Last night Ani and I went to a multi-stake devotional for young men, young women, and their parents. Three members of the Seventy were there. Elders Rasband, Whiting, and another one I don’t remember the name of. They decided to do it as a Q&A session.
It was really a wonderful evening. Near the end they started talking about the change in age for missionaries. The girls seemed especially excited about it, and, clearly, that is typical of girls around the Church. Currently, new missionaries submitting their paperwork are 51% girls and 49% boys. Of course those numbers will shift in the future since right now there’s only one extra age-year worth of boys preparing to go, but two extra age-years of girls. I think there will continue to be more sisters going, though, because at 21 many viewed it as something you do if you aren’t married yet, but at 19 it’s something that you can do because you want to. (They did make it clear again that the boys should all go, but the girls are enouraged to serve, but it’s not required… though they are absolutely thrilled with the increase in sister missionaries and know it means very, very good things for the Church.)
They said that prior to the announcement of the age change, the brethren were assigning about 700 missionaries a week. Now it’s 4,000 a week! How amazing is that?!?! The numbers will drop off in the future as those who were not old enough before the age change finish putting in their papers, but they will likely stay up from what they were before, Right now we have about 58,000 missionaries serving. Within a year the number will be upwards of 90,000!
In addition to all that, the amount of time spent at the MTC is being reduced by 1/3 (if those going to your mission used to stay for 3 weeks, now it’s 2; if they used to stay for 9 weeks, now it’s 6; and so on). The Lord’s work is definitely hastening. It’s such an exciting and wonderful thing to see.