My wife’s high school friend has a son who just got his mission call. Phoenix, Arizona, French speaking. We asked if his call was for somewhere else, and he’s serving in Phoenix until he can go, and she said, no, it is for the Phoenix mission, French speaking. We told her that . . . there really aren’t any native French speakers in Arizona, and she said that there is a large ex-pat population of people from Lyons and Nice (not sure where she’s getting this from).
We looked online, and there are 21,000 German and 16,000 French ex-pats in all of Arizona. That sounds about right, When we go to the German Christmas service at a Lutheran church, there is a large crowd, but . . . they all speak English as well. All the time. I think of our chapter president for German teachers (I’m one of only very few non-native speakers who teach German in Arizona). She’s from the Black Forest, married an American, and her small children all speak German in the home but are also fluent in English from school and life. They are included in that 21,000. What we don’t get is . . . how would a French or German or whatever missionary in Phoenix ever teach anyone in that language? How would you find them? It’s not like they all live in a Chinatown or something like that. And, if they were interested, the lessons would be in English. It’s just weird. Name tag in French in the Phoenix mission. . .
We have an elder in our ward from Orem who was called to Alberta, Canada, Tagalog speaking. Same thing — there are really no Tagalog speakers in Alberta. When he couldn’t go to Canada, they sent him here (Tempe Mission) to wait until September at the earliest, if then. He’s studying Tagalog, but has no real opportunities to practice (while Arizona is opened up from the shutdown, we still have no church in sight, and missionaries still are sequestered in their houses/apartments).
In both cases, I doubt either will get to teach people or really learn French or Tagalog. We wonder if the idea is to have missionaries trying to learn different languages for when they do get to go to those foreign areas, whenever that is. They could go immediately, instead of having to go through the call/MTC process.
We’re going to start looking for other examples. New Mexico, Russian speaking. Wyoming, Latvian speaking.