In the 2012 October General Conference, Thomas S. Monson made an exciting announcement lowering the minimum age requirement of elders to 18 (previously 19) and sisters to 19 (previously 21) https://www.lds.org/youth/video/welcome-to-conference?lang=eng. Having already turned 19 in May, I had the opportunity to begin on my papers immediately. So, I began the process of filling out the paperwork. I met with my bishop, stake president, doctor, and dentist, and turned in my complete application to the Church office within a couple weeks. Two weeks after that, on November 14, I was mentally absent from every one of my classes as I waited for the mail lady to deliver my big white envelope. After several agonizing hours waiting for the previously appointed time and setting up a group Skype call to my available family members, I was finally able to find out where I was being sent. After dealing with the minor issue of actually opening the envelope, I read my call aloud.
“Dear Sister Karson: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Virginia Richmond Mission…You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language.”
I thought that I would be disappointed not to serve my mission in some exotic land somewhere that I needed a map to find, but as soon as I read my call aloud, I was filled with the peace of knowing that I was going to the right place, at the right time. The Lord doesn’t make mistakes. He loves His children all over the world, including the United States. I will be one of the first 19 year-old sister missionaries to serve a full-time mission. I am so excited to share the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ with every person I meet in Virginia! I’ve been blessed with a tremendous opportunity to give 18 months of my life back to the Lord. I’m sure I will have many new and exciting experiences while on my mission, and I cannot wait.