Age adjustments, phone calls and answered prayers
October 13, 2012 3 Comments
Anyone who follows me on Twitter (@LDSTroy) or my blog knows that I love to tweet during General Conference (#LDSConf). I admit, with some nerdy embarrassment, that I have been a part of the #TwitterStake since its beginning. Not only is it a way for me to take notes but I get to see everyone else’s notes. There are more “notes” than anyone could ever read but at the very least, it keeps me awake and alert through all of conference.
So when Conference started and President Thomas S. Monson offered his opening remarks, I was listening and tweeting – for a few seconds. When his comments switched to missionary work and the age adjustment for both young men (18) and young women (19), I was stunned.
Jill was in tears in the kitchen and before President Monson could get to the adjustment for the young woman, my cell started ringing – it was our 18 year old son, Christian, calling from BYU-Idaho.
I need to explain here that back in August, Christian was…well, driving us crazy. He had been having a great summer. Our stake had returned from a very spiritual pioneer trek in which Christian may have had the spiritual experience of his life. Not only was he a Youth Trek Leader he was interviewed, on the trail, by a counselor in the Stake Presidency to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. Because our entire family was there, he was sustained and ordained an “Elder” in the culminating meeting of the Trek; out there among his friends, the trees and all of nature. It was awesome.
He was also teaching with our local missionaries and preparing to go to BYU-Idaho. But for some reason he was just in a bad mood. He was short with his mother and somewhat mean to his brother. Jill and I finally sat him down to figure out what was going on. “I just want to leave on my mission now,” he explained. He felt that everything was on hold and he wanted to go serve now. We explained that there were no other options; he couldn’t go before he turned 19. He was inexplicably focused on going “now” and acted like there was something we could do, some strings we could pull, to allow him to go early. He finally conceded but said it was “stupid.” I remember thinking, “Well call the prophet and see what he says.”
Now Christian was calling seconds after President Monson gave the green-light to 18 year olds. “I’m going! I’m going!” was all I heard. I tried to settle him down and tell him we needed to discuss it further but he didn’t hear a word I said and was off the phone adjusting plans. He called back as soon as there was an “amen” at the end of the first session of conference. “Sorry Dad, I know you wanted to talk about it but I already have an interview with my bishop to start my papers.” What could I say? Clearly, the idea of going early was planted in Christian’s heart long before the announcement.
I can’t express my excitement at the age adjustment; not only for Christian, but for all our youth and particularly, our young women. The increase in the “Lord’s Army” numbers will be dramatic. I was privileged to be in a meeting with Elder Dallin H. Oaks several years ago when he was asked about missionary work in China. He commented that as a church, we had made important inroads with the government that would someday lead to the opening of China but he quickly said, “…but we, as a Church, are not ready.” He explained that we needed to triple the amount of missionaries in order for the work to enter China. I can’t help feel that this is the beginning of the amassing of a huge army to enter ALL the world.
As I was preparing for lessons this week, I came across these verses in Matthew 9:
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
I believe that President Monson’s announcement was, at least in part, an answer to Jesus’ prayer. So many in our world are lost and have no shepherd. Truly, there are so many with so few laborers. But now, the laborers, or missionaries will be many. Christian will be one of those who will enlist earlier than planned. We couldn’t be more (properly) proud.
What a blessing to be alive and part of, even in a small way, the greatest work in history.