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2014 Brings Big Changes to Young Mormon Women from Carlsbad

Kei Riggins, LDS Missionary serving in Cuernavaca Mexico,  She will return in June 2015
Kei Riggins, LDS Missionary serving in Cuernavaca Mexico, She will return in June 2015

 

By Judy Chauncey

Carlsbad Stake Media Specialist, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Twenty-year-old Carlsbad college student, Kei Riggins, is putting her college plans at BYU-Hawaii on hold by giving up eighteen months of her time to volunteer as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Miss Riggins left on December 18th for the Mexico, Cuernavaca Mission. She first will spend two months at the LDS missionary training center near Brigham Young University in Provo, UT where she will learn to speak Spanish. By the end of February, she’ll be in Mexico. As all LDS missionaries do, she’ll proselyte and take part in service projects for the local people.

At a December 9, 2013 going away address for her friends and family at the Carlsbad 3rd Ward LDS church Sacrament meeting, she said to the members, “I’m excited, yet humbled by my assignment -- to serve and teach the people of Cuernavaca, Mexico.”

Kei Riggins is one of a group of eleven young women from Carlsbad, who are 20-years-old, or younger. And most of them are Carlsbad High School graduates, who have left town in the past year to serve as LDS missionaries. They leave behind their college and professional pursuits, and personal lives, to serve in places all over the world. All LDS missionaries serve at their own expense, with help from their families.

All of these young women would not have had the opportunity to do this until they were at least 21-years-old, until a change in age requirements was announced just over a year ago. At the October 2012, LDS Church General Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, church President, Thomas S. Monson, made a historic announcement. He announced that young women could serve their missions at 19-years-old, instead of waiting until they are 21, the age requirement that had been in place for decades.

While it is not a requirement or obligation for women to serve church missions, they are welcomed to join the ranks. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the church leadership’s Twelve Apostles, said of the age-change announcement, “I’m absolutely delighted if this change in policy allows many, many more young women to serve.”  He said, “The women who serve are stunningly successful.”

According to the church’s Newsroom page (Mormonnewsroom.org), during the past year, the total number of LDS young men and women serving in the world has dramatically increased from about 59,000 at the end of 2012, to over 80,000 as of December 31st, 2013. Over 11,000 of these new missionaries are young women.

This writer’s own 20-year-old daughter, Catherine Chauncey, a 2011 Carlsbad High graduate, is on her way to Europe. She will serve her mission in what is called the “Adriatic North” Mission, which is headquartered in Zagreb, Croatia. The mission boundaries also extend into Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Bosnia, which are smaller countries made up of most of the former Yugoslavia. She is leaving for the Missionary Training Center on January 14th, where she will learn to speak Croatian and Serbian, before her arrival in Croatia in late March.

Here is the complete list of “Sister” missionaries from Carlsbad, that tells where they are serving 18-month missions with the year they graduated from Carlsbad High School in parenthesis:

Kylie Foote (2011) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Heather Lane (2012) Fukuoka, Japan; Jordan Newman (2012) Pocatello, Idaho; Tatum Powell, Lima, Peru South; Sydney Reed (2012) Spokane, Washington; Katelyn Woolley (2012) Utica, New York; Melissa Hoynacki (2012) Denver, Colorado North; Juliette Wardle (2011) Lima, Peru Central; Amy Singh (2012) Taipei, Taiwan; Kei Riggins, Cuernavaca, Mexico; and Catherine Chauncey (2011) Adriatic North Mission.

Debbie Beers December 31, 2013 at 10:29 PM
What a great article. And what amazing young women!!!
Michelle Reed January 04, 2014 at 06:50 PM
It is a remarkable time in history we are living. Our daughters have the opportunity to grow and mature spiritually so much sooner with the age change of young women. I am so proud of my daughter and all those who decide to postpone their education and personal lives to follow their conscience and serve a full time Mission.
Bonnie Packard January 05, 2014 at 01:03 PM
It's a remarkable thing these beautiful young women have chosen to do...a selfless sacrifice to serve and bless the lives of others. Thank you!
Jesús Cristo January 09, 2014 at 11:12 PM
JESUS IS MY SOCCER STAR!! ME GUSTA JESUS!
Garrick Russell January 10, 2014 at 12:03 PM
Huh? Why was my post taken down? I left the LDS church in 1990 and simply stated why within this post. I did so in a matter-of-fact way that did nothing but inform. It didn't hurt, harm or otherwise disparage these women in any way. Why did the Carlsbad Patch chose to censor an opposing view?
Lee Fleckner January 10, 2014 at 03:25 PM
Garrick - nothing in this article warrants a comment from you on why you left the LDS church. It is merely commenting on young women from Carlsbad that are taking time out of their lives to serve others. In otherwords…NOBODY cares why you left the LDS church. Take your angry debate elsewhere.
Garrick Russell January 10, 2014 at 05:49 PM
Lee - The article is supportive of the LDS church and its effort to lead people astray. Nothing wrong with calling it what it is. It's your response that seems a bit angry.
Lee Fleckner January 10, 2014 at 07:04 PM
Garrick…hahahahahahahahahahaha. Did I mention hahahahahahahaha. You said, "This article is supportive of the LDS church." Give me a single quote in this article that states that the author, or Carlsbad Patch is "supportive" of the LDS church, or its doctrine. Just one single line. It is communicating a news event you imbecile. It isn't trying to convert anyone. I have friends in nearly every Christian denomination, Jewish, and Muslim faith. I respect what they all believe and allow them the right to worship as they wish. You should do the same. When did God appoint you the ONE that has all of the truth and annointed you to make sure the WHOLE world knows that you are one of the ONLY ones that really understands the ONLY way to God. Grow up. If you did only half of what these young women from this church did to help and serve others you might then have something of importance to say. Otherwise just SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
Heidi Willes January 11, 2014 at 06:38 PM
As a member of the LDS Church who simply tries to be a good wife, mom, and member of my community, I am SO grateful for the chance I had to serve a Mormon mission to Korea more than 30 years ago (ouch, that made me feel REALLY old : }... back in the day when not many young ladies did that. I LOVED my experiences and LOVED the people I served, and feel I am a much better person for having had that experience. I am SO EXCITED to see these awesome young women have the same growing, stretching, serving, sharing, humbling, learning, loving opportunities that I had!! Just scroll through the photos of these beautiful young women and appreciate that they will be so much better prepared to make great contributions to their families and communities when they return home after their 18 months of service!
glenn bernard January 25, 2014 at 09:20 PM
I am not a member of LDS, but if most Americans were, the Welfare State would not exist.

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