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Hi I'm Rusty

I'm deaf. With the help of cochlear implants, I can mostly hear again. I am serving in the Illinois, Nauvoo Mission. I'm a Mormon!

About Me

My parents became Mormon a month before I was born. So I grew up as the seventh of eight kids in a Mormon family. My parents were big believers in education, especially my mom who got her high school diploma, RN license, and college degree while I was young. My college education has allowed me to be a CPA. As a single mom, I have been blessed to have the means of supporting my family. About ten years ago I started going deaf. Because of severe deafness, I am able to work full time anymore. But I have had two cochlear implants and have learned to hear all over again. It is amazing to listen to my grandchildren, birds, running water, and other sounds that I thought I were forever gone. I am still learning to hear music and telephones. Modern day medicine is truly a gift from God. The experience has taught me to have hope and patience. I have always had aspirations for myself. My goals right now are different than what I ever could have imagined when I was a teenager or a young mom. I hope to speak in public, listen to music again, sing in a church choir, and successfully serve as a missionary for my church. These are things I used to take for granted. I had no idea how blessed I was. But now, I appreciate many things that used to seem insignificant. In my life, through many trials, I have learned that God is real, that He loves me very personally, and that I can do all things with His help. Perhaps most important, I have learned that I can do nothing without His help.

Why I am a Mormon

Some people think that being a Mormon was easy for me. It was not! I wanted to know the truth for myself. Relying on parents and teachers was not enough. There were years of studying, praying, and pleading before I trusted in Jesus Christ and His gospel. Once I committed, I have continued to recommit myself on a daily basis. I began trying to find God when I was 13. I remember where I was the day I first prayed for myself. After that, I prayed regularly as a teenager. But I was 18 before I was sure that God was real. In addition to praying, I read the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I looked for friends to guide me. But I didn't accept things because somebody said so. I found out for myself. Those answers came through prayer and study. As an adult, challenges might have convinced me to give up on God. But because I found Him for myself, I never doubted His love. Even when I lost a four year old daughter, I knew He was with me every step of the way. Because of His assurance, I never let go of my faith. I have suffered and made mistakes just like everybody else. But I haven't been alone. The Savior has always been with me. God truly is my Heavenly Father. He has encouraged me to be my best self. He has plans for me now and forever.The greatest gift He has given me is the sacrifice of His Son. I have also been blessed with scriptures to strengthen me. I am able to communicate with God personally. He is always there and He is everything to me. His Son is my best friend and provides me with a way to be forgiven of sins. I know that I will live again after I die because my Heavenly Father has promised that to each of us. Regardless of who we are or where we live, we are promised God's blessings if we are willing to believe and follow His plan for us.

How I live my faith

Being Mormon provides the opportunity to grow through serving others. I have taught teenage girls 12-18, spoken in church, helped write skits and roadshows, sung in choirs, taught early morning seminary to high school students, and volunteered as a camp specialist. Outside of Church, I have served as a cub scout leader, a girl scout leader, a soccer mom, and a volunteer for several other groups. I served the community through Rotary International for several years. I love to serve others. One of my favorite assignments ever was teaching seminary for a dozen high school students. The kids shared so many things with me and blessed my life in a thousand ways. They also cooperated with me to overcome communication problems related to deafness. Each morning as they came in, they left jackets, hoodies, hats, scarves, etc at the door so that I could see their faces. We spent time with white boards and markers so I could visualize some of their ideas better. They looked for ways to make being together both fun and spiritual in spite of my hearing challenges. Currently, I am serving as a missionary, headed for Nauvoo, Illinois. My assignment requires talking to all kinds of people and sharing through music. For me, it is a labor of faith. How can I do this? I pray for God's help. I have to rely on the patience of those I work with. Somehow, I just know that when I need to hear something or sing something, I will be able to do it. It is a great testimony to me that God wants each of us to be happy and fulfilled in our lives no matter what our challenges are. I know that some day I will hear as well with my ears as I feel with my spirit right now. But with or without perfect hearing, I know the Lord loves me and provides me with what I need to serve others effectively. He is my strength in life.