Hi I'm Joanne
I teach English as a Second Language in a Middle School. I am currently pursuing my Master's degree in Educational Leadership. My husband and I have been married for 11 years. I enjoy reading, gardening, beading, scrapbooking, cooking, computers, playing musical instruments and learning new things.
Why I am a Mormon
I grew up in a home that did not practice religion. We celebrated Christmas and Easter in a secular way. We attended church only for weddings or funerals. People were respected for their religious beliefs, but we did not share them. In high school, I started to question religion and why so many people believed in God. I had a hard time believing my friends when they told me that God loved me, when I had difficulty loving myself because I wasn't popular, thin and beautiful. I felt like something was missing in my life. I didn't know what it was, but I was determined to find it. I started researching religions like I did research for class papers. Occasionally, I would sneak out of the house on Sunday morning when my family was still asleep and attend various churches. Nothing felt right and I felt my cynicism towards religion growing. One day, my best friend in high school invited me to attend his church with him. He had recently been baptised as a Mormon, which I didn't understand at all. I figured that I should at least go because it was important to him. When I got there, even though I didn't understand everything, I felt at home. I felt a warmth in my soul and I felt welcomed. I started to attend church regularly with my friend and meet with the missionaries. One of the Sister Missionaries that taught me challenged me to pray to Heavenly Father to ask Him if He was real. Later that week after debating it in my mind, I knelt down in my bedroom and gave an honest prayer. "God, if you exist, do you exist? Are you Real? Do you love me?" I remember feeling overwhelmed by a feeling of intense love. It felt like someone had come up, wrapped me in a down comforter and given me a big hug. Even now, when I think about that first prayer, tears come to my eyes and I feel that same spirit of love and truth. I knew that whenever I learned something new about any religion, if I felt that same feeling, that it was true. Everything I learned in investigating the Mormon church, came with that same feeling of love and affirmation, and it still does, because I am still learning.
In what ways have your prayers been answered?
My prayers have been answered through the actions of my family and friends. Sometimes through the unknowing actions of strangers. I have felt peace or joy during turbulent times. I have received strength during difficult times. Sometimes the answers don't come right away, and I realize looking back, that my prayers were answered in ways I didn't expect. But always, always, my prayers have been answered.
How I live my faith
I supervise the college level religion classes for our area. There are currently three classes, with two more on the way. I don't teach the classes myself. I help the teachers and act kind of like a Principal in a school, providing help with administrative things, and sharing teaching strategies. I also work as a Temple worker in the Chicago, Temple, assisting people in their worship of God and their learning more of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.