Athletic sister missionaries and the return of Will Hopoate

A few weeks ago I wrote an article for the Deseret News about Jessica Chatman’s decision to delay her college basketball career and serve an 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The article also examined the impact that the mission age change is having on female college sports.

In response to the article, I received an email from a man named David Peterson. His message included a link to an article that features two Latter-day Saint soccer players leaving their respective sport to serve missions. The article was published in Rebel Yell, UNLV’s student newspaper last April. 

Since then forward/midfielder Alexis Peterson (Peterson’s daughter), was called to serve in Little Rock, Ark. Her teammate, defender Alyssa Meinzer, was called to Cauayan, Philippines. Peterson is from Bountiful, Utah, and Meinzer is from Cedar Hills.

Alexis Peterson (left) will serve her mission in Little Rock, Ark. and Alyssa Meinzer (right) will head to Cauayan in the Philippines for her mission. Photos by Daniel Ward/The Rebel Yell

Alexis Peterson (left) will serve her mission in Little Rock, Ark. and Alyssa Meinzer (right) will head to Cauayan in the Philippines for her mission. (Photos by Daniel Ward/The Rebel Yell)

Peterson, 19, made the decision to go following the 2012-2013 season, according to the article.

“I had some spiritual experiences that were really touching,” Peterson told writer Jamie Evan Bichelman. “I felt as if the Lord was speaking to me, saying that I need to go. I kind of tried to deny if for a long time, and I kept getting confirmation that’s what I should do.”

According to David Peterson’s email, several people stepped in to help explain the dynamics of serving a mission to the UNLV soccer coaches.

“We … had them call BYU coaches and Dave Rice (UNLV’s men’s basketball coach) so they understood what a mission means,” David Peterson said. “(They were) totally supportive and have told her (Alexis) that her scholarship is still there when she gets home.”

As these two sister missionaries depart, another famous LDS athlete is about to return home.

Australian rugby star Will Hopoate has one week left in his mission, according to an article by Margie McDonald of The Australian. Hopoate, featured in a Mormon Message, has been serving in Brisbane.

Door-knocking: Will Hopoate will be door-knocking during the Origin decider. (Derrick Tonkin/The Daily Telegraph)

Door-knocking: Will Hopoate will be door-knocking during the Origin decider. (Derrick Tonkin/The Daily Telegraph)

The article also states that his team, Parramatta, has been sending trainers to Brisbane to check on the fitness progress of the 21-year-old.

Elder Will Hopoate in Brisbane, where he trained with Parramatta Eels coaching staff last week. (Daily Telegraph)

Elder Will Hopoate in Brisbane, where he trained with Parramatta Eels coaching staff last week. (Daily Telegraph)

“Every session we’ve had has been exceptional. There is nothing there to suggest that he wasn’t committed to the cause,” Parramatta trainer Ciriaco Mescia told news.com.au.

Hopoate is expected to begin training with the Eels on Nov. 7.

 

 

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