Itzcel Jaisiel Owen just returned from serving an 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Detroit. Prior to being a missionary, Owen knew she would need to save money. Missionaries or their families are required to provide funds for their support while they serve a mission.
“It was hard to find a job, so I spent most of my time serving in the community and (other church) members,” Owen said. “I knew that if I tried to work that I would be blessed even if I made little. The scripture says, ‘If ye have a desire to serve God, ye are called to the work’ (D & C 4:3). There were people who cared for me and were able to help — family, friends and church members. I am truly blessed by them. I thank them for all that they have done for me.”
Just over a month after Owen arrived in Detroit the pandemic hit, and all door-to-door missionary work was halted. The missionaries were told to go buy food to survive for two weeks and to quarantine. But then the two weeks turned into months.
She noted the first few weeks being quarantined were hard because they had no idea how to do missionary work. They didn’t have enough phone data and couldn’t really go to the church building. But they had lots of study time and time to call people.
“I had to learn to be patient and have hope for the future of missionary work,” Owen said. “It reminds me of a scripture in Alma 32: 41-43 that when we have faith and persevere with diligence then we will be able to have patience for the hard and challenging days.”
Owen is the first in her family to serve a mission. She decided to go on a mission even though she had only been a member of the church for three years.
She remembers the day two sister missionaries knocked on her door. She said, “I could feel their sweet spirit with big smiles on their faces and I wanted to know why they were so happy.” Two months later Owen got baptized and planned to serve a mission because “I wanted to share the happiness the gospel can bring into our lives.”
Her mother, Catty Owen, said, “I was full of joy and happiness that she was going on a mission, but also I was very sad inside (because I would miss her). I knew she was going to serve Jesus Christ and spread the word of the Gospel. I am extremely proud and happy that she completed the mission.”
During high school, Owen was in the marching band and she served others throughout her middle school and high school years.
“I really love service,” she said. “ ‘When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God’ (Mosiah 2:17).
She was involved in serving at a food bank and a women’s organization called American Legion Auxiliary that supports veterans. Owen also enjoyed two years of Leadership 4-H and hiking the Grand Canyon. Every Tuesday she rode bikes with the middle school kids and participated in the Cochise County cycling race.
“I was not scared to leave my family and friends,” Owen said. “I had a strong desire to serve the Lord and lose myself and find joy and happiness as I am the Lord’s mouthpiece to share the gospel with others, to let them know that God loves them, and He has a plan for them.”