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LDS missionary age change allows Alabama brothers to serve at same time

By Cathy Lim

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 15 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

Brothers Brady, left, and Kirby Fausnaught received their endowments at the same time Dec. 27, 2012, in the Birmingham Alabama Temple. Because of the LDS Church's missionary age change, the two brothers, separated by 11½ months, will serve their missions at almost the same time.

Provided by April Fausnaught

April Fausnaught used to say that her third child just couldn’t wait to be with his older brother — he was born only 11 months after him. It seems to be an accurate assessment: the two boys in the middle of Fausnaught's family have done everything together over the years.

Now, thanks to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' policy change regarding the minimum age young men can serve as missionaries, Brady Fausnaught is again following closely in his older brother Kirby Fausnaught’s footsteps. Kirby entered the Missionary Training Center on Jan. 2, and Brady will go in March 27.

Kirby turned 19 on Sept. 26, 2012, and he received his mission call Aug. 31 — he’ll be serving in the Russia St. Petersburg Mission. Immediately afterward, he went back for a third semester at BYU-Idaho.

Brady turned 18 just days after Kirby received his call, on Sept. 4. Then, a month afterward, LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson made his news-making announcement in general conference: “I am pleased to announce that effective immediately all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent ... will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19.”

Kirby text-messaged his younger brother as soon as he heard the news; Brady didn’t hear it right away because he was providing service at a local church where the family lives in Weaver, Ala. But the text from Kirby followed on the heels of a text from Brady’s bishop, Sid Kooyman. Brady was in the bishop’s office “about an hour” after the announcement, he said. Within the week, his papers were on their way to Salt Lake City.

A month later, the Fausnaught family gathered to open a second mission call. This letter called Brady to the Adriatic North Mission, which covers the countries Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As with many prospective Mormon missionaries, friends and family tried to guess where the two brothers would go. Kirby said he expected to serve in South America, but Bishop Kooyman actually guessed he would go to Russia.

No one guessed correctly where Brady would go; even after reading his call, he still didn’t know exactly where he was going to spend two years of his life. “At first I looked at it and I had no idea where it was. I was kinda like, ‘Yay?’ I Googled real fast. I looked at pictures and said, ‘Wow, this place looks awesome.’ I got excited really quickly about it.”

The two brothers say that Brady always was trying to “keep up with” Kirby. In a testimony meeting in the Anniston Alabama Ward right after Kirby received his mission call, Kirby bore his testimony, and Brady followed. As Kirby related, Brady said, “I’ve been trying to keep up with Kirby all my life, so when he learned to tie his shoes, I learned the same day.” Brady remembered saying, “(Kirby’s) leaving, but there’s no way I can catch up this time.”

He was happily surprised to be proven wrong. Brady said, “The next month, it was announced that I could (catch up).” As their mother said, “ The timing of everything is really, really cool.”

The change not only allows the brothers to serve almost simultaneously, but it means they won’t be apart for nearly as long. Had Brady waited until he was 19, the two likely wouldn’t have seen each other for 3½ to four years. Now, their time apart will be just a little more than two years.

The past couple of months have been a whirlwind of preparation for the whole family. Kirby enrolled in Russian when he returned to BYU-Idaho, allowing him to get a taste for his new language.

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