Alright, who saw that coming? General Conference was amazing! I knew it would be different watching it in the MTC and it was crazy. When President Monson announced that young men could serve at 18 people were cheering and then when he said young women could serve at 19 it was even louder. That part was crazy, but the rest of the time everyone was so reverent and the Spirit was so strong.
I want to know what all of you are thinking now that your life got flipped upside down. I couldn't stop thinking about it during the whole first session, well really all Conference. I was just thinking how nothing will ever be the same. I immediately thought about all the people close to me whose lives will be changed. I thought of Hillary, Aannaliisa, Matthew, Katherine, and so many of my friends. I hope you all pray about it and find out what's right for yourself. I also know that it's so important to really prepare BEFORE your mission. I tried to, but I could have done so much more. My suggestion is to read the Book of Mormon if you haven't and to pray about it. I know if you are willing to act on the answer that Heavenly Father will testify to you of its truthfulness through the Holy Ghost. I think the key is that we all have to be willing to act on the answer we receive. The other part is to read Preach My Gospel. I tried, but didn't finish before and now I'm almost done. It is an amazing book that was inspired and I know if you read it you will be better prepared for your mission and life in general.
I know there might be some concerns about the change, but I really can't think of one. I know this comes from God because "He is hastening His work". The whole Conference seemed to be about missionary work and the family. I think this has as much to do with strengthening the Lord's kingdom as it does to building and growing His kingdom. I feel like families will be strengthened so much and there can be no doubt in anyones mind that missionary work is what is required of us all. I know it's different for girls but I'm so grateful for you Mom and Dad serving missions and being such great examples to me. My goal was always going on a mission and now that I'm here I can't believe it. I really wanted to go when I was 18, but I know I wasn't ready. Heavenly Father had other plans for me. I had to do other things and most importantly make friends before I left. We all have to prepare at an earlier age and are expected to be more mature much faster. I'm looking forward to having 18 year olds in my mission and I think it will be awesome. That was kind of all over the place, but that's how my minds been going ever since the announcement. To all of you that are trying to make the decision I know that as you pray and listen you will make the right choice.
Other really cool thing this week. The talk by Elder Nash hit me in my heart. The pictures of Machu Pichu and just thinking about Peru were almost overwhelming. I'm so excited to go to Peru. Of course there are times that I get a little nervous about the language, but I know I have been called of God and I know in His time I will get there. I still don't know where I'm going to be serving for the next little bit but hopefully I'll find out today. I think this will be a grand adventure, the ones they always talk about (well I'll be talking about it at least). I'm just so excited to go out and serve and love the people. Please pray for all the missionaries, and be specific for all my brothers out there. We all need heavens help and I'm so grateful for all the prayers said in my behalf.
I was able to host Tanner (Elder Christensen) and that was a special treat. We talked for a long time and I'm so grateful for all of my friends out here with me. I am strengthened by their examples of obedience and faith. I was able to see Elder Cannon last night before he left and I know he'll do great work in Germany. That reminds me, if you hear where people are going I would love to hear too, it's just fun for me to find out.
One of the biggest highlights of the whole week was seeing Uncle Steve and Charlie though. I purposely didn't go around the back of the temple because I didn't want to make it hard on anyone. It was so great to see them and I hope it didn't make things harder. I hope they gave my love to everyone because I love you all so much. My family is the greatest blessing in my life and that's what I kept thinking about all weekend long. Like I said before I know this announcement will strengthen families and I'm so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is in every part of our lives. There's no way I could ever know all the ways He directs me and influences me but Elder Bednar promised that as we're all good boys and girls and try our best to do what's right we will be influenced by the Holy Ghost and most of the time won't even have known it happened. That was in an MTC devotional recording I watched and it gives me lots of peace.
Have tons of fun this week with Fall Break and whatever else you're doing. Thanks for all the letters, I love hearing about everything. I hope you always remember how much I love you and how grateful I am for you. Have the best week ever!
Elder Aaron Wheatley