SALT LAKE CITY — Since the LDS Church announcement of 58 new missions in October, dozens of mission presidents have been called to fill the new positions including several well-known Utahns.
Michael Waddoups will be changing the title of Utah Senate President to mission president. Waddoups was assigned to preside over the Rome Italy Mission for three years beginning in June.
"Whoa, we weren't quite prepared for this," Waddoups said of the mission call. "This is exciting, but not really what we expected. Of course, we said we would be happy to serve wherever."
Waddoups had previously learned Italian when he had served in Italy as a young missionary. He and his wife said that they are looking forward to returning and working with the younger missionaries.
""They may have decreased the age, but the spirituality and intellect of these young people has increased significantly," said Waddoup's wife, Anna Kay. "They are prepared."
Waddoups and Anna Kay said they have been busy packing up their home and learning Italian. They said it will be hard to leave their family, including a granddaughter with leukemia, but they know it is the right thing to do.
"We've been doing a lot of packing," Anna Kay said. "When you think about going on a mission, it's usually 18 months or two years. But all of a sudden it's three years and it's a whole new ballgame."
The Waddoups said they are excited to serve in such a historic area that will also have a new temple in the near future.
Other new mission presidents with Utah ties includer former BYU basketball coach, Steve Cleveland who was called to serve in Indiana and former Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, Peter Cooke who was assigned to Washington D.C.
Contributing: Carole Mikita