Siblings Serena and Tobias Thurber are leaving their home to serve a mission within weeks of each other. Serena, the eldest said, “I wanted to go on a mission sooner, but prayerfully decided that finishing two years of school and leaving at the same time as my brother would be best for me and my family.”
Serena who will be serving in Lubbock, Texas leaves Dec. 18 and will serve for 18 months. Serena noted, “My little brother will be serving in Florida while I am in Texas.”
Tobias leaves Jan. 1 and will serve for two years in Tampa, Florida. He explained his decision to serve a mission at the same time as Serena by saying, “I’ve been preparing to serve a mission since I was a little kid.” He added that he has several friends who are leaving around the same time as he is. He feels that when they all come home, after their missions their friendships will be strengthened because of their shared missionary experiences, even though they will all be serving in different areas of the world.
The siblings’ parents, Kerry and Lisa Thurber expressed their feelings about their daughter leaving to serve a mission. “We are so blessed to have Serena in our family. She is a light and a joy to everyone she meets. She will help so many people as she serves in Texas, and she will grow even beyond what she expects. Of course, we will miss her, but the knowledge of the good she will do and the growth she will experience makes it all worth it.”
They are also proud of Tobias. “What an honor and blessing it is to have Tobias in our family. We have watched him grow, even as he has been preparing to leave. (He) already has a heart that easily loves and serves others. His mission will be such a blessing to the people in Florida. We will miss him terribly, but we also couldn’t be happier for him.”
Both Serena and Tobias were born in Sierra Vista, attended local schools and graduated from Buena High school. Serena has attended Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, Arizona and received an associate degree in history. Tobias played several sports throughout school, but his favorites were swimming and volleyball. He was also involved in the performing arts and enjoyed roles in several theater productions, along with participating as part of an improv group, and singing in Buena’s show choir, Rhythmix.
“I am excited to serve the people of Florida!” Tobias exclaimed. “I will be leaving my friends and family for a time, but I’ll see them again. It’s only two years, and I have a feeling the time will go by faster than expected.” Serena feels that her family will be blessed as she serves. “The gospel of Jesus Christ is important to me, and I want to share it with others,” she stated.
Submitted by Bonnie Holyoak