BORN TO BE A NURSE

One year ago, quarantine lockdowns were announced in the United States due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Jennie Leininger’s job as a medical-surgical nurse in Washington changed but the spiritual connection of serving our sisters and brothers with health challenges remained the same. How did the pandemic change your job as a nurse? The general […]

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BLACK LIVES MATTER TO CHRIST

Melodie Jackson grew up in a predominantly Black community in Mississippi and did not become fully aware of racial and social justice issues within the Church and in the United States until she served a full-time mission in Brazil and attended BYU in Utah. In response to the societal turmoil over the high-profile murders of […]

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Standing for Stockton

Alyson Deussen is the mother of a gay son, Stockton, who came out at age 13 and died by suicide in 2016 at age 17. Alyson serves her community by supporting LGBT teens and young adults coming out, who may be estranged from their family, as well as focusing on suicide prevention. She and her […]

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EDIFICANDO HOGARES Y FAMILIAS EN EL EVANGELIO

Afrodita Reyes fue entre los primeros miembros de la Iglesia en la República Dominicana. Ella y su esposo han escogido enfocar su vida en servicio a otros, ayudándoles a ver que son también hijos de Dios. (Click here to read the interview in English.) Me llamo Afrodita. Estoy casada 31, casi 32 años. Tengo 3 […]

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Building Homes and Families in the Gospel

Afrodita Reyes was an early member of the Church in the Dominican Republic. She and her husband have chosen to focus their lives on service to others, helping them to see that they are also children of God. (Haz clic aquí para leer la entrevista original en español.) My name is Afrodita. I have been […]

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Pitfalls, Promises & Patience

While in a stressful life situation, Jocelyn Pedersen was prescribed a category of antianxiety drugs called benzodiazepines. She was severely injured by trying to withdraw too rapidly from the medication and now works to educate patients and doctors about the effects of these drugs and how to heal from the trauma. What was the beginning […]

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Finding Empowerment in Recovery

Sara Walker is working toward becoming a therapist to help women going through their own recovery process from their husbands’ addiction to pornography. Please introduce yourself and your situation. My husband and I had been married for three months when he told me he’d been looking at porn. We’ve now been married for almost twenty […]

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Healing Found in Family History

Miyamoto Jensen came home from her mission depressed and anxious. She found healing and purpose in doing her family genealogy. Her work as a professional genealogist has informed how she thinks about the gospel, family, race, and trauma.  You are a family historian and genealogist. How did you get started in that field of work? […]

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I Know That My Redeemer Lives

On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down over Kigali. That moment was like “oil on fire,” setting off the devastating Rwandan Genocide. Yvonne Baraketse’s father, Chief of Staff of the Rwandan army, was also on the airplane and killed in the attack. Yvonne was 14 years […]

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Saving Santa Cruz Sheep

Paula Garner always wanted to be a farmer. As an adult, the opportunity arose to care for a small flock of Santa Cruz sheep, a critically endangered breed. Due to her husband’s job moves, they have transported their animals from California to Louisiana to Connecticut. The Garners have one of the largest flocks of Santa […]

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Building a Future of Hope

Ruth Yeboah is a passionate advocate for women. Born in Ivory Coast, she immigrated to the Bronx, New York as a young teen. Ruth was raised in a religious home where she developed a love for Jesus Christ and a Christian life. She went on to become a Child Protective Specialist, a foster care system […]

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By Divine Design

Listen to this interview at the Mormon Women Project podcast, available on all platforms. Kristin Hodson is the founder and executive director of The Healing Group. As a LCSW and Certified Sex Therapist, she specializes in maternal mental health and healthy sexuality. In this interview she discusses issues regarding sexuality that are unique to conservative religious cultures, […]

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To Work on the Word of God

Sveinbjörg Guðmundsdóttir translated most of the Book of Mormon into Icelandic, beginning in 1977. She had joined the Church in 1976 after two missionaries knocked on her door and taught her the restored gospel. When approached by Church representatives about translating the Book of Mormon, Sveinbjörg quit her job and humbly accepted the assignment. She […]

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Hummingbird

At five feet tall, Esther Yu Sumner has a big vision for life. The 39-year-old marketing professional, now a published children’s author, is always in pursuit of her next creation—her energy and creativity has led her friends to call her a “hummingbird.” Whether she is sewing an apron for her niece, making grape juice from […]

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The Creative Impulse

Erica Glenn believes in the power of music and the healing process of creativity, and has seen from experiences around the world how creativity fosters communities. She started composing her own music from a very young age and has written and produced her own musicals, including The Weaver of Raveloe, which was performed at the […]

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The Lord Really is Kind

Cecilie Lundgreen, known as CC, is a Norwegian professional golfer. As she was climbing the ranks of European pro golfers, she lost several loved ones in a short space of time. She became friends with two Mormon women golfers from Africa, her coach Reeve Nield and golf pro Laurette Maritz, who offered her a glimpse […]

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Their Story is Our Story

Trisha Leimer was raising her family in Frankfurt, Germany when the global refugee crisis hit a tipping point in 2015. As she volunteered in and out of camps and continued to work with refugees, she developed personal relationships and realized how intertwined their stories are with our own. Together with five other people, she co-founded […]

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A Life in Full Color

As a refugee of the Spanish Civil War, Aïda was raised in France with two families: her Spanish family of birth and her adopted French host family. Her love of languages and art led to a rich life of creation as she wrote and illustrated children’s books and raised three children in Ottawa, Canada. As her sight has failed her in her later years, Aïda continues to fill her life with beauty.

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Ready to Blend

Heather Staker is the founder and president of Ready to Blend. She speaks and trains about blended learning, which is any formal education program that combines brick-and-mortar schooling with online learning. She also co-founded and helps produce “Brain Chase,” an online-learning program for 2nd-8th grade students that involves a worldwide hunt for buried treasures. In this interview she talks about the experiences that helped shape her professional interest in improving schools, how she’s felt “quickened” in her efforts to balance motherhood and career pursuits, and her views on the need for a nuanced approach to screen time for kids.

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Life, By Design

Always a “mother at heart,” Alyson Von Feldt is an organization design consultant, author, speaker, published religious scholar, seminary teacher, and mom of four. She discusses her forays in and out of the workforce, the blessings of scripture study, and how she’s integrated theories from her profession into a more mindful family life.

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Where Her Truth Is

Morgan Lyon Cotti grew up with a mom who worked in politics. These early experience shaped in own future as she stepped into advanced education and made choices about work, marriage, and motherhood, managing the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. She shares her experiences in these areas – and current thoughts on women in politics.

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School, Sacrifice, and Service

Although raised on an Idaho potato farm, Rachel Esplin Odell is now a PhD student in International Relations at MIT with a focus on Asian security issues. Her decision to study Chinese and become an expert in Chinese international affairs occurred while she was an undergraduate at Harvard, and Rachel feels a spiritual draw to being a representative of the Church in Chinese affairs. Speaking eloquently of the sacrifices and balances of being in a dual career marriage with her husband, who is also a PhD student, Rachel talks about her desire to contribute to and draw from her home community and parent her 18-month-old son with her husband.

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Following the Spirit During Life’s Twists

At the age of 50, Sally Murray didn’t have a passport and never dreamed she’d find herself living across the world. But a prompting by the Spirit lead her and her family to Ghana, Africa where she involved herself in helping with schools and fundraising for supplies for the children. Sally learned valuable lessons in love, humility, and an increased capacity to feel the Spirit.

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Choosing Good and Making Change

Bethany Brady Spalding takes her knack for dissatisfaction and turns it into life-giving action. Whether she’s planting gardens for at-risk children, directing community health programs, or sharing scripture stories with her own daughters, Bethany tries to build positivity and partnership. Bethany is a co-author of the book, ‘Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Courageous Women from the Bible.’ She believes that telling women’s stories is vital for our spiritual health.

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We Are Made for Love and Light

Rachel von Niederhausern has always had a passion for humanitarian work, but she wasn’t sure what she would do with an MBA until she realized she was meant to be a social entrepreneur. “I care about social change and I love serving people,” explains Rachel. She has co-founded two non-profit organizations and is now on the board of Family Humanitarian Experience, which empowers communities of developing countries through village-driven, sustainable projects. Rachel talks here about how she’s managed to meld her education, talents, and interests with her family life, including how she encourages her four children to discover joy in service, and how her own life of service helps her find peace of mind.

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A Calling and a Purpose

“It was a few years, a million tears, countless Mother’s Days hiding in the bathroom at church, doctor’s visits, medications, more tears, and lots of nieces and nephews before I understood that I was not going to be a mother in this lifetime.”

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Miraculous Ways

A job loss. A family member’s illness. A cancer diagnosis. All difficult trials, made even more difficult when they all happen at the same time. Olivia Luk and her family faced this unimaginable series of events in 2002. They met their challenges with tears, prayers, and faith—the kind of faith that Olivia had developed when she joined the Church as a young woman in Hong Kong. And she found that Heavenly Father responded to her family’s needs in unexpected ways.

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Toujours à Servir et à Aider Les Autres

Bérengère Doby s’est toujours considérée comme altruiste, et elle cherche des moyens de mettre son amour en pratique. Son enfance dans le sud de la France a mené à sa service missionnaire en Suisse et puis une carrière en santé. Récemment elle a mis à côté sa carrière en podologie pour élever ses enfants. Dans cet interview, Bérengère parle des leçons qu’elle avait apprises en tant que missionnaire, qui l’ont préparée au mariage, à la maternité, et à une vie de service.

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To Always Serve and Love

Bérengère Doby says she has always had an altruistic personality, and looks for ways to put love and into practice. Her childhood in southern France led to her mission service in Switzerland, and then a career in health care. Now she has put a career in podiatry on hold to raise her children. Bérengère talks here about how the lessons she learned as a missionary prepared her for marriage, motherhood, and a life of service.

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PATIENCE AND JOY

A Nigerian mother raising her family in France, Patience Omorodion is inspired by a line that her own mother used to sing, “I will build the house of God before my own.” Patience was baptized at age eighteen and has found the LDS Church to be a home full of happiness throughout challenges and changes. As she lives and shares the gospel, Patience says that her desire to serve comes from, “Just having the love of God in our heart and the love of all mankind. For when you love Heavenly Father’s children you’ll be able to use the language that He has for them. You’ll be able to hear.”

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Cherish One Another

Cathy Stokes is a firebrand, common-sense Mormon. A pioneering member who was baptized in 1979, Cathy’s willingness to speak her mind has shaped her faith and helped bridged gaps among members of the church. Cathy recalls some painful memories of growing up in Mississippi, shares a beautiful reflection on tenderness, recites her favorite hymn, and speaks of the abounding goodness of God and the strength of Mormon women.

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The Shining Light of Oakland

Betty Stevenson grew up in an African-American community near San Francisco. After spiraling through abusive relationships, drug dealing and jail, she joined the Church. Betty served for many years as the Relief Society president of the newly formed Oakland Ninth Branch, composed of some of Oakland’s poorest neighborhoods, and she is the founder of an organization that hosts free football camps. In addition, Betty is raising her three great-grandchildren.

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Lisa’s Courage

As the composer and lyricist of “Nephi’s Courage,” Lisa Hansen’s influence is felt in Primaries across the Church. But it is her work as the leader of a gay choir in Utah County that now occupies much of Lisa’s time. As a Marriage and Family Therapy graduate student at BYU, Lisa is a counselor for gay LDS youth and the author of a curriculum for LDS families of gay youth.

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The Heart of His Servant

Siu Man has been a member of the Church in Hong Kong for about 40 years. Despite a congenital heart defect that has kept her homebound for most of her life, Siu Man learned how to read from the Book of Mormon. Today, Siu Man serves her family by caring for aging family members, researching her ancestors and sharing her handiwork crafts with others.

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Defending Freedom in the Air Force

As a public health officer in the United States Air Force, Janice recently completed a year-long “hardship” tour at Kunsan Air Base in Korea. She is now stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and her military career has also included a six month tour in Afghanistan during which she assessed every medical station. Janice discusses the importance of fasting and prayer in her work, and the meaningful role of the Church in her service career.

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The Power of A Snowflake

Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill has dedicated her professional life to the study of peace and how to bring peace to the lives of women around the world. Both as a professor of psychology at Fordham University in New York City for 30 years and as the director of the Women’s Research Institute at BYU for 16 years, Bonnie has demonstrated the power of one to inspire kindness and love coupled with a fierce fight for women’s freedoms.

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Serving the Worldwide Village

Chris, Alisa and Christi are bound together not only by blood but by their affinity to a continent where they learned to love the people, the culture, and the soul of Africa. This love has passed from mother to daughter but now has expanded to friends and family around the world with Serve a Village, their NGO that supports sustainable projects to help improve the health, education, welfare and environment of needy communities throughout the world.

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Saving Lives, One Mother At A Time

Since her childhood days in Alberta, Canada, Dana Allison has been an advocate for women, and now she has dedicated her life to saving other lives: those of new mothers in underdeveloped countries. The 32-year-old executive director of Women’s World Health Initiative shares her experiences starting a nonprofit, transitioning to married life in England, and her hopes for women everywhere.

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A Humanitarian at Heart

Suzanne Harwood didn’t always want to be a nurse. In this article, she explains how she felt guided to nursing and how that decision has affected her life and the lives of countless others in Guatemala, India, TImor Leste, Mozambique and beyond.

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Believing In All Good

From Doha, Qatar, Erin Fairlight Olsen shares her adventures raising four children in co-parenting homeschool abroad. A doctrinal candidate with Jewish and Islamic influences in her spiritual heritage, Erin is doing research on women’s narratives of the Arab Spring and environmentalism in oil producing nations of the Gulf for her PhD in cultural sociology from University of California, San Diego.

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Holly on the Hill

As the first professional midwife elected to a state legislature in modern times, Holly Richardson already has an impressive influence. But her reach doesn’t end there: as the author of one of Utah’s most influential political blogs, Holly on the Hill, and as the mother of 24 children (20 adopted from 8 countries), Holly desire to serve, improve others’ lives and be involved in her community inspire countless people. Holly talks about her journey into adoption, the death of four of her children, her love of politics and her desire to follow the Spirit wherever it leads next.

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A Worldwide Sisterhood

Judy Dushku has built a life and career that suits her unique identity, although some may perceive contradictions in the multiple facets of her life: she was a single mother of four children who managed to introduce her children to world travel and people of many cultures; she is a stake Relief Society president whose husband is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; she is an accomplished academic and the founder of a nonprofit in Uganda that works with survivors of war. She describes how her life has evolved, the choices that have shaped her path, and the importance of sisterhood along the way.

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Taught In All the Learning

Born in Bolivia and raised in California, Dayan traveled the challenging road of becoming the first college graduate in her family. She knew she wanted to help young people like herself who had great potential, but often lacked the knowledge of how to go to college. Inspired by her 2007 Brigham Young University Thesis project, she founded Teens ACT, a nonprofit that helps at-risk students go to college.

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Living Proof

Faced with her husband’s liver failure, Amy Jones turned to the resource she knew best: homeopathic medicine. As a doula and childbirth educator, she had spent many years teaching herself about the body’s many wonders, but in the time of her husband’s crisis Amy taught herself about herbs, essential oils, and, most importantly, the divine powers that come from living the Word of Wisdom to the fullest. As the founder of the LDS Holistic Living Conference, Amy helps others discover the “hidden treasures of knowledge” that come from God’s natural gifts.

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I Too Must Give

During a trip to India in May 2010, mother-of-five Kirsten Monson discovered the beautiful artisan work of the local women and determined that she would provide a way for their work to reach a receptive market. The result was Elevita, a site that sells products from artisans in developing countries and then funnels all of the revenue back into the local communities. In this interview, Kirsten talks about the status of women in the countries she serves and the drive she feels from the Spirit to help them.

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The Wedding Ladies

Sandy Clark, Betty Ann Curtis, Terry Mastny, and BJ Medler met when they all lived in the same ward in Naperville, IL. As their children grew up and got married, they turned to each other for help in putting together wedding receptions. This helped them develop their talents and gain a reputation as the people to call to organize graduation parties, weddings, funerals, and community events. Through their shared service, they became lifelong friends, developed their talents, and deepened their testimonies of the gospel. Although they now live all over the country, they still get together regularly to work and play together.

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No Time To Stop

As an early member of the Church in Moscow, Tatiana was an essential contributor to the establishment of the gospel in Russia. For seven years, she led a choir of church members that sang hymns and folk songs, toured with their performances and recorded albums. Tatiana speaks astutely about the impact of Russian culture on spirituality in her country and about the tremendous work she’s put into building the Church in her homeland.

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A Savior To Her Family

Susan Anneveldt knows that, even though she is the only member of her family to join the Church in this life, her passion for family history work has led her deceased extended family members to the gospel through temple work. As a single woman caring for aging parents and living far away from her local branch in the Netherlands, Susan combats the plague of loneliness with her understanding of the gospel’s worldwide community and the assurance of eternal families.

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A Pillar of Faith in New Delhi

Swarupa Katuka was born and raised in India, joined the Church in 1988, and currently lives in New Delhi. In 1995, as the mother of two children, Swarupa decided to give her third child to family friends who couldn’t have any children of her own. In this interview, she shares an intimate look into her daily life, the state of the Church in India, and the relationship she has with her adopted daughter.

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Your Trial Is Your Greatest Treasure

A popular speaker to LDS youth and women around the world, Barbara Barrington Jones shares the events and lessons of her life that have allowed her to touch so many in her 24 years of public speaking. After a career as a ballet dancer and twelve years in an abusive marriage, Barbara married a much older man with whom she found the Church. With her trademark faith, strength and wit, Barbara tells her remarkable story and shares her pearls of wisdom.

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In Perfect Harmony

Liz Shropshire is the founder and director of the Shropshire Music Foundation, which provides free musical instruments and instruction to former child soldiers and refugees in Kosovo, Uganda, and Northern Ireland. Since 1999, more than 10,000 young people have participated in Shropshire Music Foundation classes.

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Experimenting On The Word

As a graduate of Caltech with a PhD in Chemistry, Elizabeth Krider understands science. She also understands that spiritual experiences are real. Elizabeth uses her knowledge of science and her faith in God to ask questions about how the world works, and she is now passing along that skill of scientific deductive reasoning to her children so that they, too, can understand the world around them.

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"Listen and Obey"

Teruko Nakayama was raised in a Japanese family in Hawaii and although her parents practiced Buddhism, she never had any formal religious training. Giving birth to her first child, though, motivated her to seek for truth. Now in her 80s, Teruko and her husband have served three missions for the Church.

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More Than Skin Deep (with Photo Essay)

Kimmie is featured in our first photo essay. After a difficult childhood, Kimmie joined the Church in Korea. Now a successful business owner, Kimmie talks about how the healing properties of the algae supplements from her cosmetics company help people overcome debilitating illness. She has started a non-profit to help those who can’t afford the treatments have access to their benefits.

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Help This Child

Vicki Dalia is the mother of eighteen children, eight of whom are adopted. She also runs a family business and a non-profit orphanage in Guatemala. She sees the hand of the Lord guiding her work helping children. In this interview, Vicki tells of the trials and rewards of establishing the orphanage and offers a helpful perspective on parenting and living a gospel-centered life.

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Teaching Inner Strength

In February 2001, Marilynn Clark visited Africa on a humanitarian expedition and the trip gave her a vision for her future work. She has since started Inside Out Learning, a system of teaching that introduces critical thinking, creativity, and moral perspectives to African school children. Marilynn discusses how humility and her experience in Church callings have made IOL possible.

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A Boundless Conversation

Raised as a Catholic in Rhode Island, Stephanie Soper experienced a powerful communication with God that led her to join the Church twenty years ago. Since then, she has developed her gifts of communicating with God and has used these gifts to provide intuitive readings and emotional healing work for others in the Church.

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Rooted In Learning

In 2005, Shannon Cox founded Haitian Roots, an organization that sends 133 needy Haitian children to school each year. Shannon recounts the unexpected adoption of her Haitian son and the ways it opened her heart and mind to the plight of Haiti’s strong-willed people. This young mother of four affirms the unexpected course of her life is not the consequence of coincidence but divine intervention.

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"To Whom My Heart Responds"

The mother four teenage children, Sally Read currently serves on the board of Rising Star Outreach, an organization whose mission is to help leprosy colonies in India become self-sufficient communities. Sally discusses the affect of global and local service on her children and how families everywhere can contribute to changing another person’s life.

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Service With A Smile

“Be useful” is Leslie Graff’s motto. Because of her training as a child life specialist, her youth in Turkey and her experiences on medical missions with Operation Smile, Leslie is committed to a life of global service and philanthropy, which, she proves, is not just for the wealthy. The sale of Leslie’s skilled paintings help fund her family’s giving.

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The LDS Women Project

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