Sister Henderson and Sister Ward are two young missionaries in Camden who teach about Jesus and invite people to come to Christ.
Twenty-three-year old Sister Ward and 22-year-old Sister Henderson are missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). Ward is from Minnesota and Henderson from Las Vegas. They spend 18 months in one state for their mission, but they are sent to three to four cities in that time frame.
They do not go by their first names when they are on missions.
“We’re not ourselves right now, we’re here to be missionaries, not individuals,” Ward said.
Ward explained the missionary process. After someone realizes they want to be a missionary, they meet their local church leader, the bishop. Ward had to talk to the local bishop in Minnesota and Henderson the local bishop in Las Vegas. They then fill out paperwork, send it to LDS headquarters in Salt Lake City, the leaders there pray and ask God where the best place to send that missionary is, Ward said.
“Once we get to our designated state, we get a missionary president and he asks God where he should send that set of missionaries,” Ward said.
Henderson reiterated, “It all depends on where the missionary president is inspired for us to go.”
Ward has only two more months left; Henderson has nine months to go.
On the daily, they rise around 6:30 a.m. to exercise; something about 70,000 missionaries do, according to Ward. Around 8 a.m. they have an hour of personal study, and by 9 a.m. they study together and they make up their lesson plans for the day. From 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. they teach the people of Camden how to invite people to come to Christ, and they make time for a lunch and dinner break.
“We teach people we come into contact with,” Henderson said.
Someone can come to Christ by repenting for their sins, having a faith in Jesus and getting baptized, Ward said.
Their teaching tools range from The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, to pamphlets and videos about Jesus’ doctrine and the messages they teach.
“Before we go to our missions, we go to the Missionary Training Center,” Henderson said. “We spend three weeks there, but if we are to learn another language we can spend six to nine weeks there depending on what language.”
The girls had to put everything on hold to do their mission. They leave behind their family; they hold off on school and give their time to the Lord. Ward was working on obtaining a degree in English before the mission because of her desire to write while Henderson wants to be a cosmetologist.
“I want to be a makeup artist to the celebrities,” Henderson said.
Their reasons for choosing to be a missionary:
“I had a feeling that Heavenly Father wanted me to go on a mission,” Henderson said. “I want God’s children to know where we go when we die and the purpose of life.”
As for Ward:
“I had missionaries that taught me the restored gospel, the idea that all the doctrine of the church has been restored. I want to pay it forward. I love Jesus Christ, and I know it’s his desire that everyone hears the message,” Ward said.
The two young women also work to clear up myths. People have told them that Mormons are not Christians, but their rebuttal is, they revere and worship Jesus Christ. A second myth is that Mormons practice polygamy, but Henderson said the church is all about eternal family and marriage.
While in Camden, the two attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on 34 Chestnut Ferry Road. They do all of this for free. Before they went on their mission, they saved up money to put on a reloadable card to pay their way for the 18 months.
Sister Ward started in Lexington, went to Hartsville and now is in Camden. Sister Henderson started in Gaffney, went to Blythewood and now is in Camden.