Among the 65,000 Mormon missionaries worldwide, who all work in pairs, one companionship has the unique distinction of both young men going by the name “Elder Whippy.”
Elder Joshua Whippy and Elder Jared Whippy, twin brothers from Fiji, have been assigned to be missionary companions in the island nation of Kiribati.
“We love being companions” said Elder Joshua Whippy. “In many ways it makes things easier because we already know what the other is thinking and what he is going to say. It also makes decision making easier.”
Young Latter-day Saint men ages 18 to 25 are called to serve missions all over the world, easily recognizable in suits, white shirts and ties. Thousands of young Mormon women and retired senior couples also serve as missionaries.
During their growing up years the brothers Whippy were always closely connected. Both loving and excelling at rugby, they received rugby scholarships. They have always played on the same teams.
They attended high school together (Church College of New Zealand), and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, USA.
Jared submitted his missionary application papers a month before Joshua. Surprisingly, both of them received their calls to the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission, which also includes Kiribati.
Jared’s first assignment was in Buota Branch, Kiribati; on the main island South Tarawa. After six weeks he was transferred to Marakei.
Joshua’s first assignment was on the outer island of Aranuka, Kiribati. After six months they both received transfers to serve on South Tarawa.
“We hoped that one day we would be able to see each other,” one says. “In April of 2013 we learned that we would be companions. We were so excited to know we would be together again.”
As they head off to their next appointment, it is obvious that their enthusiasm and example of Christ-like, selfless service will touch many lives in Kiribati.