President Monson announced in October (2012) that the age of missionaries was changing to 19 instead of 21. I'm sure my reaction was similar to some of yours. The reaction of my roommates was a collectively breath then an eruption of exclamations. The age change made serving a mission a real possibility. I knew then that I wanted to go on a mission. I have known since I was about 14 that a mission was something I wanted to do. I had gotten to know one of the sister missionaries well and was inspired by her to serve. I have received countless confirmations since that time but as I saw that so many people were going to serve after the announcement, for some reason I wondered if I was going with the crowd or if I really wanted to go myself. This resulted in creating for myself a roller coaster of decisions. One day I would say yes and another it was a definite no. Still other days I thought, maybe not yet, later. Satan has been working hard on filling my mind with doubt and fear, but I finally made a decision. As soon as I did my mom said, "Call the Bishop now before you change your mind again!" I did and instantly felt peace and contentment. I know that I have made the right choice.
I’m grateful for the gospel. I think in wonder sometimes that I have won the lottery in being born into the gospel, especially at a time I can serve. Now I know that I was chosen to come to this time and place before I was born. It was not a random golden ticket. I know that the Holy Ghost is real because I have felt its influence so many times in my life. I have felt its touch when I have seen a view from the top of a mountain, listened to a beautiful rendition of a hymn, or read a book that put into words perfectly what I felt. I have felt it's touch when I have heard words of truth, especially when reading the Book of Mormon and while praying. I have felt its touch on my mind when I have needed to make a decision. It has even placed thoughts into my mind and produced clarity when before my mind was a blur. I have a testimony of Jesus Christ. I know that he came to this earth and lived a perfect life. He gave us an example that influenced the entire world. He suffered for my sins and pains. He chose to die on Calvary and follow His father’s commands. I know that the Heavenly Father lives and loves me. He watches over me and has, through the Holy Ghost, expressed his love for me. I reciprocate that love now by making the decision to serve his will on a mission.
I know Joseph Smith received a vision at age 14 that changed the world. He saw God and the son. He restored the fullness of the gospel that Jesus had taught in his lifetime. He sacrificed his whole life to bring about the church and was selfless in every aspect of his life. The gospel did not die with him, but continued on with Brigham Young. The saints sacrificed far more than I would be able to in order to build up God’s kingdom. The restoration is pure truth. God reveals his word through Thomas S. Monson today and directs His church through him. I know God lives and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share this knowledge with the people I meet in my life.