Why the Young Women’s responsibility to be ministering sisters matters

Sister Michelle D. Craig poses for a photo with a young woman.
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, right, and her ministering companion, Jessica Akins.
Sister Becky Craven and Grace and Carol McIlrath.

When asked how they feel about becoming ministering sisters, some of the young women we spoke with said they are a little nervous. However, they are also quick to report that their excitement to have more responsibility as young women overshadows their apprehension. Although the Mia Maids and Laurels have been given this new opportunity to serve in a formal assignment, the Beehives are also anxious to increase their level of ministering. All of our young women are extraordinary!

The young women of the Church are extremely capable and have countless talents they are ready to share with others. They will be a valuable force for good as they take part in the work of salvation for those they serve. Ella Nielsen, from South Jordan, Utah, shared how she thought young women could minister when she said, “You can check in on people and say ‘How are you doing?’ and make sure they are doing OK and see if they are happy and how their life is going.” It can be that simple.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminds us in his book, "One by One," that “each of us as a disciple of the master has a responsibility to minister to others and recognize that what we do truly matters, even if what we do may seem small or inconsequential.”

Simple acts of service performed by our young ministering sisters will bless the lives of many as they learn to become more devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.

The young women are quick to see how unity in their ward families will increase as they serve in the capacity of ministering sisters.

Sister Michelle D. Craig poses for a photo with a young woman.
Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, and her ministering companion, Clara Thompson.

“I feel like this will help to get to know more people in our ward,” one young woman shared. “We already know the young women and now it will help us get to know the adults.”

With this new opportunity, we see the spiritual blessings afforded not only to those sisters the young women serve, but also to the young women themselves. A young woman named Katie Varga shared her enthusiasm to minister by saying, “I get to exercise my faith more regularly. I can bear my testimony in people’s homes when I think I should and it will help me know that the Church is true.”

In a time when personal relationships have been largely replaced by virtual friendships, many youth of the world often lack basic social and communication skills. This additional opportunity for young women to serve will aid them in developing the confidence to talk with and connect with others in a personal way. They will become more like the Savior as they learn greater compassion, understanding and patience. They will be less judgmental of others, become more able to discern needs and be better able to act upon promptings from the Spirit.

We see an acceleration of spiritual growth as the young women look outside themselves, see the needs of others around them, and then act to help meet those needs. In doing this, they will more fully live the covenants they made at baptism to bear one another’s burdens, comfort those who stand in need of comfort, stand as a witness of God, and serve the Lord and keep His commandments (Mosiah 18:8-10).

Grace Rogers, a Mia Maid from Centerville, Utah, learned that ministering was a little different than she thought it would be. “I first thought that it was teaching and giving a lesson. That’s until I was given the opportunity to minister to Sister (Carol) McIlrath. Ministering for me now is building friendships and all aspects of being there for each other.”

Our hope is that every Mia Maid and Laurel will be considered for an assignment as a ministering sister. These assignments may be determined as the Relief Society president, Young Women president, priesthood leaders and parents counsel together. Some young women who may not be able serve in traditional ways may be given an assignment suited to their abilities. All young women have gifts that could benefit another sister in some way — and the blessing to the young women who serve cannot be measured.

Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, right, and her ministering companion, Jessica Akins.
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, right, and her ministering companion, Jessica Akins.

As the young women serve in this new capacity, they will build friendships with older, more mature Relief Society sisters. This relationship will help them learn and understand the purpose of the Relief Society organization to which they will soon belong. As they minister together, Relief Society sisters can have a significant impact for good on the lives of their young companions as they teach and mentor them in their joint assignments.

Carol McIlrath from Centerville, Utah, sees a wonderful benefit from having a young sister minister to her.

“What a pleasure it is to have a young woman come and do ministering to me," McIlrath said. "She brings with her a young and refreshing view about the gospel and challenges me to try to be better. How excited I am to get to know the youth in the ward better.”

As young women learn to serve and minister, they will feel the love of the Savior more deeply in their lives. They will realize that as they reach out to help the ‘one’ they are serving the Savior Himself and becoming His disciples.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quourm of the Twelve Apostles taught, “True disciples of Jesus Christ have always been concerned for the one. Jesus Christ is our greatest example. He was surrounded by multitudes and spoke to thousands, yet He always had concern for the one.”

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