Trabuco Canyon twin sisters, together in spirit, embark on separate missions
BY MARIE EKBERG PADILLA / CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Published: Aug. 20, 2014 Updated: 1:17 p.m.
Trabuco Canyon sisters Madison and Megan Mittleman are closer than most siblings.
Not only are they identical twins, they are best friends, roommates at Brigham Young University and are never far apart to offer each other support, they said.
The sisters have been called to go on missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Megan left for Santiago, Chile, last week and Madison is taking off for Berlin next week.
For 18 months, the twins will live on different continents, and they are allowed to call home only on Christmas and Mother’s Day, in addition to sending weekly email updates.
“We are really close to each other so it will definitely be different not seeing Megan all the time, and even knowing that she is many miles away will be weird,” Madison said. “It is comforting, however, to know that we will both be serving as missionaries, having similar lifestyles, despite being in different parts of the world.”
The longest the sisters have been apart is three weeks when Madison did a student exchange program in Germany last summer.
“That was hard enough,” Megan said. “But it’s comforting to know both of us will be dedicating our lives to serving others. It will be a great time for us to experience our own adventures and grow on our own.”
Their mother, Valerie, said the girls’ departure is bittersweet.
“Their personalities are so great, so kind and so nice, and I’ll miss having that around,” she said. “But it brings me peace and comfort knowing they are helping others.”
Their mission will also prepare them to be better moms, wives, daughters and friends, she said.
“It’s a way to grow individually and people will get to know them individually,” she said.
The girls don’t seem to be worried about the restricted contact with family and friends.
“I think that having limited contact with home is the perfect way to keep missionaries feeling supported and updated somewhat but not distracted or deterred from their work,” Madison said. “Missionaries’ full focus should be on those who they are serving.”
The Mittleman twins, who belong to the Las Flores ward, are two of 19 missionaries this year who have been sent out from the Mission Viejo stake to spread the Gospel around the world. The stake currently has 77 missionaries around the world.
Going on a mission is voluntary in the Mormon church. Anyone who chooses to go on a mission needs to turn in an application to church headquarters and then receives a call with their destination, chosen by the church. The twins ended up with mission calls to “very fitting” destinations based on their experiences and language skills, their mom said.
Megan studied Spanish in high school and college. She has never been to Chile before but went on a two-week humanitarian trip to Peru in 2012. Madison studied German in high school and college.
“I actually really love German and I’m stoked I’ll be culturally immersed,” Madison said. “My main goal is to invite as many people as I can to come unto Jesus Christ and see him as their personal savior and help them realize their potential as a child of our loving God.”
Megan agreed, saying service brings about change in people.
“I think I will be happy with the change I see in those I meet and teach and the change in myself,” she said. “This life is a gift and I know when we serve others we experience true joy.”