Skirt-wearing snow shovelers

First Posted: 1/7/2014

Why were two young ladies in dresses shoveling snow at Lakeside Nursing Home in Harveys Lake?

Sister Ellyn Adams, 19, and Sister Jidilea Baluyot, 20, full-time missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said their days are filled with service to others and shoveling snow is one of many ways they can serve.

“We are willing to do any service opportunities, and we do have our own snow shovels in our car,” said Sister Adams. “We are sisters in skirts, shoveling snow.”

“One day two really big guys were trying to push their car up a hill without success,” said diminutive Sister Baluyot. “We offered to help, but they said, ‘No, no, you’re wearing skirts. We’ll get it.’ But they couldn’t so we got out and gave the extra shove that got it over the crest of the hill.”

Sister Adams is from Modesto, California and her companion Sister Baluyot is from Quezon City, Philippines. When asked what foods they had discovered here, they both replied, “Pizza!” They like Pizza Perfect and Lino’s but haven’t yet tried Pizza L’Oven and others yet. Sister Baluyot misses the rice with every meal back home, but the desserts here are good and she likes Curry Donuts, a frequent stop.

They spend several hours each day talking with people or teaching them in their homes, said Sister Adams. “People are interested in knowing how their families can be together forever, the purpose of this life, where we are going and who Jesus Christ is.”

She said that missionaries are described as people who leave their families to help other families be with their families forever.

They are both thousands of miles from home serving 18 month missions for their church. When asked why, Sister Adams replied, “I wanted to be a better person, to help people and to ultimately be a better mother one day.”

“My family is into missionary work – my dad, my brother and cousins served missions,” answered Sister Baluyot. “I am the least likely of my family to go on a mission, but I saw how the gospel helped my family and how my parents tried to be better parents and I want to be like them.”

Five of Sister Baluyot’s cousins are also currently on missions, one in the USA and the others back home in the Philippines. Missionaries do not choose where they serve, but rather are assigned where they are needed. “Typhoon Haiyan hit during my first week in Dallas, and one of my cousins was in Tacloban,” the city that was razed to the ground by the storm. “His fellow missionaries reported in after three days, but he was not able to make contact for a week so we were very worried about him.”

Sister Adams added, “We don’t listen to the news because it erodes our focus, so we didn’t know about the typhoon.”

“But,” said Sister Baluyot, “when people we met learned that I am from, the Philippines they asked if my family was all right. I didn’t know why they wouldn’t be. After that, I was really worried for two days until I heard from them.” Her family lives on the large island of Luzon, which was spared the brunt of the storm.

Sister Adams is the youngest of her family. She has a brother and a sister, both of whom are becoming parents while she is on her mission. When asked how she and her companion handle homesickness, she quickly replied, “Work. Forget ourselves and go to work.”

The sisters are assigned to the local Back Mountain congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose building is located on Manor Drive in Shavertown.

After completing her mission, Sister Adams plans to go back to school at BYU Idaho or San Francisco State to be an art therapist or elementary school teacher, marry and be a mom.

Sister Baluyot will finish her last year of study to be an advertising artist and would like to work for her dad in his advertising firm. She might also study special education so that she can better understand her brother with special needs. She would like to find an eternal companion and raise her children in the church.

Of her time in Dallas. Sister Adams said that Back Mountain people and their families have lived here a long time and their stories are great to hear. “It’s so nice to find people who are trying to change their life. That’s my favorite part of the mission – that and the pizza.”

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