|Sister Jenkins & Sister Barnsley|
Proclaiming the gospel (missionary work) is, therefore, very important to our faith and is an expectation and duty of every male member. At 19 years old each young man is expected (but not required) to serve for two years in a location unknown to him until about 2 months before he leaves (almost anywhere in the world).
Likewise, women in our church can experience the same fulfillment of proclaiming the gospel, but it is not obligatory for her.
Since men are expected to go and women may choose for themselves it stands to reason that there are a lot more male missionaries then female.
As members of the church, having missionaries serving in your town or congregation is exciting. Especially if you take the opportunity to get to know them. It's equally exciting for us women when we get to have 'Sister' missionaries in our area.
Today my dear friends Sister Jenkins and Sister Barnsley will be leaving my town to be replaced by two men (we call them 'Elders').
This isn't uncommon. Every six weeks the missionaries are shifted around to new towns anyway, but to have Elders coming in after a year of Sisters is a bit sad for us women.
There is a certain companionship that always grows between females. A certain amount of love that is immediately felt whenever you are in the presence of another member of the gentle sex. When that universal closeness blossoms into true friendship it is hard to see those people move on... especially when you know you will not be getting a 'replacement.'
These two wonderful women, who willingly sacrificed their time to Jesus, have attached themselves to my heart and I am sad to see them leave.
I will dearly miss having them over every Monday to do their laundry. I will miss having them pop in just to chat (even when they are supposed to being doing other things). I will truly miss the sounds of their laughter drifting through my house.
The Mischievite told Sister Jenkins that he would marry her when he was a teenager and had a prince outfit. This was a massive delight to me (and her) and it is sad to think his little mind will not remember that in the years to come.
I think moving away from friends is one of the hardest things I ever deal with in my life. I hate the temporariness of those relationships and desperately wish they could continue throughout my life. I dread days like today, when I have to bravely wave goodbye and wonder if I will ever hear from that special person again.
If I could I would take all of these blossomed friendships and seal them into a chest, to be opened once a day, or week, and fed until the flowers were so large that there would be no room in the world to hide them from me. That is what friendship ought to be for me--unconstrained by distance or time.
Each and every person who has entered my heart, however briefly, has planted a seed within me. A seed that I yearn to cultivate and grow so that I may see what sort of friendship may bloom from it.
Each and every one of you holds a piece of that same soil of my heart. You are a special treasure to me. So don't forget it.
And to Sister Jenkins & Sister Barnsley I dearly hope they keep in touch and that the remainder of their missionary service will be productive and fulfilling.