Hi I'm Ryan
I'm the oldest of four, and family means a lot to me. I also like to reading, cooking, and hiking in the mountains. When I'm done with my mission I'm going to school to become a Mechanical Engineer because I love math and science. I like building things, too, and that is how I got my Eagle Scout award a few years ago.
Why I am a Mormon
Although I grew up in the church and have been blessed with a legacy of faithful members and pioneers on both sides of my family, I have truly gained a testimony of the truthfullness of this church through the Spirit. I had my doubts and struggles, just like everyone does, but they can't outweigh the peace and assurity that I know I've felt come from our Heavenly Father. I still remember that night when I was reading the Book of Mormon in my room and an overwhelming calmness came over me as the Spirit testified to me that the book was true. I realized that I had known all along, but it had not sunk in like it did that night when I had a prayer and a question answered. This, along with many other sacred and spiritual experiences have let me know that my Heavenly Father loves me and the Christ is truly my Savior. Each experience confirms to me the simplicity and beauty of the restored gospel that has changed and impacted my life deeply. I am truly grateful for the courage and faith of Joseph Smith that lead him to that grove of trees to pray that spring morning in 1820. When I got to visit that sacred place, I felt that his account was true. The trees and rocks and ground seemed to bear a humble and solemn witness that they had been in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His son. They do, in reality, speak to us and reach out to us in these latter days. Joseph Smith was truly a prophet and Thomas S. Monson, as his successor today, is also a prophet. That fact is so comforting to me, and the divine guidance that he communicates to us from the heavens is one of the many reasons I am a mormon.
In what ways have your prayers been answered?
I've received answers in many ways and at many times, which has led me to truly believe that God does answer prayers in His own way and in His own time. Two examples come to mind. The first was a prayer offered in one of the darkest hours of my life. I was about 14 and was really struggling with my self image and some other personal demons. I prayed and asked Heavenly Father for help overcoming my weaknesses and for the strength to repent. I think He truly answered my plea, at least in part, over the next few months as I did really well on my specific goals, which gave me hope. However, the bad habits began forming again and I became disillusioned again with discouragement. I remained miserable in this state for the better part of four years, By that time, I had suffered greatly for my bad choices, and had finally been humbled sufficiently to seek help from my parents and religious leaders. That was one of the hardest things for me to do, especially considering the sensitive nature of my transgressions, but I did it. And when I did, I was blessed with an unmistakable answer to that prayer uttered almost four years prior. As my father comforted me in these trials and has coached me in the process of repentance, I have felt that strength and support from my Heavenly Father that I requested. I soon found out that the answer to my prayers had only begun as I learned more lessons on humility and finally began mastering my own behavior and feeling better. I began to feel stronger and better enabled to overcome my sins, and learned a lot along the way. I learned that He had given me the strength and tools I needed from the beginning, and I just hadn't accepted that. I realized the importance of daily scripture study and prayer, and the power of keeping a journal. My answer came more fully after almost nine months when I entered the Holy Temple in preparation to go on a mission. I had made immense progress and had felt that divine grace I had requested, and standing in the temple surrounded by my family, I felt His love and acceptance and was overcome by joy. Sometimes, I believe, we receive answers in this way, and we don't realize it until after the fact. He will answer our righteous pleas, because He promised to. However, He will do it in the way best for us. I know that the way I received my answer in this situation was truly the best for me, and I am grateful for it, despite how hard it was. Another experience happened more rapidly, so I know He answers prayers immediately when that's what we truly need. I was feeling alone and slightly overwhelmed as I started my service as a full time missionary, and one night found myself feeling discouraged on my knees at my bedside. I prayed fervently for His embrace and comfort, and almost instantly felt a warmth come over me in answer to my prayers. I knew without a doubt that He was listening, and I was comforted. Since then, it has been easier for me to pray with that assurance that He does listen to and answer our prayers.
How I live my faith
I am currently living my faith by serving as a full time missionary for the church in the Fresno, California, area. As a missionary I study the scriptures daily and work at understanding the doctrine and deepening my testimony of the Savior. I'm striving to make my prayers more meaningful and more like the personal communication with my Heavenly Father that they should be. I work every day at being more like Jesus Christ, and hope to develop His attributes. I share the things that have changed my life with those I work with and try to help them reach their full potential. But most of all, I try to be obedient and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I try to be positive and recognize the Lord's hand in my life by being grateful. I've found that things like going to church, giving service, and personal study and meditation go a long way in that. In the past I have also worked with the handicapped in an extracurricular activities program sponsored by the church, called Mutual. I have helped organize activities for the youth in my own area and have even taught a class.