Thursday, May 9, 2013

West Indies Mission Sister Missionaries: A Brief History

When I was called to serve in the West Indies Mission, I tried to research and to find mission blogs.  While searching, I discovered that the West Indies Mission had only had sister missionaries for a little while.  I thought that was interesting, so I've decided to write a brief history about sister missionaries who have been called to the West Indies Mission.

In 2009, the first sisters received their calls to the West Indies (blog entry about it here: http://www.myersmission.com/2009/07/sister-missionaries-serving-in-west.html).  Sister Camejo (Trinidad) and Sister Girdharry (Guyana), the first sisters, opened Castries, St. Lucia for sister missionaries as their first area (blog post about that here: http://edandjoycecollins.blogspot.com/2009/08/our-sister-missionaries.html).  

First Wave of West Indies Sister Missionaries (Transfer Order)
Sister Camejo / Sister Girdharry
Sister Gaspar (Guyana) / Sister Jaipaul (Guyana) / Sister Mentore (Guyana)
Sister Olysse (Haiti/Martinique) / Sister Toussaint (Guadeloupe)
Sister DeFreitas (Guyana) / Sister Fraser (Guyana) 
Sister Phagwah (Guyana) / Sister Shrestha (Nepal)

In 2011, the West Indies Mission continued to broaden, and sisters from North America were called (main blog entry here: http://thewestindiesmission.blogspot.com/2011/07/first-north-american-sisters-called-to.html, with this and this listing some of the arrivals).

Second Wave of West Indies Sister Missionaries (Transfer Order) 
Sister Butler
Sister Brisson / Sister Fish / Sister Sims / Sister Weaver
Sister Danielsen / Sister Kelsch / Sister Steinmetz / Sister Stephenson / Sister Udall
Sister Walch
Sister Dayton
Sister Campbell / Sister Jewell

Sister Charles (St. Vincent) was temporarily assigned to the West Indies Mission while waiting on paper work for her mission call.  Sister Taylor began the third wave of sister missionaries in 2013.

Because sister missionaries have only been called recently to the West Indies Mission, they have had opportunities to open new areas for sisters for the first time.  Countries such as Grenada, Guyana, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Trinidad & Tobago received their first sister missionary companionships during these times.  Barbados and St. Maarten had had sisters before while placed in a neighboring mission.  I have heard that sisters who spoke French were placed in one of the French-speaking countries (specifically French Guiana).

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to serve in the West Indies Mission.  If I had sent my mission papers in when I planned, I wouldn't have been called there.  However, Heavenly Father knew better.  Sister missionaries were originally capped at 8, while the second wave was capped at 14.  With the missionary age change, the new cap is at 20, and will continue to grow in the coming months and years.  The work continues to move forward, as the first missionaries ever from St. Lucia were called to serve in 2013.

I know that missionary work is the Lord's work.  A friend described missionary work to me as a "backstage pass to the workings of the Lord."  As I reflect on my mission, I see that to be true.  I cannot wait to see what happens in the West Indies over time.

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