Seven Sisters Shine Their Light in the Mission Field
Contributed By Heather Whittle Wrigley, Church News and Events
“We can see how we are merely instruments in His hands to bring about His work through the guidance of the Spirit.” —Anai Nava Aguilar, full-time missionary in the Guatemala City North Mission
In Job 38:31, the Lord tells Job He bound the Pleiades together. Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters, is a constellation of seven stars that are so far away their light needs 350 years to reach the Earth, according to astronomers.
Marisol (Chile Osorno), Antonia (Argentina Resistencia), Daniela (Costa Rica San Jose), Florencia (Honduras Comayaguela), Verónica (Chile Santiago East), Anai (Guatemala City North), and Balbina Nava Aguilar (Argentina Bahía Blanca) are seven sisters bound by their concurrent service as full-time missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
These seven sisters from Mexico, ranging in age from their early twenties to late thirties, are letting their light shine in their family and in the mission field as they share their knowledge and testimonies of the gospel with people in five countries.
The sisters’ first contact with LDS missionaries was when they began attending free English classes at a local chapel.
“As we participated, we began to want to be a part of the Church,” Verónica said. “We contacted the missionaries serving the ward near us and asked them to baptize us immediately.”
In one week, the sisters received three discussions, and in 2006, they—along with another sister and their brother—were baptized.
In the process of these seven sisters’ conversions, they brought their parents, Albino Nava and Isidra Aguilar, who had joined the Church three decades earlier, back into full activity.
Their bishop later told them the ward had been fasting and praying for eight people to join the Church so the ward could be approved for a new meetinghouse. Now the ward qualified, and the family later participated in the dedication of the new Atlacomulco chapel.
Two years after their conversions, the sisters decided they wanted to serve missions. They began preparing financially and spiritually.
The myth of Pleiades holds that the seven sisters were placed in the sky as stars to comfort their father. Brother Nava said that his daughters’ missionary service has brought him peace.
“I told my daughters, ‘If you want to go serve the Lord, go ahead,’” Brother Nava said. “One needs to serve and continue to know the gospel. I am content, and I am happy because my daughters are missionaries for the gospel.”
But a setback occurred when the paperwork for all seven sisters, which had taken six months to gather, was lost.
“Part of us didn’t want to go anymore, but we gathered together and we talked during a Family Home Evening about what we should do,” said Anai. “We decided that since we had made a promise to our Heavenly Father, we would go forth with our goal because there would always be opposition in everything.”
In 2010 they submitted their second round of papers together, and when the calls came, they found they were spread out over seven missions in five South and Central American countries.
When President Thomas S. Monson issued a call for more missionaries during the October 2010 general conference, most of the sisters had already been out on their missions for three months.
To sisters in particular, he had said, “While you do not have the same priesthood responsibility as do the young men to serve as full-time missionaries, you also make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome your service” (“As We Meet Together Again,” Ensign and Liahona, Nov. 2010, 6).
“Hearing President Monson thank the sisters reaffirmed my decision,” Balbina said. “I know that it is the right thing for me to be here.”
Anai said she decided to serve a mission because she felt the need to share the light of the gospel that came into her life when she became a Church member.
“I knew that there were many families prepared to hear the gospel just like my family,” she said. “I have seen miracles in my life in this short time. Why not help other people know that miracles have not ceased?”
Antonia said she also longed to spread the gospel light to others. “I had a desire to [serve] because Jesus had shown me His truth and light in the same way that I am helping others to know now,” she said.
Their parents are now working to have their entire family sealed in the temple. Last year they took two children to the Mexico City Temple to be sealed, and they will do the same each year until the entire family is sealed.
“Heavenly Father and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, did the work so that all my daughters could go on a mission,” Sister Aguilar said. “I will never forget it. It is all in my heart.”
The sisters’ example has also had a positive influence on their brother, who became inactive shortly after being baptized in 2006.
“He had a lot of questions,” Anai said. “But he realized how important serving a mission was to us, and six months after we were out he became active again.” He received the Melchizedek Priesthood, and his wife was baptized. They plan to be sealed in the temple in a year.
In the scriptures, the Lord admonishes His followers, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Florencia and several of her sisters said they felt prepared to serve missions at this time and have seen blessings come as a result of their service.
“As I teach I am developing Christlike attributes in each investigator, and overall I am growing spiritually,” Florencia said. “I understand the doctrine of Christ in my life and in that of my family.”
As these sisters shine their light to those around them, the light of the gospel is changing them, too. Their younger sister, Mariana, is planning to put her mission papers in this year.
“Heavenly Father has given me a great opportunity to see how He is with me on a daily basis,” Anai said. “We can see how we are merely instruments in His hands to bring about His work through the guidance of the Spirit.”
Sister Aguilar said she can see the good that has come of sending her seven daughters on missions.
“They are in the Lord’s hands, working, preaching His gospel to bring more souls,” she said. “I want them to finish their missions with honor and with the pure love of our Savior Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.”
“I love this gospel and I know that the work changes lives,” Florencia said. “It changed mine, and it will change the lives of those I teach.”