Hi I'm Zach
I come from a family of 7 kids, small for a Mormon family, right? I was going to college for a Communications degree in broadcasting, most of my college was actually taken care of in high school. I love learning. Definitely a favorite past-time. And even though I'm not enrolled in school right now, I'm learning tons as a full-time Missionary for the church. Before my mission I spent a lot of time making small, and sometimes ridiculous, student films. If I wasn't working with a camera I tried to spend time outside... on a mountain, in a boat, in the snow (literally "in" the snow. Or a tree. I'm not very good at snow boarding yet). My family always attributed me to being the comic relief of the family... for quite some time I liked to think that was because I was actually clever... Oh yeah! Especially as a Missionary, I love food. Food is a great thing.
Why I am a Mormon
I suppose this could be a rather lengthy story but I'll stick to a spark notes version. I was born and raised in the church, baptized at 8 years old, went to scouts, endured green jello salad etc. etc... But certain events in my family and my own personal waywardness caused me to forsake my testimony... I had decided that I did not want to serve a mission, but instead pursue my career. I figured that worldly success would bring me joy. But I knew that if I continued to be active in the church, that I would feel obligated to go. So I slowly slipped away, to avoid the guilt of it I guess. That's when I fell into the hole. And no matter what I did on my own, I was stuck in it. I'm grateful for the wisdom of my more active family members, who urged me to read the Book of Mormon, and to start attending church with them again. As I started to grow closer to the Lord on a personal level, I saw things in my life start working for the better. That hole got less and less deep as more and more hands reached in for my rescue. My grades picked up in school, my relationships improved within my family, and my outlook on life was brighter and full of joy. But at one point I still came to a cross roads. If I really believed in this Gospel, if I really believed in Jesus Christ with all my heart then I needed to act on that. That's when the inevitable caught up with me. I'd been avoiding all the joy that comes form living the gospel for such a long time because I was scared to serve. But now, as I serve my mission, I feel totally converted, as I have the opportunity to see this gospel change lives. Not just the good people with which I serve, but also my family back home. Back to the original question, why am I a Mormon? Because I love my Savior, and I know this is His restored Gospel. And that has brought me more joy in this life than anything else.
How has The Book of Mormon helped you understand the purpose of life?
I love the Book of Mormon. Even from when I was a kid I loved the stories of Nephi, of the Stripling Warriors, the list really goes on and on of the wonderful tales written in this book. But as I've grown I've developed a very strong testimony of the power and promise in this book. We are promised that if we read the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart, having faith in Christ and real intent we will receive an answer if it is true (Moroni 10:3-5). Despite being raised in the church I had to find out for myself. I found myself lost in its words as I did so, not just in the stories but in the testimonies of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Its the Book of Mormon that has solidified my testimony in Him who is mighty to save. And that testimony granted me the desire to share it with others as a missionary. By losing myself in Jesus Christ and His Gospel, the better way He has shown us to live, I have truly found purpose and happiness. I testify that the Book of Mormon can help anybody find their purpose, because it testifies of Christ. He will show us the way, He has shown us the way, and asks us only to follow. Our purpose in life is to have joy (2 Nephi 2:25) and by following Jesus Christ we can.
Can you talk about the missions of the Church and your participation in them?
I would love to talk about the missions of the Church and how I participate in them! What a fantastic question. From the early beginnings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, faithful members have been called to serve by traveling the world, spreading the Gospel far and wide to all who have been prepared to hear it. If you've seen 2 kids in suits riding on bikes, then you have seen how I (and countless others) participate in missionary work. Our specific calling is to find those who have been prepared the hear the Gospel, teach them about the Restoration and the great Plan of Happiness, and help others come unto Christ. While my specific role is teaching, there are many other types mission programs around the world. Some missions focus on the service aspect of things. Building homes for the homeless, providing jobs for the unemployed, bringing food to the hungry, doing that which we should do to our brothers and sisters. There are also different types of missionaries! Young men, young women, and also older couples have the opportunity to spread the gospel. Whether that be through words and lessons, or service and charity. Our calling is to serve. Serve our God, serve our Brothers and Sisters, serve each other, and serve you. So, if you see some Elders riding their bikes past your house you stop them. Tell them you need the lawn mowed. And we're always happy to serve.
How I live my faith
As a Missionary, I live my faith by teaching others about Jesus Christ and about this church. Its kinda funny though, I find that by teaching I'm learning a lot more about my Savior than I would simply studying. Its a great calling to teach. And as a representative of our Savior, its a blessing to get to know him through this service, and learn to be more like him. Not only is it spiritually fulfilling, but its more fun than anything I've done my whole life. I mean, I get to ride on my bike all day and Mom can't tell me to come home! Couldn't do that when I was 9! No way.