Hi I'm Ruben
I grew up as a young Hispanic mostly in southeast Texas. It wasn't the easiest thing growing up there. As part of a military family, we moved around a lot so it was sometimes hard to make and keep friends. My parents helped get me through those sometimes difficult years. I am so fortunate to be where I am. My dad, as a child, used to pick fruit in Texas and California, with his brothers to earn money for the family. My grandparents were mostly laborers in the fields or as custodians. I was able to go to college and law school on scholarship, and now work as a regulatory attorney. It's amazing how much God can bless generations of a family! I am a wannabe foodie, love working in my garden (my wife teasingly says I'm obsessed--but hey I can think of worse things to be obsessed with), and love traveling to the Pacific Islands. My wife was born in New Zealand and of Hawaiian and Maori descent, so luckily we can visit those lovely places! I am a father of three fun-loving children and am happily married to my lovely wife.
Why I am a Mormon
I was born into a Mormon household. But during my teenage years, I started to have a lot of questions. For example, how could people really know--i mean KNOW, that God lives, or that he had a true Church? I thought you could believe it, even believe it very strongly. But I didn't think it was possible to actually know---like you know the sun is there. I finally decided to ask God. I remember reading the Book of Mormon over a period of three months, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning, as a teenager. I would repeatedly ask him if what I was reading was true. I would ask if this Church was true. I felt so good but still needed to know for sure. I remember the specific moment when I knew it was. I don't know how to explain it. It is like trying to explain what salt tastes like---you can give examples of what it might be like, or what it is not, but can't exactly explain it. But you know it when you taste it. That knowledge has helped me through the challenges that we all face in life---loneliness, job loss, illnesses of a loved one, etc. I don't always know why things happen, but my knowledge that this is His true Church, that he loves me, that he loves us all, helps me find answers or be okay when the answers don't always come quickly. Knowing that I have a Savior that can help be be a better person, that can literally carry me through difficult times, and can guide me, has made all the difference in my life.
How can your talents and gifts bless others?
I am attorney and have been able to do mini-legal clinics on my own for low-income people. I have been surprised at how much I have been able to help people either resolve their legal issues, or point them in the direction they need to go. I have been more surprised at how grateful they are for my help.
How can we develop greater harmony in our homes?
We do a few things: 1) We pray together each day as a family and make sure we pray for specific members of our family; 2) We eat dinner together as much as possible and try and talk about what went on during the day; 3) We do fun things as a family!
Why do Mormons go on missions?
I went because a prophet of God asked me to go. I also went because as a teenager I came to know for myself that God did live, that he has a plan for us, that we can be happier than we are, and that we can live as families forever. I wanted to share that with others.
Which of the Savior’s teachings have influenced you in your life?
Matthew 11:28-30 has taken on a whole different meaning for me these past few years as our family has struggled with the effects of my wife's cancer. Jesus said "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." I had felt his grace---his help and strength before, but never like this. When we learned my wife had cancer, it was devastating news. She had several family members that had died of it, and in fact her own father died fairly early of cancer. As we struggled with the worry of what would happen to her, as we prayed, and as I cared for her and our three children, God blessed me with comfort and very literally, physical strength, to carry my burdens. For example, I remember for months in a row, how I would come home from work at 7 pm, my mother in law or sister in law would leave after having helped my wife that day, and I would play with the children, help them with homework, cook, clean, and then put them to bed. I would then start the wash, clean the house, make meals for the next day and go to bed at midnight or later. We had a new baby too so she would often get up many times during the night for feedings. Sleep was a luxury. I would sometimes get up at 4:30 am to finish up the chores before I left and then leave for work. There were many nights when I got only a couple of hours of sleep. This went on for months. I remember one sunny Saturday, as I was doing some work outside, with my children outside playing, and my poor wife sick in bed and feeling peace that it would all be okay. I thought to myself, "I should not feel at peace. I should not feel physically 'okay.'" How am I able to do this? My thoughts then quickly turned to the words in the scripture "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." I knew it wasn't me doing it. It was very literally, the Savior of us all. My wife is in remission now, and we are so happy for that blessing. But through that challenge, I have come to know more than ever that my Savior lives and loves me.
How has the Book of Mormon brought you closer to God?
I remember when I knew for sure the Book of Mormon was true. I knew that more than ever, I needed to follow Christ and live like him. The Book of Mormon, like the Bible, has taught me about Jesus and has
How I live my faith
I just try to be loving and kind to others. Growing up in the south, I sometimes faced racism, some more hateful than another. It was hard for me as a child to not have a lot of hard feelings for some people. As I grew up I realized that I needed to let go of resentful feelings, even if they were justified. I just needed to love others like the Savior loves us. It is not always easy, but I have been able to get better at it through the years. I try to be a good neighbor too and accept others' differences. I think our world would be a better place if we just learned that good people can have differences, and even serious differences of opinion, and still be good people. I try to remember this whenever I get annoyed by someone. I especially try and be a good husband and father. I figure that with all my faults, if I can just be good at that, then life will be happy.