I am loving General Conference this weekend.

New Ages for Missions!!!

The monumental announcement of the new age boys can serve is now 18.  I have 3 boys, so that will affect me in different ways.  What it might mean is 2 of my boys will be serving simultaneously for a time.  My oldest will be 19 when he graduates from high school, he was planning on going right after school, which is unusual.  But by the time he graduates it may be more the norm.  A year later T2 will graduate and then turn 18, so he would have the choice of leaving then.  Wow!

I wasn’t even thinking about the girls, so when President Monson continued on and announced they were changing the age of when girls can serve to 19 I was amazed.  I felt the spirit and knew it was inspired.  I started crying tears of joy.  My husband and 12 year old were on a plane flying up to Utah for General Confrernce, so it was just me and my 14 year old and 6 year old and they were confused as to why this was such a big deal.  But I really feel like it is!

I am not sure what I really think about the possible meanings of the new age for girls.

  • Does it mean serving a mission is more important than schooling for young woman?
  • Does it mean serving a mission may be more important than an early marriage for a young woman?
  • Will this be a wonderful way to help young women make a successful transition into womanhood as active members of the church?

The answers probably would vary depending on the girl!

How I ended up as a missionary

  • I am an only child.
  • I started going to church with a friend when I was 15 (attended early morning seminary and everything.)
  • I was baptized on my 18th birthday, because my parents wouldn’t let me get baptized so I had to wait.
  • I graduated from college at 21.
  • I had known I was supposed to go on a mission for awhile, but my parents were not supportive, so it took me a very interesting story and time to actually go.
  • I finally left to serve a mission in Bordeaux France when I was 22 1/2.

My mission was life changing for me.

I wouldn’t have been able to serve at 19.  I needed to finish school and be independent of my parents before I could go.  But for many girls with supportive parents, a mission at 19 could be a wonderful option.  I think the important thing to remember is that girls can still go when they are 22, they don’t have to go at 19.  It just adds a whole new group of women.

Regardless of the age a young woman serves, the things she learns can help her as a mother. Obviously you don’t need to serve a mission to be a great mom!  But it helped me.

I am excited more girls will have this opportunity.

What I learned on my mission and how it helps me as a Mom.

1.  Boys are silly and gross.  Before my mission, I was kind of boy crazy and I thought they were ALL wonderful ALL the time.  Remember I am an only child, so I never saw the stinky side of boys.  Let me tell you, I don’t know if it was the food at the MTC, but I experienced more farting than one could ever imagine.  It was a shock.

Imagine the shock of being a wife and mother of boys if I hadn’t learned this.  Instead my boys don’t freak me out that much.

2.  I learned how to live with someone you don’t know at all and you might not choose to live with if you had the choice. (Just so you know, this is Sis. Nagel and she was my favorite companion ever, I would choose to live with her again for sure!)

I did chose my hubby.  But I didn’t get to hand choose my children.  One who shall not be named is not always the easiest person to live with.  But I had learned on my mission how to be a little more patient/understanding and live with challenging people.

3.  I learned how to teach with the Spirit.  On my mission I had the opportunity to teach multiple times a week.  I learned quickly that teaching with the Spirit is the way to go.  Much more effective then on my own.

As a mom, the Spirit is my biggest help to me as I teach my children.  It is the biggest help in pretty much any tough decisions I make regarding my children.

4.  I learned how to deal with frequent changes.  I have always been a very “boring” person.  I get in a routine, I like it and I see no need to change.  Life it good and safe that way.  Well on a mission, you have changes at least every 2 months or so.  A whole new person is dropped into your life, or you get a new person and a new city thrown at you simultaneously.  It wasn’t comfortable or easy, but it helped me to grow.  It  more importantly helped me to learn how to be more open to change.

Mothering is a series of changes. As a mom just as you figure a kid out, he changes.  Or you think, I got this discipline thing down, because xyz worked so well with T1, it will certainly work with the other boys.  Well, NO.  Each of my kids is very unique and I have to learn a new way for them too.

5. I learned how to chill out and relax.  Maybe some people go and learn how to be more disciplined and dedicated.  But since I was the lone convert in my house, I had to stand STRONG AND FIRM.  Which made me a bit rigid.  With support from companions, districts and zones, I didn’t have to stand on my own.  I had support and it helped me to relax and it was good.  (My husband who knew me before my mission agrees wholeheartedly with this.  It was a good thing for me to relax.)

As a mom I sometimes have certain ideas of how I want things to go.  Well, they don’t always go that way.  (Actually they almost never go that way.)  I know that I can chill out and relax on certain things.  That in the end it will be OK.

Did you serve a mission as a young woman?

If you did –

Did you learn things that have helped you as a mom?

If you didn’t –

Do you wish you had?

Do you think you would have if the age was 19 when you were younger?

I am so excited for these new changes. I am not sure what it all “means”, but I know it was inspired of God!

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. I served a mission when I was 19! 😀 It was a “mini” mission and it lasted for 6 weeks. I served in the same area that I lived in, so when I went to my new, temporary, home I already knew one of the Elders in the ward. That was so fun.

    I was dating my now-husband at the time, and during our 6 weeks apart, we both grew spiritually. He is a convert and was already in his chosen profession (and in a fair amount of debt) at the time of his baptism. We met a year later, and he was advised to get married sooner rather than later. While I served on my mini mission, he took great strides forward spiritually and received his temple endowments.

    I gained a stronger testimony. I lost my fear of speaking to strangers. I gained a lot of empathy for other people and matured in many ways. It was a struggle for me to leave my home at that time, because my mom and step-dad weren’t happy I was leaving but allowed me to make my own choices. My family was blessed while I was away.

    I am very grateful for my unique experience. I look forward to the time when my children are older and contemplating this opportunity for themselves. I have three daughters and a son with autism, so I may well not have any missionary children. Or I may have four! Time will tell.

    • enjoybirth Reply

      What a great opportunity. It is amazing how even 6 weeks of a mission made such an impact on not only you but your future husband. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I did not serve as a full-time missionary. I got married a few months before I turned 21. I think I probably would have given a lot more consideration to serving had the age been 19 at the time, and who knows what “might have been?” Serving a mission as a young single woman was not my path. The important lessons I have needed to learn have come to me from other experiences–moving around a lot as a kid, going to high school in the Bible Belt, living with at least 10 different girls I had not met prior to living with in college, etc. I believe that The Lord gives each woman the experiences she needs in life to learn what she needs for her progression, just like how some women have children by natural conception, some by fertility treatment, some by adoption, and some help mother children who are not their own–each woman’s experience bringing children into her life and/or mothering is a significant part of her journey through which she may gain valuable lessons and insights. I know there are a lot of women like me, who married at 19-21, who are probably wishing they’d had the opportunity to serve, but I believe we have all been exactly where we needed to be and where The Lord needed us. The new generation of woman may have different needs and/or the church needs their service in a different way.

    The announcement made me very excited for my children, knowing my daughters are more likely to serve full-time missions and I also realized my son (who is only 2 now!) has one less year to prepare now, and I realized in a way I hadn’t before, that the majority of the responsibility to prepare him is ours.

    • enjoybirth Reply

      Great point!!

      I believe that The Lord gives each woman the experiences she needs in life to learn what she needs for her progression,

      I think that is so true. We all have different paths and the Lord helps us learn along the way. I think it is probably true that this new generation of woman have different needs. I am excited to see how the Lord uses them. 🙂

  3. I did not serve a mission. I thought about it, and prayed about it when I was 21, and the answer was “no.” I am elated with the age changes, but I certainly wasn’t in the right emotional state of mind to have considered it then. Of course, part of that was because I was hung up on a boy who didn’t end up becoming my husband (thank goodness). And I do have depression.

    I am very excited that my daughter (who is only seven months old) may have the opportunity when she’s 19. This will affect my parenting decisions–I want her to be worthy to serve, if that is what she so desires.

    • enjoybirth Reply

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I have heard quite a few moms with girls talk about how it is changing the way they thinking about their daughters futures. Many are now more open to the possibility of their daughters serving missions. 🙂

  4. I served an 18+ month mission and I’m so grateful that I did. Everyday in some way I am affected by that time in my life. I have met women who have expressed a desire that they could have gone too and when they say that I often feel a distinct impression that this person is just as spiritual as they ever would have been had they gone on a “full-time” mission. It is true that God will place experiences in our path to help us grow either way. It can be a hard decision when we are sisters. I know that I really wanted to go but met opposition in some of the people close to me whose opinion really mattered. I gave it extra thought and did not leave right at age 21. I’m so glad I gave it the extra thought. It meant I was home when my brother married and I was able to be in the temple because I was preparing for a mission and received my endowment. What a treasure. God has in his hands and I love that this change will likely increase the number of missionaries. I am excited too because I feel that missionary preparations will step up for young women and men and whether or not a young woman goes she will be all the more prepared to be a member missionary and teach her children. I am ecstatic! I am serving in young women’s right night and already I have heard their excited reactions.

    • enjoybirth Reply

      I have seen the excitement too from the young women! I LOVE it!

  5. I love how you commented that your mission helped you learn to deal with change! I myself was somewhat of a commitment-phobe pre-mission, so remaining committed to missionary service for the entire 18 months was a major challenge for me, as was remaining with a companion and an area for longer than the 6-week change period. I’m so grateful now that I learned to deal with staying in one place – it sure has helped me commit to marriage, and children! 🙂 I do hope that the new 19-year-old option encourages more young women to serve! My own mission was such a blessing!

    • enjoybirth Reply

      Funny how we learned different things from the same thing! 🙂

  6. I totally would have gone at 19. In fact I always used to say that. But by 21 i interested. I think if I had gone when I was interested it would have been great for me. I also think I might have made a better choice the first time about who I married. So I’m glad there are more options now for women.

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