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I'm a happy husband, father of a daughter and six boys, and grandfather of fifteen - four granddaughters and eleven grandsons - blessed beyond what I deserve. I enjoy mountain biking, running, camping, and music - especially piano and solo vocal. We have lived in various places throughout the world and have come to appreciate and respect the many and varied cultures - such as in Hong Kong where I served as a young 19-21 year old missionary for the Church, in Germany where I was an officer in the military, in Russia where I helped found and lead a Russian/American joint venture cellular communications company, and of course, in the USA in Utah, Georgia, Arizona, and Colorado. Everywhere I have lived, I have met wonderful people.
I was extremely fortunate to be born to parents who were faithful members of the Church. With their loving and devoted teaching, I came to know God's love. My own conviction to the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ was nurtured and grew. The teachings and testimonies of God and prophets in the Bible and Book of Mormon became cherished treasures to me. I felt the stirrings of the Holy Spirit in my heart, bearing witness to me of the veracity of what I was learning. Now, over a half century after my baptism at eight years of age, I still remember details of that experience, from coming out of the water, to padding up the cold tile stairs, to the overwhelming feelings of warmth, comfort, and a sense of being clean. Thereafter, as I continued to worship and renew that covenant by partaking the sacrament, week after week, month after month, year after year, my understanding and my personal testimony of the Gospel grew. It is now a sweetly burning flame in my bosom, undeniable and firm. In short, I know with certainty that God lives, that Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son, and that his Gospel and keys of His everlasting priesthood have been restored to the earth through His prophet, Joseph Smith. Those keys continue in the Church, both at the general level, with Thomas S. Monson, Prophet and President of the Church, and with prophets and apostles in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve; and at the local level, with presiding leaders in Church units throughout the world.
Reading the Book of Mormon every evening in our family while our children were still at home had an amazing effect on us. We felt more at peace, knowing that God lives and loves us. Our seventh and youngest child is now serving a full-time mission in Uruguay for the Church and seems to be well grounded and more able to face each day with greater strength. Each Monday, we have a "home evening," in which we share a brief gospel lesson and then enjoy activities together, which has drawn us closer in love. We have had our "ups and downs," but the times when we have more consistently done these things are the times we feel the greater peace and stability.
I have just completed an eight-year calling in the Church in which I led a group (known as a "stake") of eight congregations (called "wards"), as a lay leader, called "stake president." All told, our stake has about 3,000 members in the eight wards. Week in and week out, in each of these wards, the local leaders and members organize and conduct weekly worship services, Sunday Schools, and classes or activities for the men, women, youth, and children organizations. Our stake and ward leaders frequently coordinate service opportunities for our members to fulfill, including humanitarian and welfare relief services, as well as cultural experiences. My next calling, which occasioned my release as a stake president, came from the presidency of the Church for my wife and I to preside over the Russia Novosibirsk Mission, beginning in July 2014, for three years. There, we will work with members and missionaries to share the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and to work with the communities in which we reside to provide humanitarian service.