Finding Strength Beyond My Own – Lord I Would Follow Thee

Dear Family and Friends,
Since I corresponded last week, I have fallen to my 布団 (bed) and slept a lot! But the Lord continues to pour blessing upon me and my brethren in Hodogaya. Despite being sick, I’ve been strengthened enough to make it to 8 lesson appointments and them come back home and crash. Being sick has caused me to reflect a lot on time. What do we do with our time? What are our priorities?
On Tuesday I looked down at the date, it was October 6, 2014. In America it was still October 5, 2014. Two years prior I made a great decision that has changed my life forever.
Here is a excerpt from a talk I listened to that day. It is by our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson.
“For some time the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have allowed young men from certain countries to serve at the age of 18 when they are worthy, able, have graduated from high school, and have expressed a sincere desire to serve. This has been a country-specific policy and has allowed thousands of young men to serve honorable missions and also fulfill required military obligations and educational opportunities.
Our experience with these 18-year-old missionaries has been positive. Their mission presidents report that they are obedient, faithful, mature, and serve just as competently as do the older missionaries who serve in the same missions. Their faithfulness, obedience, and maturity have caused us to desire the same option of earlier missionary service for all young men, regardless of the country from which they come.
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. I am not suggesting that all young men will–or should–serve at this earlier age. Rather, based on individual circumstances as well as upon a determination by priesthood leaders, this option is now available.
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.”
Sorry for the long quote anyways. Right after I heard it, I said to myself. I’m going on a mission. Now, here I am in Japan! Teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and inviting others to “Come and See” what Christ has to offer you.
I loved the talks at conference! Every 6 months our beloved prophet and other church leaders who we sustain ( we do not vote them in) speak to us counsel that comes directly from the Savior, Jesus Christ, who directs this church. Through the miracles of technology, millions of people get to hear it in their own languages just a week after it was initially spoken.
I had the opportunity to listen with my friend who is investigating the church. She is loving everything she is learning. The words of God have really been touching her heart. She is striving to apply the teachings she has learned from Conference. I hope we all do that as well.
I thought all the talks were wonderful! I really would like to invite all my non-member friends to read this one.
Come and See
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Sister Hokanson🌺

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