President Monson just barely said: “First, to young men of the Aaronic Priesthood and to you young men who are becoming elders: I repeat what prophets have long taught—that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary. Keep yourselves clean and pure and worthy to represent the Lord. Maintain your health and strength. Study the scriptures. Where such is available, participate in seminary or institute. Familiarize yourself with the missionary handbook Preach My Gospel."
I love these words from Richard G. Scott: “Satan’s increasing influence in the world is allowed to provide an atmosphere in which to prove ourselves. While he causes havoc today, Satan’s final destiny was fixed by Jesus Christ through His Atonement and Resurrection. The devil will not triumph. Even now he must operate within bounds set by the Lord. He cannot take away any blessing that has been earned. He cannot alter character that has been woven from righteous decisions. He has no power to destroy the eternal bonds forged in a holy temple between a husband, wife, and children. He cannot quench true faith. He cannot take away your testimony. Yes, these things can be lost by succumbing to his temptations. But he has no power in and of himself to destroy them.”
At our regional conference this past weekend, Elder David Evans of the 70 talked about young men preparing to serve missions. He said something powerful. "Everything good in my life can be traced to my decision to serve the Lord on a mission. All of my greatest blessings - my family, my church service and my best friends have come as a result of that service."
A friend was just asking me what creates the perfect environment for a young man to be prepared to serve a mission at the age of 19. I told her that it is a combination of things. 1. It's the young man knowing that it is a commandment from the Lord through His prophet. 2. It's his desire to be obedient. 3. It's his complete understanding of how much Satan doesn't want him to do it and the attacks and temptations that preparing to serve will bring. 4. It's having faith that Satan cannot stop him or hurt him if he is committed to it, because the power of God is stronger than Satan's influence. 5. And it's an absolute knowledge that serving a mission will bless his life in ways he will never be able to duplicate.
Since talking to her, I have also been thinking about a number 6 I need to add to that list. 6. It's having great young men leaders and a ward that believe in you and prod and encourage you along every step of the way from age 12 - 19. What immediately comes to mind is the night Dallin finished reading the Book of Mormon for his Duty to God award, and how he didn't hesitate to phone his young men's president and bishop at 2 o'clock in the morning to tell them because he was so excited and knew they would be too. I think of all the scout camps and lessons and service projects that led to his decision to go on a fulltime mission, and I know that Dallin would agree with me; The Big Canyon Ward ROCKS!!!