- Tonight I feel a deep urgency to touch the heart of every boy in the Church that each one might have a desire to live worthy to hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and serve a mission. You young men must live worthy to become elders so you can carry the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people as the Lord has commanded us to do.
He speaks of the future service that will be asked of our young men. He says that we should not aspire to a calling but should be realistic, we will be called to lead at points in our lives and we need to prepare for when the Lord will call us.
- No young man should aspire to a calling, but as surely as you are sitting in this priesthood meeting tonight, many of you will preside over wards, stakes, missions, quorums, and, of course, your own families. Priesthood training, my brethren, starts when a young man is ordained a deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood. You Aaronic Priesthood bearers need to understand that you are in training.
He speaks of the training he received as a missionary. He says no other experience in his life prepared him more for priesthood service than the time he served as a missionary. He says the Lord uses our time as a missionary to become acquainted with us and what we can accomplish in His service.
- Of all the training I have received in my Church assignments, none has been more important to me than the training I received as a nineteen-year-old elder serving a full-time mission in the British Isles. As I look back now, I can see that no training in my life was more important for what I am now doing in the Church than the training I received as a full-time missionary.
- The Lord has no better place to get acquainted with you than when you serve him in the mission field. When you are serving your mission, he will send you on errands to act in his name. He will give you experience with the power of the Holy Ghost. He will authorize you to teach, to convert, and then to perform the sacred ordinances of salvation in his name. He will come to know you. He will come to know that he can trust you and can rely on you. He will help you learn the lessons that will qualify you for the great work that you must perform as you do your part in carrying the message of the Restoration to everyone in the world.
Elder Ballard says that we need missionaries that provide meaningful Christian service. When we do this, the Lord will be pleased with the service we are giving.
- I believe if we had more missionaries in the world, rendering meaningful Christian service and helping people come to the knowledge of the glorious message of the Restoration, we would find favor with the Lord.
He asks the young men to prepare for the day when they will be called to serve the Lord.
- I say to you young men tonight, get ready; every one of you, get ready. This world needs your service. Repent if you need to. Study from the standard works every day. Say your prayers morning and night. Develop in your heart a desire to know the mysteries of God. To lead the Church tomorrow, you must prepare today. Train hard, boys, and I promise you that you will live to be grateful that you made the effort to prepare.
He concludes by speaking to fathers and bishops that will help these young men prepare for missionary service.
- May we ask all priesthood leaders, especially you fathers, to help prepare your sons. Prepare them both spiritually and temporally, to look and to act as servants of the Lord.
He concludes by reminding the young men that the Lord needs them, the world needs them, and the church needs them to prepare to serve in the mission field.
- Remember: the Aaronic Priesthood is a preparatory priesthood. You are in training. Train hard. Get ready. The Lord needs you. The world needs you. The Church needs you.
I have always thought of Elder Ballard as the guy who always talks about missionary service. He loves missionary service and he recognizes the profound effect that missionary service can have on someone's life. I echo his comments that the mission field was the greatest place for me to prepare for my future service in the Lord's kingdom. The Lord learned who I was, molded me, taught me, and shaped me into who I am today with the assurance that He can rely on me to serve His children today. How grateful I am that the Lord took time to teach me and help me to develop while I served Him in the mission field. Young men and women have the same opportunity today. Don't let this amazing opportunity pass you by. You will forever be grateful for the trust that the Savior places in you as you serve Him.