Monday, July 8, 2013

Alex Balinski Launches "Prepare To Serve" Website To Help Prepare Prospective LDS Missionaries Adapt To Foreign Cultures

KTVB Channel 7 in Boise, Idaho reports that Alex Balinski, a 23-year-old BYU student in Utah who previously served a mission in Argentina, has created a website cataloging thousands of videos about the food, history and traditions of many of the countries where Mormon missionaries serve. The website is entitled "Prepare To Serve", and is not an official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Balinski has been spending at least six hours a day indexing existing YouTube videos and shooting new interviews with returned missionaries; his goal is to supplement existing LDS missionary preparation and information resources by educating future missionaries about how best to interact in the cultures where they'll be proselytizing.

The site is now linked on my left sidebar under the category Pro-Mormon Websites. Since the site is still a work in progress, loading and navigation are still a bit erratic and clunky at this point, particularly on the main page. This problem will undoubtedly be corrected.

The site's video playlist links to over 10,000 videos, most of which are from missions outside the United States. In addition, the Resources header contains links to an alphabetical list of all LDS missions (405 as of this post) and a list of missionary websites and blogs. Most of the blogs are edited by family and friends of the missionaries, who receive their letters from the field and post the information on the websites. Balinski's website operating expenses are paid by commercial sponsors, who currently pony up $100 per month, which helps since he quit his full-time job in the Fall of 2012 and decided to concentrate full time on the website. He's currently earning $600 per month from his sponsors. He also says he vetted the idea with a local church leader before proceeding to ensure he was accurately reflecting LDS information. Balinski thinks the site will take about three years to complete, and wants to have as many as 50,000 videos posted when complete.

Even though KTVB is just now reporting it, this is not a new story. KSL Channel 5 first reported it back on April 14th:

Official LDS information about missionary service remains available at

No comments: