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Hi I'm Stepanos

Hi, I'm Stepanos (Panos for short). I'm an Armenian from Fresno, California, a husband, father of two, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I work full-time for the County, though I'm still trying to obtain my history degree. Aside from that, I'm one of those people with a restless mind who has too many interests. I always have to be reading something; mostly non-fiction (history books, biographies, etc.), though I also enjoy other literature (short stories, plays, historical fiction, etc.). I'm very much interested in other cultures and languages. Right now I can speak German and Armenian, but I can also get by conversationally in Spanish. I love sports - both watching and playing. Football is my favorite sport and I usually get to play at least once a week, and I'm a huge Raiders fan (although I don't have a criminal record). I also like to play soccer and basketball; but I'll play any sport just for fun. Personally, I'm kind of a nerd because I'm into comic books and still like to watch old cartoons that I watched growing up. I'm trying to get my 6-year-old daughter to like X-men, but so far she only likes Disney princesses. Maybe I'll have more luck with my infant son.

Why I am a Mormon

As an Armenian-Mormon, I was always conflicted religiously growing up. This is because all my Armenian friends and relatives that I knew went to an Armenian church. In the Armenian community, that's really how everyone knows each other - from church. My Armenian friends could never understand why I didn't go to church with them and what on earth was an Armenian like me doing in the Mormon church? In high school, the pressure from my Armenian friends increased, while at the same time I knew I had to seriously decide whether or not I was going to serve a mission for the Mormon church. I knew I had to turn to God for answers. I began - for the first time - to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover, sincerely, and with a willingness in my heart to act according to whatever answers God would give me concerning His will. The more I read and prayed about the Book of Mormon, the more I knew that it was true, that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints is personally led by Christ Himself through a living prophet and twelve apostles. I've lost many of my Armenian friends and have relatives who won't speak to me, but it doesn't matter. I've felt the Holy Ghost of God confirm in my heart the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and of this Church too many times to be able to deny it. These haven't been experiences that I've misinterpreted or imagined; but powerful experiences where I knew God was answering my prayers.

How I live my faith

To me, being a Christian means serving others. I really learned to love serving others as a full-time volunteer missionary for the Church for two years in western Germany (2005-2007). There, I had the opportunity every day to perform various acts of service. But most importantly I was able to share my testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored Church with the people of Germany. As a missionary, our mentality was one completely directed outwards towards helping others and not seeking our own will, but God's. I've tried to retain that attitude since I returned from my mission. I had various callings (assignments) in my local congregation, such as a Sunday School teacher and also working with our youth groups. But also outside of the church, I always try to exemplify Christ in my everyday life by being a loyal friend, an honest employee, and just being kind in general to everyone I know. Within my family, we strive to make Christ the center-point of our home. I want my children to learn to love God, and I know this won't happen simply by me taking them to church every Sunday. We try as often as we can - every day, if possible - to pray and read the scriptures together as a family. Also, every Monday we have a Family Night where we have a Gospel-related lesson, play a game, have a treat, etc. It's nothing big, but it's a way to help my family learn true Gospel principles and have fun at the same time.