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Hi I'm Alan

I'm a Mormon. Most of my life I have lived and worked on a farm but I am in a city far away from my roots.

About Me

I grew up on a farm in western Canada. After high school I took a diploma program in agriculture, bought a couple of sections of land and farmed with my father for the next twelve years until low international grain prices forced me to look for another way to support my family. Leaving was a very difficult decision. After farming, I hoped to gain employment in some aspect of international agricultural development. We moved to central Mexico for me to obtain a degree, learn a foreign language and gain experience in a developing country. I was older than most of my university professors by then and learning Spanish was an adventure for all of us. Four years later, my foreign qualifications were not recognized in the Canadian labour market so to make ends meet, I took a labour job at a meat packing plant where I worked for nearly two years. Thankfully, I was awarded a full scholarship for a masters program in International Affairs but to get it, we moved our family across the continent again, this time to Canada's capital. My wife ran a daycare to get us through another very hectic year of school. I have worked in Canada's department of agriculture for the past twelve years advancing the international trade interests of this sector. In addition to Spanish, I now speak French as well. Two of our four sons are living at home. Our eldest son is married our second son is serving a mission. I am still a farmer at heart. I plant a large garden each year.

Why I am a Mormon

I grew up in a rural community where everyone I knew belonged to a church and attended services regularly. Until I was in college, I was an active member of the same church my parents had faithfully attended and generations of my father's family before him. However, as I grew and life's inevitable disappointments came, blow by blow I realized I could have anything money could buy if I worked hard enough but not happiness. As a teenager I began to ask myself, "who was I really?", and "what was the purpose of my life?". Neither my upbringing nor my church had answers that made sense to me and thus began my personal search for truth that led me to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Nearly a decade later I took a winter job in a book bindery in Calgary. While I was there I worked for a couple of hours on a printing press with a young man that told me he would soon be leaving to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He challenged me to read the Book of Mormon. I committed to do so but only after I had first read the Bible from cover-to-cover as it was the basis of the church I had grown up in. I read the Bible for the first time at the age of 26 and to my utter astonishment realized that I didn't know God — or rather, the god that I had been taught about and/or imagined was not the same God I read about in the Bible. Disillusioned, I began reading the Book of Mormon initially looking for faults but what I found is that if the Bible was true, so was the Book of Mormon because the God described in both was the same. Soon after I met with the missionaries who taught me about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how to pray. At the conclusion of our first meeting, I uttered my first prayer desiring to know if what they had taught me was true — I received an undeniable witness that it was. I left that meeting full of love and hope knowing that I had at last found happiness. That is why I am a Mormon.

How I live my faith

I have been a member of this church since 1988. My day-to-day challenge is not so much about what I have done or what I hope to do but rather who I am and who I want to become. I want to be like Jesus Christ. I seek out people that are downcast and struggling with life's challenges as I once did. From the perspective of my own life experiences, I feel their pain and sorrow and I try to make a difference. I try to reach out to individuals and families to share their burdens to make them lighter and to help them look up. I am currently serving in Church as the Bishop of a ward, helping those who have not yet heard about the restoration of the Gospel to fully embrace it and by encouraging others as they strive to live its teachings.