In October of last year, I was sitting in my living room streaming the most recent General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on my phone. President Thomas S. Monson had just gotten up to speak and I silenced my son as a awaited what he was going to say. It was after a few minutes that he said these words,
“For some time the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have allowed young men from certain countries to serve at the age of 18 when they are worthy, able, have graduated from high school, and have expressed a sincere desire to serve. This has been a country-specific policy and has allowed thousands of young men to serve honorable missions and also fulfill required military obligations and educational opportunities.
Our experience with these 18-year-old missionaries has been positive. Their mission presidents report that they are obedient, faithful, mature, and serve just as competently as do the older missionaries who serve in the same missions. Their faithfulness, obedience, and maturity have caused us to desire the same option of earlier missionary service for all young men, regardless of the country from which they come.
I am pleased to announce that effective immediately all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19.”
I was floored. What a wonderful and magnificent announcement! Of course my siblings started texting me right away, making sure that I was watching and that I had heard correctly. We all new what a wonderful thing this was for the Church, for the world, and most importantly for our family. We all knew that our baby brother would be answering the call.
Our baby brother Jacob has always wanted to serve a mission-for as long as I could remember anyways. He has always drawn close to the Lord and always wanted-more than anything- to serve him in any capacity possible. So when the Lord saw fit to call all able worthy 18 year old men to the field, my brother was ready and willing to have those papers in the very next day.
For the last six months, we have been there-in person or over the phone-encouraging him and uplifting him in this decision. We couldn’t be more proud of the choice that he is making to serve the Lord full time as one of his blessed servants. He has asked me to write this blog in order to share the gospel and our testimonies with friends and family; he wants others to follow his example as he departs to reap in the glorious and fruitful harvest that has been placed upon us.
“For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul”