Monday, March 11, 2013

How I know the number of missionaries is increasing

In last October’s conference came the announcement of reduced eligibility ages for full time missionary service for young men and young women. And it’s clear that the number of applications and calls are increasing. I don’t need the news reports to tell me that. And I don’t even need my daughter’s reports of increasing numbers in her mission. I just need to look at my own blog’s statistics.

My top post in the last two months is this one, which I published last year in July when my daughter entered the mission field. For quite some time, one of the top Google searches that brings people to my blog is the phrase “missionary letters” or the question “What should I write to missionaries?”

It’s awesome to me that so many are choosing to serve. And it’s awesome to me that so many are choosing to write to those who serve.

I’m hopeful that these new missionaries are as prepared as they are eager to serve, and I have no reason to doubt that they are prepared. Certainly the fine elders we see in our ward each Sunday are well prepared. They are working hard, and their efforts are showing in the success in the work in our ward. They were in our home last night and did all the things you hope good missionaries will do.

Our missionary daughter has nothing but excellent things to report about the missionaries in her mission, as well. (In fairness, our daughter is exceptionally positive, so I’m not sure we’d hear about it even if the missionaries she knew were total slugs. But still I want to believe her that the missionaries she knows are as awesome as she says they are.)

Personally I do have some concerns about the lower ages for service. For me, my year away from home between high school and my mission was really helpful in my maturing process, and in helping me to make the decision to serve. (I was at BYU and was surrounded by other young men who were also making that decision and preparing to serve.) I recognize, however, that not every young man goes to BYU, and we likely lose some (maybe many) who have that post high school year to become more distracted from serving.

Of more concern to me is if 18 becomes the new 19 for young men. My understanding is that young men may serve at 18, but so far there is no official push to have them serve at that age. I’m not a big fan of social pressure to serve, and I believe the best missionaries are those who serve when they are ready, not when they are socially pressured to go. I doubt anyone sets out to apply social pressure, either, but we know that happens at church.

I’m less worried about sisters. In fact, I think it’s awesome that sisters can serve earlier, making a mission service more likely (or so the surge in sisters would suggest). As many have written, sister missionaries bring a lot to the missionary effort, and mission service is likely to bring a lot to the sisters, as well.

I welcome the expanding ranks of missionaries. I welcome the creative solutions to deal with increased needs for training, increased numbers of missions, and increased numbers of letters to missionaries (including those who seek advice from my blog!).

BTW: You can read my latest post at Real Intent, "God's Greatest Hits: Moses v. Satan," here.


  1. Yes I also notice it that the number of missionaries, volunteers are increasing I we can't help it they love sharing the Gospel if the LORD.

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  2. It's really exciting to see the growth in numbers of missionaries. I share your hope that men won't feel pressured to go at 18 but simply see it as expanding their options. So far it seems like the elders I've seen go haven't really been rushed. It's hard to tell that though since the announcement was just in October and most young men turn 18 during their senior year. Will be interesting to see if there is a big wave in June when high school graduation happens. After watching this for a few months now, I kind of wish they would have just kept the age at 19 for both elders and sisters but we'll have to see how it all plays out. (P.S. My nephew just entered the MTC, just a little earlier than planned. He will be 19 next month).

    1. We have a nephew headed for Porto Allegre Brazil who is now in the Provo MTC. They have six missionaries sharing their four-man room! Yikes! (I don't know how they do that. Do they stack up another bunk bed or squeeze them in some other way?)

  3. Its so much overwhelming to see the increasing of our missionaries around the Globe and take note it still increasing. Thanks God for all the blessing he showered us.

    God Bless!