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Preparing their children, youths to serve

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The announcement about the change in missionary age has not only affected thousands of young men and young women, but their parents and leaders as well, as they now have a different time frame to help prepare them. Mormon Times asked how the announcement change has impacted parents and youth leaders. Here are some of their responses:

I am thrilled. We have two boys and two girls, and we expect that they all will choose to serve now. We always talk about missions because Mommy and Daddy both served, and we know how profoundly a mission changes lives. We have been saving for all the kids but will need to put more effort into it since we expect to have two out at once! We also think this amazing announcement will produce stronger marriages because more couples will have learned how to deal with a variety of people and become less selfish as they learn to serve. SO EXCITING!

— Terri Turnbull Edstrom

I am a mother who has a son in the MTC during general conference. When I heard the news about the change, I began calling my daughter who has been planning to go on her mission since she was 6. She is 20 and had already started her paperwork.

Well, on Monday (after conference) she had her medical appointment and Thursday (she went to the) dentist. On Sunday, she gave the paperwork to her branch president and (was) interviewed by the stake president (within the week).

She could actually come home before her brother who is serving in Alaska. We are so excited for the change and feel and see the Lord's hands in our lives. Our daughter will be the first sister missionary in our families.

— Diane Dyer, Walla Walla, Wash.

I felt the weight of the age change the moment President Monson made the announcement. Our oldest daughter, Elizabeth, now 17, would be going on a mission. She knew it, too, and was in tears just like I was. With an age requirement of 21 serving was still kind of just out there for her — still far enough off and who knew if she'd even be around by then?

The announcement left her praying for direction to know whether she should serve. To which she said her answer came as, "It's a mission. Of course you should." I think she also used the word "duh." Now she is deciding whether she'll go to school for the year between high school and her mission, or stay home to work and earn the money for her mission and future college.

We are excited for her and to have a missionary in our family so soon (our oldest son is only 5). She is excited that a mission is a reality now.

— Maryhelen Freeman, Caldwell, Idaho

One of my young women just had her interview with the stake president and is now waiting for her mission call. After all these years that we thought (as she told us anyway) that she would only go on her mission if she didn't get married by then. But since the big announcement she decided to go on her mission and everything. I can never be more proud of her!

— Mink Mackley

We could very possibly have all three sons out on mission's at he same time! Very exciting.

— Angela Manning

I'm a Temple Square returned missionary now with five little girls and hoping that I will get to see at least one of my babies serve! I am VERY excited about the thought of not having to wait until they are 21 to go!

— Lorena Romero Wright, Salt Lake City

It's very exciting news (as) I have a 16-year-old and twins that are 14. They are much closer to serving our Heavenly Father.

— Silvana de Souza-Crawford Herriman, Utah

I teach Sunday School in my ward to the 16- and 17-year-olds. I took a quick poll on Sunday (after general conference) — five of the six young women in my class stated that they now are seriously considering a mission. Prior to President Monson's announcement, only one of the six was seriously considering it. Amazing change!

— Damon Murphy, El Paso, Texas

My son turned 18 in May, is enrolled at BYU-Idaho and planned to finish a full year of college before serving his mission. He planned to put his papers in in February or March so as to be ready in May. After hearing the age change, he decided he wanted to be among the first to go and has started his papers even though he has scholarships that cover his entire tuition for next semester. He wants to go NOW. He has been champing at the bit to serve a mission since he was 15, so he could not be happier that the age has been changed.

— Sandie Graham

My 9-year-old daughter jumped off the couch yelling "Yes!" It has always been her dream to be a missionary, and with the age lowered she feels closer to that dream.

— Leah Crow, Anchorage, Alaska

My daughter is 18 years old, and when she heard about the change about the ages of the mission, she felt happy, because she is now preparing for a mission the next year. I am proud of her.

— Francisca Cruz