the option of attending the same branch, but it will take longer to get there. The branch is incredibly friendly and can be an incredible part of your experience abroad! Laura C., one of our volunteers who is in Phichit right now talks about her experience with the branch so far:

“It was Fast and Testimony week in church today [and] we didn't have an Elder up by the pulpit translating for us, but I gained a stronger testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost that day. No matter what language a testimony is given in, you can still feel what they are saying; I was still able to feel the power of everyone’s testimony.”

ILP Thailand

Lugala, Uganda 

ILP volunteers here will be living  living in a suburb that's about a 20 minute walk to church — make sure you're packing up clothes and shoes that can handle the red dirt roads in your neighborhood! 

It's a medium sized branch where the lessons and meetings are all conducted in English, and the local members are more than thrilled to have you there. Here's a picture of the place you meet. 

ILP Uganda

Even if you can’t physically attend church while you teach English abroad, you can still have a spiritual experience.You might live far away from a branch, but take time to grow your testimony in other ways.

Are there other things besides church access that are keeping you from going abroad? Click the button below for a free guide on how to overcome fears about traveling the world! 

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Topics: LDS, Life Abroad, Thailand, China, Ukraine, Romania, Russia, Mexico, Uganda

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Hi! We are ILP, a non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. Check out our tips for making the most of your time traveling and living abroad.

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