The Dalkeith Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has welcomed two missionaries to the area.
Sister Angelina Whitthread, from Kent, has already served 14 months of her 18-month long mission while Sister Emely Hall is from Denmark and only has a few weeks left as a missionary before returning home.
Sister Whitthread left home aged 16 and went through some difficult experiences.
She said she came on a mission “to let people know that we all have a Heavenly Father who loves us and we’re never alone, which I had to figure out for myself after leaving home”.
Sister Hall, a keen artist and sports lover, is excited to be serving in the Dalkeith area, having heard many good things about it and the people.
Members of the LDS church can serve as missionaries when they are 18 or 19 years old or older, for 18 months to two years, almost anywhere in the world.
Missionaries spend their time serving in the community in many ways, answering questions, and teaching about Jesus Christ and His gospel. They serve in pairs, but every six weeks there are ‘transfers’ and one or both missionaries in the area may move to a new area within their mission.
The Scotland/Ireland mission covers all of Scotland and Ireland and has more than 100 missionaries in it.
Serving a mission has an enormous impact on the individual, who may be living away from home for the first time, may be learning a new language, and has to live with great self discipline.
Local church member Carole Sneddon, who is married with five children, said: “I served my mission in Athens and Cyprus, back in 1998-2000.
“I have such fond memories of that time, and made so many very dear friends whom I’m happy to still be in contact with, all over the world.
“The one thing that still has the biggest impact on me is seeing how people change as they find hope in Jesus Christ, and find a path to follow that helps to make sense of this sometimes crazy human experience that we are having.”
Matt, Carole’s husband, also served a mission in Düsseldorf, Germany.
He remembers the character-building experience of being constantly with a companion who was very different from him – he emerged from that companionship much more patient and tolerant – traits that have served him well as a husband and father.