Sister Sharlyne Joseph and Elder Janal Felix, are the very first missionaries called from the Vieux Fort Branch on the island of St. Lucia. Both were called to serve in the same mission, The West Indies Mission of which St. Lucia is a part. Sister Joseph is now serving in Tobago, and Elder Felix is serving in Trinidad.
Both Sharlyne and Janal joined the church as teenagers and both have interesting journeys to the mission field.
Sharlyne grew up in a home where faith and God were very important. Her mother was the first to meet the missionaries, and Sharlyne was encouraged to listen to their message. At that time, Sharlyne was active in another church and was not interested in changing. The missionaries continued to come by their home and at one point they brought a young adult close to Sharlyne’s age. That person was Janal Felix, even though he was not yet a member. It was a good meeting; however, in Sharlyne’s own words, “it did not sink into my heart.”
The missionaries enlisted the help of the Branch President, Cleavance Nicholas, and he went to a teaching appointment with them. At that meeting President Nicholas felt prompted by the spirit to tell Sharlyne that she would someday serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
One week after her baptism, Sharlyne received a calling in the branch to be the Young Women President. This calling not only helped the young women of the Branch, but was a great help to Sharlyne as she prepared to serve a mission.
Sharlyne’s heart is full of gratitude for her family and especially her mother who was loving and patient with her as she came to accept truths that her mother had already accepted.
Serving in the West Indies Mission has blessed Sharlyne’s life and has opened her heart and eyes to other Caribbean cultures. She is grateful to serve with other Sisters in the gospel, even though it was challenging at first. As they have served together and as they have borne testimonies to each other, she now feels “linked” to them.
Sharlyne testifies that being a missionary is good, and that God will help anyone willing to give their best efforts to help Him. She is very grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ.
When these missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came by their home and asked for permission to talk with them, Janal’s mother was agreeable, but Janal, who was fifteen at the time, was at first a bit afraid of these two strangers. However, he and his mother did accept the invitation to attend church.
As they attended church for the first time, they both liked what they felt in their hearts. The idea of a “restored” church was important to Janal.
Jane was baptized first and Janal followed two months later. He now considers his baptism date his “real” birthday.
Janal’s mother had poor health and it soon began to deteriorate even further. It became Janal’s responsibility to care for his mother and younger brothers. Janal recalls special spiritual experiences during the time he cared for his mother and younger brothers. He relates that at times, he was given strength beyond his own to perform the responsibilities that were then his.
Janal always wanted to be a missionary and when time would allow, he would go with the missionaries to teach others. Sister Sharlyne was one he helped the missionaries teach.
Janal loved serving in the church in any capacity and it was at this time that he became very close to Branch President Cleavance Nicholas.
Sadly, Janal’s mother passed away a few months before he received his mission call. It was a challenging time for Janal and he was very blessed to have Sister and President Nicholas invite him to live in their home. Sister Nicholas worked very hard to get all the proper documents he needed for his mission.
He now serves in the West Indies Mission with great love and dedication. He has a very strong testimony and gives thanks to his mother that she raised him “in the right way”. He is grateful for President and Sister Nicholas and their love and determination to prepare him for his mission. He loves the Savior and Heavenly Father and knows that his heartfelt prayers have been answered by them.