Hi I'm DeAnna
I am a full-time mom of four beautiful children. I have a degree in elementary education and taught for a year. I also speak Spanish from my years of study in high school and college as well as the year and a half I spent as a missionary in Venezuela. My wonderful husband and I love music and share it with our children. I play piano and flute; his primary instrument is clarinet, but he also has a gorgeous tenor voice. I love spring time. I also love spending time with my family, whatever the weather.
Why I am a Mormon
I was born into a Mormon family. My parents spent many years searching various religions to find a religion that rang true to them. When a friend shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with them and invited them to visit with the Mormon missionaries, they accepted, recognized the truth and were baptized along with my four older brothers and sisters. I was born later, but I had to make my own decision to continue as a member of this church. That happened when I was around 14 years old. I had been taught the doctrines of the gospel since I was a small child, but I came to a point where I needed to know for myself, not just take others' beliefs for granted. So I prayed one night, really prayed, to know for myself if the things I had been taught were true. Was Joseph Smith really a prophet? Was the Book of Mormon really true? Was this the Lord's true church? After I prayed, I listened, and then I heard a voice in my mind say to me, "Yes, my child, it is true." The feelings that accompanied that simple statement confirmed in my soul that the things I had been taught were indeed true -- and now I knew it for myself. I have never doubted or looked back since then. I feel my faith and testimony have continued to grow as the years have gone by, confirming in my heart what I have always known to be true -- that I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me, that Jesus Christ is our Savior and lives today, that He guides this church through a living prophet on the earth, that Joseph Smith restored the Church to the earth, and that the Book of Mormon and the Bible testify of the reality of the Savior and His Atonement in our behalf. I also know that families can be joined together after death. These things give me a solid foundation and a purpose for my life, helping me to keep a broader perspective than just what happens here and now. I know my choices in this life have farther-reaching consequences, including what happens after I die. And I know that others around me are children of the same God -- my brothers and sisters.
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
My father passed away when I was six years old. My youngest sister was only 5 weeks old. There were many times growing up when I asked God why He had to take my father. But I came to realize that even though I didn't know "why," my faith in my Heavenly Father was given a chance to grow. Throughout the years of not having my earthly father, I have known and felt my Heavenly Father's presence guiding and enriching my life as I put my trust in Him. Knowing that I am His daughter, that He is mindful of me, and that He watches over me and desires what is best for me, gives me hope and comfort. I know I can trust in Him to make it through whatever comes my way, good or bad, because He loves me. I can take comfort in the things he has asked me to do, such as live the law of chastity, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and pay tithing, because He desires to bless me and keep me safe from harm. This simple knowledge that I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father brings me stability, peace and happiness in a turbulent and ever-changing world. And I know that I can be with my earthly father again after this life, so I desire to make choices that will make him proud of me and that will keep me worthy of that great blessing.
How has attending Church services helped you?
For me, going to church every Sunday is such a boost! I feel the Spirit, which helps to temper my passions and be a better kind of person toward those around me. I also feel such strength from being there with others who are also striving to live Christ-like lives. I feel my testimony strengthened by the talks and lessons that are prepared to teach us about the gospel from the scriptures. A week can be such a long time for me, going through the busyness of tending four small children, doing laundry, making meals and cleaning up after each one, wiping so many milk spills and mediating all the contentions between my children, helping to teach them how to interact nicely with one another. I really need my Sunday church services to keep me focused on the long-term perspective and see the big picture, to step back and evaluate my discipleship during the holy sacrament, to feel renewed in my quest to follow the Savior's example and to become like Him. It is a life-long journey, and I need to stay in constant contact with things that help me feel the Spirit to keep my heart right before God -- things like the sacrament service, singing hymns, reading and studying scriptures, praying. These are mostly things I can do myself, but it really buoys me up to do them up with like-minded, good-hearted people who are also keeping the faith despite life's challenges. It is refreshing to go to church every week. It is a privilege.
How I live my faith
I follow the Ten Commandments, pay tithing, and stay away from drugs, alcohol, tea, and coffee. I keep the Sabbath Day holy by attending church and spending the rest of the day with my family in reverent ways that do not require me to spend money. I also endeavor to read scriptures and pray daily, on my own and with my family. In addition, I have always enjoyed being involved in serving God's children. When I was newly married and settling into a new location and routine, I sought out volunteer opportunities at a nearby elementary school. I felt blessed by my experiences there with the children learning English. In my church service, I have had many different opportunities to serve and to grow -- pianist, chorister, choir director or accompanist, Sunday School teacher, emergency preparedness leader, and currently counselor in the presidency of the women's organization in my congregation for women ages 18 and up (Relief Society). I also have specific sisters in my congregation that I am responsible for watching over -- befriending, serving, and nurturing in the gospel. All sisters have other sisters we watch over. In every congregation I have been in, we look after one another as family, which helps me feel that no matter where I go, I will always have a church family waiting for me. I also served as a missionary in Venezuela, where I really developed a love for the Hispanic people and came to appreciate the wonderful diversity of God's children.