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In preparation for our upcoming General Conference in a couple weeks I’ve decided to re-listen to all of the talks from October’s conference.  I haven’t made it very far – I only just finished the second talk from the Saturday morning session.  Yesterday though I started by listening to President Monson’s opening remarks where he lowered the missionary age for young men and young women.  While I really have come to peace with the timing of that announcement, I still get extremely choked up when I hear anything in relation to that announcement.  I’m so excited for the young people who can now go on missions at earlier ages, and especially for the young women who might not have had a chance to serve under the previous standards.

As I was listening to this talk and thinking about it an interesting thought came to my mind.  I think that one of the best decisions I made in my life was the decision to *prepare* to serve a mission.  Obviously I never had the opportunity to make use of that preparation and actually serve a full time mission, however one of my main focuses in my growing up life was that of being ready to serve a mission.  That preparation has not gone to waste in the slightest.  Preparing to serve a mission meant my focus was on the temple, learning to teach others, improving my scripture study, serving in the church etc.  I use the skills I worked on during that time every day as I raise my children, serve in the church, work outside of the home, and make friends.  I’m grateful for the time that I spent in mission prep classes learning how to work with a companion – I have a companion now who I’m stuck with for eternity.  I’m grateful that I built up a strong foundation upon the basic principles of the gospel by going to gospel principles classes and helping me to understand that for all the different parts of the gospel that you could focus on – the gospel itself is actually extraordinarily simple.

After this thought I realized that I’m excited for all the young women who will get a chance to serve missions, but more importantly, I’m excited for all the young women who will now be encouraged to more diligently prepare to serve missions.  What an incredible strength these upcoming young women will be in the church in all that they do.