Friday, December 23, 2011
Leah had an ingenious idea for decorating our home for Christmas. She cut out the words "HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING GLORY TO THE NEWBORN KING" and strung them in a banner behind a wooden airplane just like the ones you see at the beach or ball games. It was difficult to get the entire thing into one camera shot, but here are our best shots.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Hi I'm Brian
I'm a PhD candidate in Educational Psychology. I'm a husband, father, traveler, photographer & science educator. And I'm a Mormon.
Hi I'm Brian. I'm finishing a PhD in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on how to help teachers learn and teach science better. I am passionate about teaching science and have taught elementary science programs through out the U.S. and abroad and do science assemblies at elementary schools. I love exploring and photographing the world (urban and natural) and have visited all 50 of the United States and 20 countries. I married my best friend and sweetheart for eternity in the Laie, Hawaii temple and now I am a proud father of 4 (2 girls and 2 boys) including a step-daughter with special needs. Being a father is the best job in the world, but it also gives me daily opportunities to develop patience, charity and other Christlike attributes. I love my wife and children more than I can express. Most importantly I love the Lord, I'm grateful for His atoning sacrifice that allows me to return to Him and my Father in Heaven, and I'm thankful that He restored His church to the earth. Because of that, I'm a Mormon.
Why I am a Mormon
The oldest of 8, I was raised in the church by wonderful parents who are both descendants of early Mormon pioneers. Yet, I still had to go through my own conversion process. As a teen I was happy living the gospel and preparing for a mission, and I gained the bulk of my testimony of the gospel simply by living gospel principles and reaping the peace and blessings that followed. However, during that time I also decided that I needed to know for sure that the church was true. Since the Book of Mormon is physical, tangible evidence that Joseph Smith was indeed the prophet of the restoration, I determined to follow Moroni's promise in Moroni 10:3-5 (namely to read the Book of Mormon, ponder its teachings and pray to know of its truthfulness). After I finished reading the Book of Mormon I knelt to pray and asked Heavenly Father if it was true. The answer I got was a bit unexpected, but exactly what I needed to hear. Instead of a burning in the bosom or a lightning bolt from heaven a simple thought came to my mind: "why are you asking IF the Book of Mormon is true when you already KNOW the Book of Mormon is true?" It was true that I was asking a question I already knew the answer to. For me it was as President Hinckley once said: "No one, I am satisfied, can prayerfully read the Book of Mormon without coming to a knowledge that it is what it purports to be, and that is another witness of the Lord Jesus Christ speaking out of the dust to those of this generation concerning the Redeemer of the world." Through reading the Book of Mormon and the Bible I came to know, understand and accept my Savior Jesus Christ. I also had tangible evidence that Joseph Smith was the Lord's mouthpiece and that we have living prophets and apostles today who speak the will of God for our times. As I served the Lord as a full-time missionary my testimony was strengthened and became unshaken through the experiences I had serving others as an ordained representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How I live my faithSome have wondered why I give so much of my time serving in the church or how I survive three hrs of Sunday meetings. The answer is simple: being a Mormon/Latter-day Saint/disciple of Christ is a 24/7 gig. Striving to follow Christ, serve Him and become like him is a lifelong endeavor, not just a holiday or once a week thing. The person I am at church on Sunday is the same person I strive to be every other day of the week. Yes, I am imperfect and I make mistakes, but I have taken Christ's name upon me through baptism and there are no vacations from my obligation to keep that and other sacred covenants I have made with the Lord. Part of that is sharing the gospel. I don't force it on anyone, but the gospel means so much to me in my life I can't help but share it with the hope that it will be as precious to someone else who is searching for truth.
The church has no paid local clergy so every member gets to pitch in and help. In my recent service in the church, I have been a leader for the adult men in my congregation. In this capacity I coordinate philanthropic, instructional and community service efforts for a group of more than 80 men. One important aspect of this calling is organizing the men in pairs as home teachers who go monthly to the homes of different families in our congregation to lend a helping hand and teach the gospel. I've also had the opportunity to organize and lead groups of Latter-day Saints to volunteer at community events like Battle Creek's World's Longest Breakfast Table and clean up after a Tornado that hit our community. We worked hand in hand with the members of another Christian church to help clean up after the roof was blown off their building of worship. In other callings I have worked with the teenage young men in scouting, service and spiritual development activities. Other callings I've had included emergency preparedness coordinator, teacher and coordinator of the local missionary work.