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Young LDS men may now begin to serve two-year full-time missions for the Church provided they have completed high school (or the equivalent in other countries.) 
Young LDS women may now begin to serve missions when they reach the age of nineteen.   
This new policy was announced by Church President Thomas S. Monson in the Semi-Annual General Conference of the church held in Salt Lake City, October 2012. The change in policy has resulted in a general upswing in the number of missionaries in the field. As of April 2013, there were 65,000 full-time missionaries including young men, young women, and retired adults serving throughout the world.
Source: General Conference Proceedings, April 2013 and October 2012. 

Greg Armstrong
Van Buren, AR