What Is a Church Community?
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Hi I'm Laura

I'm a paediatric nurse. I'm also a health & social care lecturer specialising in child protection. I love art.

About Me

I began working in nursing as a care assistant after being turned down by a supermarket for a Saturday job when I was 17. I spent a number of years working as a Health Care Assistant in a range of settings before taking my degree in my mid-twenties. I've found working with sick children and their families to be both rewarding and emotionally challenging over the years. Dealing with children with complex social issues made up a sizeable part of that work and as a lecturer it's important to me to be able to equip future practitioners with the knowledge and understanding to spot potentially difficult situations and act in the best way to safeguard children and prevent abuse and neglect. In terms of hobbies, I love art and find drawing, and crafts painting very therapeutic. These days I work mainly with pastels and love to create seascapes, these days. I often combine this with holidaying, often with family and friends, at various coastal locations around the UK and using the opportunity to capture new images and scenes and stretch my skills. I also enjoy catching up with friends both far and near. In addition, I have a range of neices and nephews with whom I enjoy spending time. When I can, I sing in the Church chior, and I also enjoy walking and cycling and when I get the chance, I love kiaking.

Why I am a Mormon

Although I grew up in a Latter-Day Saint home, the decision to continue living my life this way has nevertheless been a conscious one. I have other family members who have chosen not to live their lives in the same way that I do and I respect that personal choice. For me, I particularly felt God's hand in life through a range of personal experiences which I had as a teenager, which were very meaningful for me personally. Having studied the Renaissance and Reformation at A Level at school, I also had a good basic balanced understanding of the wider Christian perpsective in Europe. During those teenage years I had taken the opportunity to pray over personal choices and issues in my life, including the things I'd learnt and been taught growing up about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the restoration of the Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Those were difficult years, and it became clear that if I wanted to follow the Church's teachings, there certain things I would have to give up or choose not to do, and some of those choices weren't easy. So those prayers, and the times when I searched the Bible and the Book of Mormon for answers, also centred very much around my life choices and decisions. I felt very much that those prayers had been answered over those years. Those experiences played a large part in my choosing to serve as a representative of the Church in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, where I saw miracles taking place in peoples' lives and their evidence of the love Heavenly Father has for all of His children. I was able to see His hand at work in their lives, and my own, in very personal ways that built on the things I experienced as a teenager. Since then, tough life experiences haven't gone away - because that's life! - but the opportunities to pray, seek Heaven's guidance, study the scriptures and feel His love have enabled me to make sense of life and see His hand at work in life in general and mine personally. I know He is there.

How I live my faith

Living your faith as a Latter-Day Saint is very much a way of life that affects all areas of what you do, from daily personal prayer, reading and studying the Bible and Book of Mormon, and looking for opportunities to reach out and help others. It also means thinking about the choices in life that you make and trying to live a life that God wants you to live and trying to make a difference in what you do and say. That's lovely because it means you are more actively looking for opportunities to do something good and help others out all the time, and so you can see God's hand guiding you in your life to reach out to others. Because the Church has an unpaid clergy, this means I've also done a lot of work within Church as well; it's not just a place where I go to hear preaching - it's a place where I go to work! I spent 4 years working with the teenagers in Church, organising events as well as teaching classes and mentoring individuals; in contrast to my 'day job', I found that experience hugely rewarding and it has provided the opportunity to build some wonderful relationships and have an awful lot of fun, while helping alot of young people get started in life. It's great now to see them moving forward with their lives and building their futures. Now, I work with the women's organisation in one of the local congregations and this likewise is providing a range of challenges while creating and cementing some lovely friendships. Some of these opportunities are not always easy or onvenient but I've found that when I'm prepared to throw myself into it, I love it - even, and perhaps especially, on the occasions when I didn't quite start out feeling that way. I'm really grateful for those opportunities.

What is the Relief Society?

Laura
Releif Society is the name of the women's organisation in the Church. It's completely led by women under the direction of the congregational leader - the Bishop or Branch President - in each individual unit of the Church - a ward or branch, depending on its size. It enables women to come together, help others, strengthen themselves and their families, and increase their understanding of how God works in their lives. It provides opportunities for women of all ages and backgrounds to get together, build friendships, have fun, help others and learn new skills. Show more Show less