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The Faith to Cross the World

How missionary experiences benefit young people, and those they meet

The following article was written by Sister Jane Furey, a Church Service Missionary serving in the Church’s Pacific Area Communication Department. Sister Furey lives on the Gold Coast in Australia.

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In 2019 several young women in the Pacific nation of Kiribati applied to serve as full-time missionaries with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


They packed their bags, and with no English, or very little, they flew two thousand kilometres south so they could attend the Suva Fiji Temple before beginning their missionary service.

They didn’t bring much with them, but they did bring huge amounts of faith and courage.

Travelling on to New Zealand and entering the Missionary Training Centre (MTC) in Auckland, they practiced English and learned what it meant to be a missionary.

While there, they also received their patriarchal blessings — a special blessing that many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints receive, often in their youth.

Some of the new missionaries at the New Zealand MTC were assigned to the Australia Brisbane Mission.

These amazing, very humble missionary sisters would visit people’s homes to give service, share meals and practice English. They certainly blessed the various wards (congregations) they served in.

Sister—Latter-day Saint female missionaries are referred to as “Sister”—Rose Saidy was one of the missionaries assigned to the Gold Coast Stake of the Australia Brisbane Mission. She arrived and met her trainer from California, Sister Sierra Cox, who had always hoped to serve in Australia.

Speaking of her trainee, Sister Cox said, "she was the most teachable missionary."

A gracious spirit entered my home when they first came to visit. There was compassion and a desire to serve, happiness and joy. Love.

During these visits I heard Sister Saidy's story. I was moved by her courage, commitment and calmness. Sister Cox, an outdoorsy, energetic Californian, balanced a dynamic companionship.

Sister Sierra Cox and Sister Rose Saidy.
Sister Sierra Cox and Sister Rose Saidy.
Sister Sierra Cox and Sister Rose Saidy.© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

These missionary sisters helped me at a difficult time as I battled health issues. In turn they gave me opportunities to share my testimony as we discussed gospel subjects.

Years earlier my son had served as a full-time missionary in Seoul, South Korea. At last I had the opportunity to help other mothers with full-time serving missionaries, just as the wonderful mothers of Bulgwang Ward had reached out to mine.

Recently in touch, Sierra reminisced: " While I served in the Gold Coast, we, Sister Saidy and I, loved visiting, helping and learning from you. Our visits were full of not only spiritual learning but developing life skills as well. Cookie making, Gardening, making meals etc. Trusting God. I consider serving a mission a turning point in my life; a period of time that changed my direction and sent me on a path to Christ for life. That's what service can do."

Through these two sisters I could feel our Saviour’s love. So very important for missionaries to carry that with them. For everyone to feel.

Sister Saidy had a friendly smile and enquiring mind. It was wonderful to hear her English develop. So very quickly.

Sister Cox shared: "I was always impressed by her great attitude and willingness to do hard things. She kept me laughing and taught me so much about trusting God and relying on the Spirit. I was so blessed to spend so much time with her!"

The three of us had lively discussions during their practice sessions of both gospel teaching, and English. We felt our Saviour's love.

Sister Saidy proved to have just the right touch to decorate my Christmas tree. Sister Cox shared her talent for hanging fairy lights inside my home. She had hung many lights for wedding receptions while working to save for her mission. I loved the lights.

Sister Rose Saidy, Gold Coast, Australia.
Sister Rose Saidy, Gold Coast, Australia.
Sister Rose Saidy, Gold Coast, Australia. © 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sister Cox told me later that she enjoyed our visits because they were “full of not only spiritual learning but developing new life skills as well.” 

They came regularly to make cookies for new-found friends in the community.

Sisters Rose Saidy and Sierra Cox. Gold Coast, Australia.
Sisters Rose Saidy and Sierra Cox. Gold Coast, Australia.
Sisters Rose Saidy and Sierra Cox. Gold Coast, Australia.© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Many times they came for dinner only to find they had to prepare it. I just didn't want to cancel our time together. More life skills. All these tasks were completed with love and laughter. Plus a sweet spirit.

We had some delicious meals.

Our season together blessed all three of us, distinctly and uniquely.

That's what missions do...they shape the teacher and the student. And who can tell which they will be on a given day?

* * * * *

Eventually, both these sisters returned to their respective homes strengthened in the gospel, they continued in their academic educations.

However, returning home, for Sister Saidy, was not that easy.

The world was now gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic and struggling with associated fears...plus restrictions.

Sister Rose Saidy stayed in Queensland for 30 months.

When she was finally able to travel, still during the pandemic, she only made it to Fiji where she stayed yet another eight months. This meant she was away from home for over three years. A regular mission for sister missionaries is 18 months. 30 is quite the challenge.

In making wise use of her time and while waiting to go home, Sister Saidy enrolled in an online education program with BYU Pathway Worldwide.

When she finally arrived home in Kiribati, Sister Saidy was at last released as a missionary and began post-mission life.

Looking back on her very unusual mission experience, she said, "I learned how to change. I tried to be better every single day.”

Having come from opposite sides of the world, the standards of the gospel that these sisters shared melted seemingly obvious differences between us all.

Finally, it can be seen that whilst these missionary sisters from Kiribati and California gave up part of their young lives to come and serve as full-time missionaries, many wonderful things occurred.

One was the caring sisterhood that grew from the Christlike manner in which we served one other, during their many visits to my home.

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