At Saturday's morning session, the first speaker was President Monson. Right off the bat he made this wonderful announcement:
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. . . .
As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.
We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty—and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable to respond to the call to serve. Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome their service.
Read, watch, or listen to the entire talk.
Shortly after this talk, Eric prayerfully decided to forgo the 2nd semester of his freshman year at BYU, and instead, make himself available to serve as a missionary. Eric will be 19 next April.
His papers are in and now we are awaiting that all important white envelope in the mail assigning him to his missionary duties somewhere in this big, wide world of ours.