Ready to serve a mission: Responses from around the world

Young Men and Women tell how change in age affected their plans

Compiled by Christine Rappleye Deseret News

Published: Friday, Jan. 4 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

Elder Jordan Guccione, from Kansas, left, and Elder Calvin Donner from Dallas, Texas, study in the stairway on the week of the commemoration of 50 years of language training at the Missionary Training Center for LDS missionaries Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012, in Provo, Utah.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

When President Thomas S. Monson announced the changes in ages for missionaries as 18 years old for young men and 19 years old for young women at general conference last October, it changed the plans of many young men and young women. The number of applications for prospective missionaries initially increased by nearly five times in the weeks after general conference.

Mormon Times asked how the announcement changed the plans and preparations for these prospective missionaries. Here are a few of their responses.

I play volleyball. Last year, I played well enough to get a spot into varsity this year. Now that I can go at 18, I am planning on not playing in varsity and instead getting a job to help pay for my mission.

— Donovan Hunt

When I heard the announcement during general conference, my heart just sang out. All of a sudden goals and studying for preparation for my mission were "amped up." I called my non-member friend from school to tell her about the news. I was so excited and she could hear that in my voice. I don't know if she knew how to take the news, but she said, "Congratulations."

— Laura May Johnson, 17, Geneva 1st Ward, Geneva, Switzerland

Our family is so excited about the age change for the missionaries. We were in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake and when it was announced, our daughter and I began to cry. She would be turning 19 (soon) and she is looking forward to serving a mission after her semester is complete at Utah Valley University.

— Peggy Tetterton, Lehi

One of the first applications was from my granddaughter. She got her papers in four days, and a week later had her call to Chile — wow, that's fast, and she is so excited. Two weeks before that she was deep into college and a mission was the last thing on her mind, so things change quickly. She goes to the MTC a day after her 19th birthday mid-January. Wow.

— Sally Agle, Kenosha, Wis.

Every time I read my patriarchal blessing, the part about a mission stood out most to me. I kept thinking and praying to Heavenly Father, "I'm only 19." The Saturday morning session literally changed my life. As soon as our beloved prophet stood up at the pulpit I knew, I knew that what he was going to say would be the answer to all of my prayers. An unexpected answer but a beautiful, perfect answer nonetheless. I can't wait to serve the Lord. I cannot wait to share the love and light the gospel of Jesus Christ brings. I know the gospel is true. I know the Savior loves each of us. I know that he died for us. And I will carry that with me everywhere, and wherever I go.

— Anna Petrich

My 19-year-old daughter will finish this semester and be gone by spring. Wow.

— David Green, Preston, Idaho

The night before Saturday session, I sat in my room reading my scriptures and just longing for something to change. I had prayed to my Heavenly Father asking him for the strength to be able to continue on for another year and a half to go out to the mission field. It was hard for me because all my girlfriends are older than me; they were either gone on their missions, just about to leave, or getting married … It became very frustrating … The morning of the announcement of age change I received a load of text messages … from all these people asking if I had just heard the announcement! I was crying with joy that I couldn't even text back. I just immediately bowed my head and thanked my Heavenly Father for answering my prayer. The blessings that come if we just endure and trust in God are incredible.

— Gabriela Carvalho, 19

I've always wanted to go on a mission but I wasn't sure how that would work with college and all, but now I know for sure. Mission first and then college. I have two short years to prepare and I can't wait!

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