Recently returned missionaries are very familiar with “The District,” a set of missionary training videos, also known to the public as a reality television series on missionary work.
The original “District” came out in 2007, and the missionaries featured were serving in the San Antonio Texas mission. The San Antonio mission was selected because it was known for having a lot of baptisms as a result of the missionaries’ finding capabilities. After the first season was released, the missionary department identified teaching as a concern. Also, they thought that the first “District” looked too perfect and they wanted to expose the reality of tough missionary work. So, “The District 2” was filmed in 2009 and released June 2010, and this time the San Diego California mission was in the spotlight.
As a missionary, I clearly remember watching episodes of “The District” with my trainer and with my greenie. We always looked forward to the days we were able to pop some popcorn and watch our favorite missionaries preach the gospel. After the mission I was curious to know what happened to these powerful missionaries. Where are they now?
Below are updates on some of the returned missionaries featured in “The District,” all of the missionaries below were in “The District 2” with the exception of Elder Reis who was in “The District 1.”
Elder J Tyler Christensen
Christensen will graduate from Brigham Young University with a degree in Economics in April 2015. Christensen has been married to his wife, Jacqueline, for almost a year and both he and his wife are teachers at the Missionary Training Center. Starting in August they will move to Minnesota where Christensen will attend the University of Minnesota for his Masters in Healthcare Administration.
“My mission taught me how to set goals, plan effectively, and keep Christ at the center of my life,” Christensen told LDS.net. “And most importantly, it taught me how to recognize and follow the Holy Ghost.”
Sister Janet Zaldivar
Zaldivar met her husband, Cameron Thorpe, on a blind date set up by Elder Jon Hepworth, another missionary from “The District.” They have been married for a little over 2 ½ years.
Zaldivar will be graduating with a law degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU in April. Her husband Cameron is currently in Medical School at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
The couple recently welcomed their first child, a baby boy. “Life is crazy, but it is great,” Zaldivar said. “I thought I’d never be as tired as I had been on my mission, but I’ve learned otherwise!”
“The mission taught me to have perspective and look at the big picture.” Zaldivar said. “My experience on the mission also taught me that Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us, and as we make him the center of our lives we can overcome anything, and enjoy the journey!”
Elder Jon Hepworth
Hepworth is now married and lives with his wife, Bree, in Rexburg, Idaho, where they recently purchased their first home. Hepworth is a business owner of a medical waste company that he started with his cousin a year and a half ago. His wife Bree is a bank teller at a local credit union in Rexburg. The Hepworth’s have two dogs, a big yard, and they frequently host barbecues for friends and family on the weekends.
“Despite the fact that I still have tumor growths and other medical challenges,” Hepworth explained, “Bree and I are happy and very blessed with a lot to look forward to.”
Elder Mike Moreno
After returning home from his mission, Moreno attended BYU and played on BYU’s soccer team. Moreno later transferred to BYU Hawaii to finish up his soccer career and graduated with a degree in Business Management.
Moreno was married in the Salt Lake City Temple May 2014, and currently lives with his wife in Lehi, Utah. His wife is an office manager with Borboleta, a Utah based company that specializes in eyelash extensions. Moreno currently has two jobs, one with Vivint as a sales representative, and the other is with a non-governmental organization called CHOICE Humanitarian where Moreno assists with business development.
“When I came back from the mission my life was definitely not picture perfect,” Moreno said. “My parents were divorced while I was on the mission and things were much more complicated than before. It was a very difficult few years for my family.”
“However, my mission has taught me so many things and has blessed my life in more ways that I can say, especially in handling difficult circumstances. As time goes on, I feel that one of the biggest lessons I have learned is how much God loves us and how important it is for us to reciprocate that love to as many people as we can.”
Elder Jacob Reis
Since “The District” Reis has completed his Bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University and has been working at the MTC for the past seven years as a training coordinator, supervising the training of teachers and missionaries. Reis is currently pursuing a Master’s degree and is in the process of deciding which graduate program to pursue.
“I’m loving life,” Reis told LDS.net. “I wake up every morning so grateful for the many blessings and opportunities the Lord has given me to learn, grow, and seek to bless the lives of others.”
Sister Laura Voyles
After serving her mission, Voyles attended Brigham Young University where she met her husband Brad Nichols. Voyles has since graduated in business and her husband graduated in accounting. Following graduation they moved to California where Voyles works in the training department at a health care company and her husband works for an accounting firm. Voyles has been married for about a year and a half.
“The mission really defined who I have become,” Voyles said. “It helped me to understand that we truly are God’s children and He watches over us and has a perfect plan for us. If we follow the Gospel, we will be happy and can have peace.”
Elder Alex Murray
Murray will graduate from BYU in April 2015 with both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Information Systems. Murray currently makes a living as an App developer for BYU. After graduation Murray will move with his family to Arizona where he will work for General Motors as a software developer.
Soon after his mission Murray met his wife, Annika, while teaching at the MTC, she had recently returned from a mission and was working at the MTC as well. They have been married for almost four years.
“I definitely married up,” Murray said. “We have a two year old named Peter who surpassed all odds when he was born premature and weighed only three pounds. He is a tremendous blessing to us. My mission has taught me that all things are possible with God’s help and I will forever be indebted to God for the miracles He let me experience on my mission, before my mission, and since returning home.”
Elder Steven Bott
Bott will graduate from Utah Valley University in April 2015 with his Bachelor’s in Business Management. He currently works in the Temple Department for the Church as an Assistant Engineer for the Payson Temple.
Bott has been married to his wife Whitney for over four years and they have two children. Their daughter, Aleeah, is three years old and their son, Hudson, is 15 months old.
“I look back on the experiences I had as a missionary and realize that everything I have in my life today is because I served the Lord,” Bott said. “I’m humbled at the blessings the Lord has given me and my family. I know that the better we live the Gospel the better lives we will have.”
Elder Kevin Tuituu
Tuituu graduated from BYU-Hawaii August 2014 and received his Bachelor’s in Business Management. Immediately after graduation, Tuituu and his family returned to Guam where he is working for the Church in the physical facilities department.
Tuituu and his wife have been married for over four years and have three children. Taysia, their oldest daughter, is three years old, Mosiah, their son, will soon turn two years old, and Maile, their youngest, is three months old.
“My mission has left a huge impact on my decisions that I make in my life,” Tuituu said. “It has been a great blessing to me. It has taught me humility and love for all those who I come in contact with. Being back home with my wife and kids, and seeing how far I have progressed in life, confirms to me each day that I do have a loving Heavenly Father.”