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A graduate of North Middlesex High School, Chidester has been attending college at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where she is majoring in sociology with a minor in political science. She has been spending the past few months as an intern with the Mitt Romney for President Campaign. After her mission, she plans to finish her degree and then work in Washington, D.C.

As a missionary for the church, Chidester will put her own interests on hold as she serves in Chile.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “I look forward to this opportunity to share the happiness I feel in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am happy to be serving and having a chance to plant seeds of the gospel in the hearts of the people of Chile.”

Church leaders and Latter-day Saint parents encourage children and young people to be spiritually, physically and financially ready for a mission. Young Latter-day Saints cannot simply decide to be missionaries and head for their favorite part of the world. Male candidates must be at least 19, females at least 21, and demonstrate that they are worthy to serve — a result of adherence to a moral life and other church standards, including devotion to Jesus Christ. They also must be willing to serve wherever they are sent.

Chidester said she was very excited when she learned she was to go to Chile.

“Growing up, I never planned a mission in my future,” she said. “My three brothers have gone on missions. Matthew was assigned to the Dallas, Texas, mission. Michael served in Mexico City and Brian is now serving in Sacramento, Calif. I think I received the prime location.”

She said she decided to undertake a mission after taking a religion class called “Teachings of Latter-day Prophets.”

“When I turned in my application for a mission, I was hoping to leave everything behind and immerse myself in a different culture,” Chidester said. “I joked about washing my clothes in a river and living off the land. The instructions in my letter said to bring only hand-washable clothes, so I may get my wish.”

Chidester will be serving in several rural areas in the central valley or heartland of Chile. Industry, agriculture and most of the nation’s population are concentrated in the region. There are 543,628 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile, which has the fastest growing church membership in South America. Membership in the church has doubled in the past decade.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian religion and operates nearly 350 missions around the world. Currently, more than 50,000 Latter-day Saints are serving proselytizing missions worldwide — teaching the gospel and engaging in community service.

Chidester is a member of the Littleton Ward, which serves Townsend, Pepperell, Groton, Littleton and several surrounding towns. She also attends the Heritage Park Ward, a congregation created specifically for young single adults that meets on Sundays in Lowell at 421 Princeton Boulevard. Services begin at 1 p.m. and visitors age 18-30 are warmly welcome.