West Virginia Charleston Mission

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West Virginia State Capitol building. Image courtesy Nikpoley via  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

West Virginia State Capitol building. Image courtesy Nikpoley via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

More information forthcoming on the West Virginia Charleston Mission!

The Church

There are six stakes located within the West Virginia Charleston Mission.  Church Institutes and Young Single Adult wards are located in Buena Vista, Blacksburg, VA, and Morgantown, WV to serve LDS students attending school at Southern Virginia University, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia University.  The student body of Southern Virginia University (located in Buena Vista, VA) is primarily LDS, and the school enforces an honor code similar to that of BYU.

Main Hall of Southern Virginia University (SVU) in Buena Vista, VA.


West Virginia cooking is, for the most part, similar to that of many southern states, with dishes such as fried chicken, cornbread, mashed potatoes, beans, and sausage being common.  A unique West Virginian dish is the pepperoni roll, a bread roll baked with pepperoni (and sometimes cheese or peppers) inside. And while it is not likely that you will eat squirrel, opossum, or raccoon, there is still a chance you will eat some while serving in rural areas!


Like most state-side missions, missionaries will mostly use either cars or bikes in their areas. Designations are generally based on the size of the area and leadership positions. Some of the more populated areas such as Charleston, Lynchburg, and Morgantown have their own public transportation systems as well.


This mission is generally very safe. It is advised to keep clear of any house that may used for drug trafficking. Be polite and respectful to everyone you meet and the people will do the same.


Most people living in West Virginia are avid supporters of West Virginia University (in Morgantown), while Virginia Tech is more popular in the Virginia area of the mission.  Sporting events for these two schools are both very popular and highly attended.  Appalachian culture is present in some of the more rural, mountainous areas.  These areas are marked by the distinct Appalachian accent, as well as poorer economic conditions, and higher interest in hunting and other outdoor activities.

Local Lingo

While the urban areas do not have as distinct of an accent, the rural Appalachian areas have a rather unique dialect.  Some examples include:

Frequent use of the words “y’all” and “ain’t”

The third syllable of Appalachia uses a short “a” sound rather than a long “a”

“r” sounds are often added into words, such as “wash” becoming “warsh”, and an -er sound is often added to the end of words normally ending with a long “o” sound (for example “potato” becomes “tader”, etc).

“z” sounds in some contractions is replaced by a “d” sound, such as in “idn’t”


“bald” = a mountain summit without trees is a “bald”

“chancy” = doubtful

“fixin’” = a serving of food; or a party or social event; or “about to”

“jarfly” = cicada

“right smart” = a lot of, a good deal of

“sop” = gravy

“buggy”= shopping cart

“toboggan” = beanie (winter hat)

Essential Equipment

Warm winter clothing, sometimes best purchased in the mission. Lighter clothing for humid summers.

Additional Info

Despite all of the stereotypes of West Virginia being a redneck state, the area is full of natural beauty with its forests and mountains.  There are several parks located within the mission that are well worth a visit.

Babock State Park in Fayette County, WV.

Flag of West Virginia Charleston Mission


United States
President Paul W. Salisbury

888 Oakwood Rd Ste 310
Charleston WV 25314-2071
United States

About 2 million
Baptist, Methodist, other Evangelical Christian and Mainline Protestant religions (including many non-denominational churches)
All four seasons are present in Charleston, with hot and humid summers and somewhat milder winters. Thunderstorms and rain are fairly common during the spring and summer months. Snowfall tends to be much heavier in the eastern mountainous regions.
Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown (WV), Roanoke, Lynchburg (VA), Ashland/Ironton (KY)

West Virginia Charleston Mission Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/4618503322/

Alumni and current mission network: http://www.mission.net/west-virginia/charleston/


Straight from the West Virginia Charleston Mission:

What items were hard to get or not available?
“It is in the United States so most items were available, but not all the same brands.”

What did you eat the most of?

“I ate a lot of beans and cornbread, as well as fried food.”


*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Venison oyster pot-pie, which is deer testicle pot-pie.”


“Squirrel meat and my companion ate the brain.”

*What was most surprising about the culture?
“I don’t think I ever saw a straight road for 18 months.”

What advice would you give to someone going to the West Virginia Charleston Mission?
“Don’t over-dress with fancy clothes. Get comfortable clothing that looks nice but isn’t expensive. ”

“The summers are super humid so wear light fabrics if you are a sister, the winters are icy cold cold do layers and sometimes it’s best not to ask what you are eating.”

What do you wish you had known before you served?
“That not every missionary was dedicated to keeping rules. How to negotiate that with companionships would have been helpful.”

“A better pair of winter boots my feet were cold a lot–and watch out for roaches in the summer”

Other comments?
“Be determined to “lose yourself” in service and you will find yourself.”

“The seasons are beautiful. They have tons of trees and I loved the fall colors. It was my favorite time of the year”

“If you are a hiker, take some time on P-Days to go on a couple of hikes! Virginia and West Virginia offer some great trails that don’t even take all day.”

“Don’t be afraid to go into the poor town’s of the mission. My last area I served in was a small town called Welch, WV. It was the poorest town in the state. Although the town was depressing the spiritual experiences were amazing. If you go into these towns with the right attitude you will have a similar time”

“Do not (and this goes for all missions) bible bash anyone who decides to confront you on the Church’s doctrine. You can back up your claim’s all you want, but this will lead you nowhere. The best thing to do is leave with your testimony and leave. If you do that you do have the chance that they will think about what you said. Therefore you can have them be more open minded the next time the missionaries come by”


**Did you serve in the West Virginia Charleston Mission? If so, we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at editor@missionhome.com.**