Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Prayer is extremely important to me. When I was a missionary, the President of the mission taught me a lot about prayer. The main thing that he taught me was to try to express exactly how I felt to God. If something was weighing on my mind all day, then that something was the most important thing for me to discuss with my Father in Heaven. He also taught me that I should be specific and thorough in speaking with God. This may seem like an awkward idea - trying to have an intimate conversation with someone you can't see, but it has changed my life.

When my wife and I talk about our child (that she is currently carrying) it keeps us close together, because it is something that is very important to both of us. Discussing anything of that nature will bring two people closer together. Everything that is important to you or me is important to God. He is literally our Father. He is like the father we have here, except that He is perfect in every way. I know that He wants us to discuss our lives with Him. He wants us to know Him as a Father. As I have tried to pray as my mission president taught me, I have learned more about how close He is to us. I know that He watches over us and that He is in our lives every day.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Family - The Fundamental Unit of Society

I had the opportunity, when I was 19 years old, to serve as a missionary for my Church. I lived in Cape Verde, Africa, for about 2 years; while I was there I met people from Europe, Africa, South America, and also other North Americans. As friendships grew between people from diverse nations, often the conversation would turn to what life was like in these different countries.

I began to notice that many of the other North Americans (in particular those from the USA) often described how Americans thought and acted very differently from how I would've described things. I also noticed that different people from other countries did similar things. After having this experience over and over again, I began to see the difference: in most cases, when you ask someone about their country, they will describe their family to you.

Some families probably are typical of a country, and most are influenced by the country in which they live, but every family has distinct characteristics that come from that family's identity. Sometimes this produced a stark contrast: I met one man from a country with a well-known history of racism, whose culture continues to be stained with racial prejudice. (this is not meant to single out any country, I think it would be a valid criticism of many countries) This particular young man went to school in this country. He was taught the same curriculum, read the same books, heard the same political commentaries, but he was completely open-minded, and not in the least bit racist.

One lesson I have learned from this is that the family has a stronger influence on people than anything else. Our families shape the way that we see the world, and the lessons we learn at home have the power to influence us more than what happens everywhere else. I know that family is precious. Most often families have difficulties, but I know that our greatest joys and the greatest good we can do is with our own family. No matter how the world views us, each of us really is who we are at home.