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Hi I'm Maria

I'm a wife. I'm a graduate student. I'm a teacher. I love Spanish. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

Early mornings in our home in rural Nevada were busy. I got up before 5:30 most mornings (let's be honest, I wasn't always cooperative...) so that our family could study the scriptures together. I practiced the piano 30 minutes to an hour before leaving for early morning seminary classes. My parents encouraged my siblings and me to learn and grow in whatever ways we could. In addition to what we learned at school, my parents taught us about art, music, and culture. My dad assigned me book reports in the summer, asking me to read classic works of literature. When I was 11 years old, our family rode the train from Nogales, Arizona, USA, to Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. None of us spoke Spanish, but we were ready for adventure. I'm sure that my love of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture was born the moment we stepped off the train and were enveloped by foreign sounds, sights, and smells. Since I left Nevada to go to college, I have lived in many cities in multiple countries. I am currently studying to be a professor of Spanish while my husband studies engineering.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born to parents who are descendants of pioneers. I have attended church nearly every Sunday for my entire life. I served an 18-month mission in Santiago, Chile. I graduated from Brigham Young University. My husband and I married in the temple. I have had a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel for as long as I can remember. However, I didn't come to understand the power and beauty of it, particularly the Atonement of Jesus Christ, until I was in graduate school. As I began work on my doctoral dissertation, I became overwhelmed by anxiety and depression. In the most humbling experience of my life, I sought help from mental health professionals to overcome my own mind. I prayed and studied the gospel in new, profound ways. In the darkest moments I began to understand the role of Christ's atoning sacrifice in my life. He had suffered through the depths of hell so that I could turn to Him in my time of need. I am grateful for these experiences because I am stronger in my convictions than ever before.

How I live my faith

I currently play the organ for my local congregation. My mom is thrilled that all of those grumpy, early-morning piano practice sessions paid off. Along with three other women, I help to lead the Relief Society (our women's organization). We organize Sunday lessons, plan quarterly activities, and ensure that the families in our congregation are having their spiritual and temporal needs met. In addition to these activities, another woman and I visit several members of our congregation each month. We bring a spiritual message and check on the temporal and spiritual well-being of their families. Our congregation regularly serves our local community and assists in the church's humanitarian efforts. For example, we have cleaned local parks and put together hygiene kits for areas devastated by natural disasters. Serving in many capacities is one of the things I love most about being a member of the church. We all serve and care for each other, but we also serve and care for people all over the world.