Young women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) are serving missions in record numbers, especially since the minimum age was lowered to 19. Sister Jacqueline Wilson, 19, and Sister Allison Dearden, 20, accepted calls to serve in the Tennessee Knoxville Mission. They left their families and friends and put their educations on hold for 18 months to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are now assigned to Hixson, Soddy Daisy and Red Bank. “Sister” is a title used to reverence the work they are doing.
Sister Wilson is from Shelley, Idaho and has four siblings. She comes from a long line of missionaries. Her parents and three older siblings have served missions, and her younger sister is getting ready to serve. Before Sister Wilson came on her mission, she was attending Weber State University where, in addition to her studies, she was on the track team. Sister Wilson says her family’s example to serve missions helped her want to go but she’s also just wanted to go on a mission her whole life. She knew she wanted to devote her time to testifying of Christ. She loves sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. It is the driving force for her service. She is half way through her 18-month mission.
Sister Dearden has about five months left on her mission. Before leaving on her mission, she was attending community college and playing soccer. Sister Dearden is from Gilbert, Az. and has three siblings. Her older sister served her mission in Vancouver, Wa. Sister Dearden says the best part of serving a mission is witnessing the change that comes when we live the Commandments. Teaching people that they can leave behind the person they were and become who God wants them to be is beautiful. Sister Dearden says we are all just spiritual beings having a mortal experience.
Both sisters love being in Tennessee. Tennessee has become their home away from home. They are looking for new ways to reach out and introduce themselves as representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the greater Chattanooga area. As stated by the Church, “The missionary effort is based on the New Testament pattern of missionaries serving in pairs, teaching the gospel and baptizing believers in the name of Jesus Christ. More than 70,000 full-time missionaries are serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most missionaries are young people under the age of 25, serving in more than 400 missions throughout the world. Missionaries work with a companion of the same gender during their mission, with the exception of couples, who work with their spouse. Missionaries receive their assignment from Church headquarters and are sent only to countries where governments allow the Church to operate. Missionaries do not request their area of assignment and do not know beforehand whether they will be required to learn a language. Prior to going to their assigned area, missionaries spend a short period of time at one of the 15 missionary training centers throughout the world” (Mormon Newsroom).
Sister Wilson and Sister Dearden are thankful to be part of the missionary program. They attend Sunday services at 9 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 3010 Hamill Road, Hixson. All are welcome.