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I was fortunate to have parents who taught me faith in Christ from a young age, and I have always had an inquisitive and curious streak in my personality, as well. Ever since I was young, I have enjoyed mathematics and science, especially in physics; however, ever since I can remember, I have suffered from significant learning disabilities, mental disorders, and health problems. After finishing high school, I worked and went to college for a year, and then left my job and school to serve a two-year mission for my church. It was the best decision I ever made; I was privileged to witness minds open and hearts change, as many wonderful people I met came to know Jesus Christ. They taught me more about true faith and courage than I could ever teach them. I grew to love the people I sought to serve, and also those whom I served with. I have been blessed with so much that I cannot express, and with the strength to endure the struggles I have faced in my life, ever since. After my mission, I resumed my studies at college, and was blessed to perform research in my chosen field. Despite setbacks in health, finances, and such, I struggled to continue my studies and work for several years. I have not since been able to continue with classes, and have dealt with repeated unemployment, diverse health problems, and many other issues in life. With the support of my friends and family, and my faith, I continue to seek to finish my education, support myself, and some day have a family.
Although I was raised by parents who taught me much of the gospel, and had many great teachers and leaders in church, there came a time in my life where I felt the need to question much of what I believed. I studied for a long time, and fasted, and went to my Heavenly Father in prayer repeatedly. The answers did not come all at once, but I learned slowly over time. He knew how to speak to me through other people around me, and through the great wonders of our world and universe. True knowledge filled my mind, with no obvious explanation, on many occassions. I witnessed miracles that I cannot deny. Most importantly of all, I learned to recognize the peace that the Holy Ghost brings. Although I am always seeking to learn new things, there are some things that I already know for myself. I may aspire to be a particle physicist, and I am always working on my own related projects and theories, but for all of my seemingly endless curiousity regarding the nature and structure of the universe around me, I find my greatest joy in the Word of God, and in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Just two-thousand years ago, the greatest event of all history in the entire universe took place, as Jesus took upon Himself the sins, the pains, the suffering, and the required price of eternal justice for all of us, and for all things, and then gave up His own life, willingly. In doing so, He descended below all things, and endured all things, so that we could return to our Heavenly Father if we so choose; He also conquered death, so that we, too, would rise again, and stand before God in the flesh. I do not know everything that I would like to know yet, but I do know this: Jesus loves me, and He loves everyone regardless of who they are. I will do my best to honor Him, and follow Him, and when I see Him again I will be filled with joy and gratitude beyond my ability to express.
From a young age, I had a strong desire to serve a mission. When I was turning 18 years old, I applied for missionary service. Initially, my application was put on hold due to my health conditions, but after waiting about a year my application was accepted, and I recieved my call to serve. As I began to serve, I realized that I did not know enough to help answer every question that was asked of me, and I began to be discouraged. However, with the help of my wonderful mission president, and many faithful and skilled mission companions and leaders, I continued to strive for excellence. In time, I found that if I surrendered myself to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, that I was given the answers that I needed in my moment of need. I found that I was sent to people whose questions I was prepared to answer when I followed the promptings of the Spirit in figuring out where to go on any given day. I knew then that I could not know everything, but that God would not leave me without the means to explain the truth to others along the day's chosen path. In the end, I realized that I had learned more from the people who I met than I could ever have hoped to teach them, and that the Holy Spirit did the real teaching, and not me. I was merely an "earthen vessel" that endured the effort, and the power of the teaching came from God, and not from me (2 Corinthians 4:7). I learned how to really listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost on my mission, above all else. I also learned about true faith and courage by witnessing the lives of those who I taught, as they changed themselves and followed after Jesus Christ. I will never forget, and to this day I still remember their names. When I read Alma chapter 26 in the Book of Mormon, I remember them and weep for joy. I went on my mission to share the gospel, and I returned with so much joy in my heart. My missionary service helped me to become a better person and to learn to love people, and is a great blessing in my life.
As a person who endures schizophrenia and other mental health issues, I can say that my faith in Jesus Christ has saved my life and given me hope. I exercise that faith every day, and have been rewarded with treasures of hidden knowledge as a direct result. I can feel the love of my Heavenly Father... as I have grown my faith in His Son, His love has become literally tangible to me. As I have had great difficulty in living some aspects of life, this has been very important for me in my personal struggles over the many years. If the day ever arrived when I lost my mind completely, I feel that at least I would still know two things no matter what... that my Heavenly Father loves me, and that Jesus Christ is His Son, the Great Redeemer, and the Savior of the world. I know this to be true, and because I know this I am not afraid any more. Because I know this, I am free to build a life into the future. I can go forward with confidence, at liberty to do good, knowing that Jesus Christ will stand with me when I go home to see my Father in Heaven again. This blessing of knowledge brings me great peace. There will still be difficult times; however, I know that these are for my own good. I will learn greater patience. I will learn to be more courageous. I will learn to better govern myself. I will come to an understanding of this life and its events, and will have peace in my heart and mind. I will feel more of the love of my Father in Heaven, and better know that Jesus Christ is His Son. As I go forward in faith, God will refine me through my trials and afflictions, and all of these things will benefit me, and I will count them all to be hidden blessings in disguise in the end, and be thankful to God for them. I have received these, and many more, blessings through my faith in Jesus Christ, and I know that through this continuing faith in Christ I will yet receive more blessings. The great and good possibilities, in Christ, are truly endless.
I do my best to always feel love and appreciation for everyone and everything around me. I want to share the things that have brought me great happiness in life with others around me, so that they, too, may have the same opportunities to know of truth, love, and peace, as I have had. I seek to help and encourage others whenever I have the ability to, and I enjoy sharing smiles with people when I have the opportunity to do so. I do my best to be a living witness of Jesus Christ by my own example, whenever possible. In the community, I do what I can to be helpful. Although I am unable to be employed or go back to college at this time, I seek to volunteer in programs that may benefit many residents locally. At church, I have the opportunity to serve my peers by fulfilling callings within the young single adult branch of the church which I attend. I also participate in many activities that my church group puts together. I enjoy singing, and try to share my talent in ways that uplift and inspire my friends at church. I also take the time to visit certain of my church friends fairly regularly, to share uplifting messages and to make sure that they are doing alright and have all of their needs met. In my personal life, I seek to glorify God in all of the choices I make every day. I do my best to read the scriptures every day, and also to pray regularly throughout the day. I work very hard to follow the commandments and the teachings of God's prophets, both ancient and modern. Most of all, I seek out, and often enjoy, a very close and personal relationship with my Father in Heaven.