Hi I'm Erika
I am a very spirited person. I love taking on new things and expanding my horizons. I have been blessed with a wonderful family. My husband is very supportive of me and my children (ages 7-16) are such wonderful people and I am privileged to be their mother. I joined the church at the age of 16 and moved to Arizona when I was 18. I met my husband then we married after he served a full time mission for the church. Five children joined our family during the first 10 years of our marriage and have brought us much joy as well as many learning opportunities. We were blessed that I could stay home with my children while they were young. At that time I took it upon myself to learn to do things as inexpensive as possible and thus my hobbies were born. I like to sew, design, build furniture, do finish carpentry, and garden. I am known to always have a dozen projects in the works. After my youngest started school I went back to school to study Microbiology, which I am currently studying at Arizona State University. My plan is to get into PA school and graduate when I am 40. I have discovered the challenges of full time school and being an active parent to be quite challenging. When making the decision to go back to school I had to have the blessing of my husband AND children. My house is rarely clean and my older children have to chip in with meals and household duties. I get overwhelmed and know that the only way my brain can work is with the help of my Heavenly Father.
Why I am a Mormon
I grew up in a single parent home, which the extend of my religious activity was going to church with my grandparents (who were Lutheran) on holidays. My home was not one of closeness and by my early teens I was very unhappy and I wanted to be anywhere but home. When I was 15 I had a couple of peer examples that were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I knew nothing of the religion and even asked my friend what it was like not celebrating Christmas. As a young child I would ask questions about where I came from and I knew I came from heaven and no one could give me a definitive answer. My mother had a picture of the Savior in her closet that she was storing for someone as I remember being quite young, about 7 years old, and finding comfort sitting in my mother's closet and staring at that picture and feeling much love and a closeness to the Savior. The religious influences I had had in my life were not enough for me and I yearned for more. When I was 15 a co-worker of mine was preparing to go on a mission and would share many things about the church with me. It all seemed normal to me and later I found out that the LDS church was the only who had those beliefs. I had always known that our Heavenly Father and Jesus were separate beings and it had always confused me when conflicting doctrine was taught. My close friend in high school would answer many of my questions and invited me to have the missionary discussions in their home. Everything just seemed natural to me. I never felt like any new doctrine was taught, I felt as though the lessons taught were reminding my spirit what it already knew. Just after turning 16 I was baptized and since then I have always known that this church was Christ's Church, that I am a child of God, and that I have a Father in Heaven who has protected me and wants me to be happy. I know He always has loved me and He always will. I can't imagine my life without the gospel of Jesus Christ in it.
How I live my faith
After I joined the church I loved all of the opportunities to be with others who could teach me more about the church. In college I took as many institute classes as possible and just really wanted to learn all that I could. My natural tendency to be a leader has been helpful while serving in the church. I have been blessed to serve as a leader to the children and youth as well as plan activities for the women in the church to develop their own talents and to provide service opportunities. I find joy in teaching others of their potential, both spiritual and temporal. I especially like working with the youth because they have so much potential and I love to show them a glimpse of what they have to offer. I have had many times in my life that my faith has been challenged. Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not easy. Challenges of life can be quite overwhelming and many challenge my beliefs, even my own extended family. I have to be an active participant in my faith and feed it with study and with my actions. I have found that serving others strengthens me the most. This comes with the knowledge that when I serve I am doing work for my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I find comfort in the scriptures and knowing that I can always go to my Heavenly Father in prayer to help me. The number one thing I have come to conclude about my faith is that it is my faith and no one else's. I cannot go off of the strong faith of my husband and try to adequately overcome my personal trials. My faith is the backbone of my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My testimony is constantly strengthened by the service opportunities provided by the church as well as the lessons that are taught to me by others serving the Lord. As a church we need each other to be strengthened. Our Heavenly Father knows that we need each other so that we can strengthen our own testimonies and our ward families are the source of this strength.