Hi I'm Amanda
I am 24 years old and I have recently completed my Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education. I am an artist who works in colored pencils, graphite, and acrylic paint on functional items such as furniture, picture frames, and flower pots. I love music and often drawn a great deal of inspiration from the many moods of my music listening. I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, after having joined the Church when I was 20 years old. My life has rarely been easy, and many would tell me that I have already been through more than my fair share of trials and tribulation. But I know with every fiber of my being that no matter what I have gone through, and indeed no matter what I will yet go through, the end will be better than the beginning. I have seen life both with and without God's influence, and you could never pay me enough to go back to walking in darkness. My trials have not ceased, but I now have the perspective, the strength, and the guidance I need to weather any storm that life may throw my way, all because my loving Heavenly Father trusted me enough to show me the way home.
Why I am a Mormon
When the missionaries first knocked on my door, I thought it would be a passing visit that I would soon forget about. However, because of Heavenly Father's love for me and my family, he gave those missionaries the patience they needed to teach stubborn, hard-headed, little old me. A little over three years later, and here I am a fully-active member of the Church, serving as a Primary teacher in our branch. Words can't possibly explain how grateful I am to know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and trusts me enough to have allowed me to come to Earth to learn to be like Him. I am grateful that he sent those two faithful Elders to my house to show me the joy that living the gospel can bring. One day I hope to be able to share my testimony and my love for the gospel with my children, that they might know that they too have a Heavenly Father who loves them dearly. I am a Latter-Day Saint because I have prayed to know for myself if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true and received that witness that it is indeed the true church of Christ. No matter how much the world may slander and mock the church, it does not change the fact that it is true. I am proud to say that I am a Latter-Day Saint.
Why do Mormons go on missions?
The short and simple answer is that the Lord has commanded his Church to 'go and preach the gospel unto every kindred, tongue, and people'. In short, the Lord says that EVERYONE needs to hear about it! That being said, it's not that simple when you get to individual missionaries. I have fairly recently made the decision after several weeks of prayer and fasting to know if the Lord needed me to do so to serve a full-time, 18-month mission. For young women it is 18-months, while for the young men it's 24-months. For me, my main motivations to serve a mission are two-fold First, because of all the wonderful people who in some way have helped me find the true gospel and the joy that living the gospel brings. And second, because I love the Lord, and if I can help just ONE of His children find their way back home to Him, it will have been worth every sacrifice made to get there. To be able to share the knowledge that I have about the gospel with others and the happiness that goes with it will be an adventure of a lifetime, and I can't wait to get started!
Please share your feelings/testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.
I am so thankful for the restoration of the gospel! I am so thankful that the boy Joseph Smith did not waver in his faith, that he did not fold under intense peer pressure. That he stayed true to what he knew was right, no matter how much people laughed at and mocked him. I know with every fiber of my being that Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet of the Lord, that he was called of God to restore His church in the Latter Days. I know that because of Joseph's faith, millions of people have found true peace and happiness in their lives. Many in the world today claim that there is no need for Prophets and Apostles in the world today. I would ask one simple question in response If they were needed in Christ's time, when I daresay that Satan did not have such a strong presence in the very fabric of our society, how is it that we don't need them now as we watch the very core of our society being attacked and mocked? How do we not need guidance from our Heavenly Father in a world that falls more and more every day into chaos and anarchy? I say that we DO need a spiritual GPS in these days to help us and our families steer through the proverbial pot holes and quicksand that Satan has laid for our very destruction. We DO need spirtual guidance from our Heavenly Father through modern Prophets and Apostles. I know that the Lord has a Prophet on the earth today, that his name is Thomas S. Monson, and that he truly speaks the Lord's will to help guide us in these Latter Days. I know that if we will follow the guidance that the Prophet and the Apostles give us, that we will not be led astray into Satan's evil clutches. I am so thankful for the restored gospel and the peace and happiness that I have been able to enjoy when I have followed the Prophet's voice.
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
How has it not? Seriously though, it has completely changed my life. In one area in particular it has helped me beyond measure. Growing up, I was not close with my Dad at all, due to very complicated circumstances, so my Granddad was basically my Dad when I was younger. We were very close. When I was about 10 years old, he was diagnosed with Smouldering Leukemia, so named because patients with Smouldering Leukemia usually do not live long enough for the disease to progress into full-blown Leukemia. He spent the next several months in the hospital, slowly deteriorating. Eventually the doctors gave us the heart-breaking news, that they could not do anything more to help him, and that we should make him as comfortable as possible for as long as he had left. He died April 3rd, 1998, just 13 days before my 11th birthday. I was devastated. I went from being a straight A student to barely passing and spent almost all of my time holed up in my room. The hardest part about his passing was that I had been raised to believe that I would never be able to see him again. Going to place flowers on his grave was always like reopening the wound, even many years later. It simply seemed like it was an injury that would never heal. Then the missionaries taught me about the Plan of Salvation, sometimes also called the Plan of Happiness. I came to learn that if I did my part here in this life, I would be able to, not only see, but live with my Granddad and all of my righteous family for eternity. Through this knowledge of Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness, I have truly been able to heal. It has given me such a wonderful feeling of hope to know that I will be able to one day be with my Granddad again. It has given me a wonderful goal that I might do everything I can so that I can live with them forever. I know that if we will strive to follow our Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness for our lives, we WILL be able to live with our families for Eternity.
Please explain the part prayer plays in your life?
Prayer, to me, is how we can come to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. How can you get to know someone if you don't talk to them? You CAN'T! Some of the most profound spiritual experiences I have ever had came either while I was praying, or as an answer to my prayers. I know with all my heart and soul that God lives, that He knows me inside and out, and that He hears and answers my prayers. And I promise YOU (yes, YOU, the one looking around to see if I'm talking to someone else!) that He knows and loves you too, and that if you pray in faith that He will answer you, I promise you that He will!
How can your talents and gifts bless others?
One of my talents that Heavenly Father has blessed me with is my talent for art. I have been blessed to be able to make the world around me a more beautiful place through my artwork. After I joined the Church, much of my artwork has been inspired by hymns, scripture passages, or concepts I have learned about the gospel. This has helped me to feel closer to the spirit of God, and has inspired my family. While I hope to one day be able to use my talents to inspire others to come closer to Christ, I know that as I seek to develop my talents Heavenly Father will give me opportunities to use them to bless the lives of others.
How I live my faith
I live my faith by following Heavenly Father's commandments. It's not always easy to do, but it is infinitely easier than trying to find my way through life on my own. I strive to read my scriptures every day and to pray to my Heavenly Father often. I try my hardest to live worthily so that I will continue to be worthy to enter the Lord's Temple. I know that when we strive to follow God's commandments, we will make mistakes. However, through Christ's Atonement, we can repent of those mistakes. After we have given our all, the Lord will make up the difference.