It is especially exciting when members from a particular area are able to serve in that area. This is an important step, I believe, In creating an independent stake of Zion, whose leadership (both male and female) stems from the local congregation.
I saw this on my mission and it produced some very strong members who could influence those around them in very positive ways.
I agree with you Dbackers, however in this particular case is a little different. The West Indies Mission never had sister missionaries before for one main reason: Safety. The safety issue hasn't changed.
Discussion related to Mormon Missionaries being jailed for lack of Immigration papers can be seen here: Source 8
Some changes are happening for the West Indies Mission. Along with 14 other missions, they will be combined.
The Puerto Rico San Juan East Mission with the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission, Puerto Rico San Juan West Mission, and the West Indies Mission. The name of the Puerto Rico San Juan West Mission will be changed to the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission.
The new mission President over the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission will be Jorge M. Alvarado (an Area Seventy). He will be serving from July 2010 to June 2013.
I know that the two current mission presidents over the Puerto Rico East and West Mission will be finishing their missions by June/July so as soon as they're released, brother Alvarado will become the new Mission President.
However, I still trying to figure out what will happen with Claude Gamiette (current mission President over the West Indies Mission) who has been in the mission less than a year. Maybe he will serve over another mission? (new assignment?). I did not see his name on the list of Mission Presidents for 2010.
Not enough progress I guess. Someone posed a question on why this possibly happened and I answered here: Source 8 If I compare history we have stepped back about two decades with that move, but I can't say I'm surprised.
According to one of my sources, the West Indies Mission did not cease to exist. President Gamiette (current West Indies Mission President) will have one additional country including the ones he currently presides over.
I got a reply from the Church News concerning the West Indies Mission. This is their reply:
Comments: I heard there are sister missionaries in the West Indies Mission but they're older sisters and they work in the mission office (for what I was told). I also head the few ones they have in the mission are locals but I just checked a site where I'm seeing a whole bunch of young sister missionaries coming to the West Indies Mission in a couple of months and I'm really concerned. I just came from a short vacation to St. Lucia where two young British girls were gang raped, I also heard many creepy stories about safety in Barbados and in Trinidad. So why did the Church decide to take young, blonde, blue-eye sister missionaries to such dangerous place like the West Indies Mission? It makes no sense to me!