While editing photos of our missionaries, I noticed something that many of the Sisters were wearing around their neck - and it has made me realize just how wonderful these young women are. I cropped the pictures and decided to post them, letting you see what has touched my heart. It is their YW Medallion.
Having five daughters of my own, I know the dedication, diligence, and commitment it takes to be successful in achieving this award. I also know that there are many who never make it to the end and give up when it seems to them to be unreachable.
A few years ago I had an experience that made the Young Women's program, combined with a determined daughter of God, hold a place of honor in my heart. President Tye and I were called to teach Sunday School lessons to women incarcerated at the Salt Lake County Jail. One week I felt inspired to ask the fifteen women dressed in blue jail-issue scrubs if any of them happened to know the Young Woman's theme. Three of the fifteen raised their hand, so I asked them to stand and say it to the other women. I thought it would be a good way to bring the Spirit into the cold cinder-block room where we were about to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To my shock, not only did the three who raised their hand stand, but twelve of the fifteen stood and repeated the beautiful words of the Young Women's theme. Every one of the twelve were in tears - a few were weeping. One of these sisters even thanked me, saying that she had not repeated those words in many years, and was amazed that she still knew them by heart and then she said, "I needed that today."
This was a touching experience, but I found myself wondering what had happened to these "young women" who had once stood in their home ward and repeated this theme every week, but were now standing in a county jail because of arrests for identity theft, drug use, prostitution, intoxication, and child abuse. Yes, making right choices in a polluted world is hard work, but is it do-able? You bet it is!
Right now we have 68 Sister missionaries who did it. It has not always been easy for them either. They may have struggled at one time or another; a foot may have slipped off the path and gotten a little dirty, but they knew what they had to do to clean it off and keep walking. Their focus was not centered on the things that were pulling on them, but rather on Him who was reaching for them.
The Young Women's program taught them how to do it each week as they repeated, ". . . we will stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places . . ." And here they are, wearing their Young Women's Medallion, and being a witness of God in all places, like Cavite.