Featured Story

Canadian Missionary in New Zealand Writes About Her Duke of Edinburgh Award

"I have come to truly feel Christ’s love and concern for all the people of the world"

The following post was written by Sister Carmen Olson, a young Canadian currently serving an 18 months mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the New Zealand Wellington Mission.

I began my work on the Duke of Edinburgh award when I was fourteen years old and living in Canada. At first it was quite easy to accomplish because the beginning levels of the award fit neatly into my lifestyle. As I progressed through the award, however, I had to dedicate more time to it and make a special effort to meet the increasingly demanding criteria of the higher levels within the award.


The most difficult part of the award was staying committed to a three year program. While I was working on the Gold level of the award, I remember being quite frustrated as I tried to balance my time between school, extracurriculars, church, and the award.

While I knew that completing the award would ultimately be worthwhile, I struggled to see the long term importance of pushing myself to complete it. It wasn’t until I relied on Christ and had faith that he wanted me to succeed in all aspects of my life that I was able to complete the award. I was surprised at how much divine help I received in what seemed to be such a secular part of my life.

My favourite part of the award was being able to lose myself in the service of others. I was privileged to be able to travel to Kenya and volunteer for two weeks in a village school. There I felt true charity (the pure love of Christ) for those that I met and served. I was able to see them all as children of our Heavenly Parents and feel their deep and abiding concern and love for them. It was there, where I learned how to find joy in serving others.

Because of this experience, I was motivated to serve as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am now serving in the New Zealand Wellington Mission and continuing to grow and find joy through serving others. I have come to truly feel Christ’s love and concern for all the people of the world and I have learned about and built relationships with the many people and cultures found throughout New Zealand.

Before my mission, I didn’t understand how correlated the Duke of Edinburgh Award and missionary work was. Throughout my service as a full time missionary, I have seen that the objectives of the Award and missionary work are very similar. The Duke of Edinburgh Award “equips young people for life regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills and interests. Doing the Award is a personal challenge and not a competition against others; it pushes young people to their personal limits and recognises their achievements.” (https://www.intaward.org/about-the-award)

As a missionary my purpose is to invite all people, “regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills and interests” to continue to grow and progress to become who their Heavenly Father wants them to become. Through sharing messages about Jesus Christ I am pushed to recognize my own divine identity and I am privileged to witness others do the same. This is only possible because of and through Jesus Christ. It is a miraculous thing to witness, in yourself and in others, the enabling power of Christ and how much is truly possible through faith in the Son of God.


Missionaries are to help all people come unto Christ and one of the ways we do this is through service. I have had the opportunity to participate in many community service projects, as well as service for individuals. As I get to serve as Christ served, I have come to know Him. I have a testimony of His love for all of God’s children. I know that He lives and that He is individually and perfectly aware of each and everyone one of us.

It is because of this, that through Him, we are all able to accomplish our righteous goals. For it is through Him that I was able to complete the award and that I am able to continue to complete challenging experiences, such as my full time missionary service.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.