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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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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Bravery and Love of Family

The decisions that have shaped María Felipa García Pérez’s life haven’t been made because they were the easy ones, but because they were the right ones. Her love of family and love of the Savior have given her the strength to have difficult conversations with family about her baptism, to serve a mission, and then […]

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Valentía y Amor de Familia

Las decisiones que dieron forma a la vida de María Felipa García Pérez no se tomaron por su facilidad, sino porque fueron las correctas. Su amor por familia y por el Salvador le han dado la fuerza para tener conversaciones difíciles con su familia sobre su bautismo,  hacer una misión, y luego regresar de la […]

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Taking His Name Upon Me

Mary Xavier was born and raised in Bangalore, India. She and her family were introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when she was a teenager. Mary experienced true conversion while teaching the basic principles and truths of the gospel in Primary where she served as the president. Throughout her life, Mary […]

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Kingdom in the Sky

Leetoane Mats’aba describes herself as “a happy soul filled with promises and blessing of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.” She lives in Lesotho, the Southern African country sometimes called Kingdom in the Sky because of its lofty elevation. After losing both of her parents, she was drawn to the truth of the restored gospel […]

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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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A Culture of Faith

Anne Apuakehau grew up in a religious home in Bangalore, India. Following her third oldest sister’s baptism, Anne listened to the missionaries and gained her own testimony. She and many members of her family were baptized and became some of the first members of the Church in India. Anne became a passionate member missionary and […]

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Creating Zion

Maryan Myres Shumway uses art, music, and teaching to build community and cultivate “Zion” wherever she is. She has traveled all over the world, living most of the year in Qatar and spending summers in the United States where she and her husband run a girls ranch. Maryan is the oldest of nine children, and […]

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At Peace With Doubt

Eline Strand-Amundsen is a life-long member of the Church from Oslo, Norway. Raised in a family committed to the Church, Eline grew up with the gospel as a central part of her life, the lens through which she saw the world. She married in the temple, but six years into their marriage her husband Runar […]

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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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Threads of Faith

As a seamstress with a special spot in her heart for the traditional Chilean cueca dresses, Maria Teresa Toro Valenzuela knows how to modify and improve on a good pattern.  Having been ‘born of goodly parents,’ Maria Teresa joined the church as a young mother.  Threads of love of family, country and the gospel now run through […]

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Los Hilos Del Amor

Una costurera con un lugar especial en su corazón para ” la cueca,” los trajes típicos chilenos, Maria Teresa Toro Valenzuela sabe cómo modificar y mejorar un buen patrón. Después de haber “nacido de buenos padres,” María Teresa se unió a la iglesia siendo una madre joven. Los hilos del amor por la familia, el país y el evangelio ahora se entretejen […]

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Running With God

Merrecia James discovered her passion for running at an early age, as she navigated growing up in Jamaica. Running was an escape from poverty and from sexual assault, and provided a door to immigration and education in the United States. Merrecia always had a strong belief in God, but it wasn’t until she was introduced […]

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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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Be Transformed by the Renewal of Your Mind

Mariana Castro Heath has traveled around the world for her studies and her archeological work. Born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal, Mariana graduated with a BA in Archeology and Anthropology with Honors at BYU, and is now an Ertegun Scholar and MPhil Candidate in Classical Archeology at the University of Oxford. She has been described […]

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All the Women Should Be There

Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye grew up in the Church. She earned her BA and her Ph.D. from Harvard University and now teaches history at University of Auckland in New Zealand. She and her husband, Joseph, are the parents of four children. You have a long family history in the Church. Can you outline it for me? […]

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Un Apprentissage Parmi les Enfants de Dieu

Read this interview in English. Élodie Picard a rencontré et épousé son mari Paul en France, mais la carrière de ce dernier pour l’armée Française, puis avec des organisations internationales de maintien de la paix, les ont menés aux États-Unis, au Tajikistan et maintenant en Autriche. Élodie et ses enfants ont souvent été séparés de […]

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Learning From All God’s Peoples

Lire cette interview en français Élodie Picard met and married her husband Paul in France, but his career in the French military and with international peacekeeping organizations took them to the US, Tajikistan and now Austria. She and the children have often been separated from Paul as he has traveled to other countries, where he […]

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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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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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Trail Blazing in Belgium

When Linda Vergauwen joined the Church in Belgium in 1978, neither she nor her friends and family knew anything about Mormons. Today, Linda is a pillar of the Church in Flemish Belgium and the principal of an elementary school, proving that she has earned her community’s trust despite her membership. Linda describes the challenges of raising children in a community where the Church is small and growing slowly, going to the temple with no preparation, and the joy that comes from a life of dedicated service to the Savior.

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Choosing God and Abundance

McArthur Krishna did not expect to be where she is. And the path she took to get there was an unusual one. McArthur lives in rural India, an overnight train ride from the nearest LDS Church congregation and a world apart from her former life in Washington DC. But her unique experiences have confirmed to her the importance of maintaining her personal relationship with God and trusting in His ways. The result, she says, is an abundant life filled with vibrancy and delight. McArthur is a co-author of the book, ‘Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Courageous Women from the Bible.’ Writing about women who choose to follow God is one way that McArthur feels actively connected to her faith.

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An Advocate of Faith

Laura Asioli made two important life decisions before she was ten years old. She decided she wanted to be baptized in the LDS Church, and she decided to become a lawyer. Laura says that as she studied law, she often felt the Spirit confirming to her that justice and divinity are closely intertwined. Today she is a solicitor practicing compliance law in the City of London. In this interview she reflects on balancing her Italian and English cultures, navigating a career while raising her two young children, and realizing that sometimes unexpected blessings come about after unexpected failures.

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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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PEOPLE LIKE US DO THINGS LIKE THAT

Raquel Cook’s biography so far might read like an adventure novel—living and working in Korea, meeting the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, studying at Oxford University, surviving the violence of 9/11 in New York City—but she’d rather you wrote your own adventure. Now a professor of education, Raquel reflects on her unique path and how she encourages her students to get out and see the world. And she explains how her study of world religions helped her better appreciate her own Mormonism. “There is truth everywhere,” Raquel says, “and there is happiness everywhere, and there is beauty everywhere, and people are good. Ugly is rare. People are just beautiful and good.”

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Une Pionnière à Paris

Lorsque Josiane Lazeras avait treize ans, elle s’est fait baptisée et a rejoint un petit groupe très uni de Saints des derniers jours près de Paris, France. Tandis que l’évangile l’a aidée à se développer spirituellement, Josiane a trouvé également que l’église a encouragé sa créativité et ses talents. En plus, elle a été encouragé à considérer l’importance des “mères en Israel,” un rôle dans lequel l’amour, la spiritualité, et l’action se mélangent. La maternité, dit-elle–comme l’évangile du Christ–est un stimulus: “Ça vous pousse à l’action. C’est quelque chose qui vous permet d’aller plus loin que votre propre force ne vous le permettrait.”

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A Pioneer in Paris

When Josiane Lazeras was thirteen, she was baptized and joined a small, close-knit group of pioneering Latter-day Saints near Paris, France. Even as the gospel helped her develop spiritually, Josiane found that the Church also encouraged her creativity and talents. And it made her consider the significance of becoming “a mother in Israel,” where love, spirituality, and action combine. Motherhood, she says—like the gospel of Christ—is a stimulant: “It pushes you to action. It’s something that permits you to go beyond your strength.”

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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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La priorité, c’est la famille – En Francais

Annie Bush est devenue membre de l’Eglise à l’âge de 16 ans, alors qu’elle vivait à Bordeaux en France. En tant que traductrice pour l’Église, elle a passé des années à donner vie au Liahona, aux écritures, et aux manuels de l’Église dans sa langue maternelle. Au cours de tout ce travail, Annie dit que sa priorité a toujours été sa famille.

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The Priority Is Family – In English

Annie Bush joined the Church in her native Bordeaux, France at the age of 16. Working as a translator for the Church, Annie spent years immersed in bringing The Ensign, the scriptures, and church manuals to life in her mother tongue of French. Through it all, Annie says her priority has been her family.

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Global Mom

Melissa Dalton Bradford raised four children in the midst of an international life: Norway, France, Singapore, Germany. But what appears glamorous to many has its costs, and Melissa honestly talks about the lack of community and permanence that has defined her years abroad. She also reveals how important those intangibles can be when struck with a tragedy, like the loss of her 18-year-old son in a drowning accident, and how we all can learn to mourn and comfort more compassionately. Melissa’s memoir, Global Mom: A Memoir, was published this summer.

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Recorded In Heaven

From Our New “Sisters Speak Out” Series: Angela Fallentine is a U.S. expat living in New Zealand. Angela has had a long career with the Church’s public affairs offices—but she recently gave one of her most significant public speeches as a private citizen, when she and her husband spoke before the New Zealand Parliament during debates on this year’s Definition of Marriage bill. Angela felt impressed to present teachings from “The Family: a Proclamation to the World,” an experience that reconfirmed her commitment to the doctrine of eternal families.

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Loving Through Language

Although the product of a Mexican mother, a Peruvian father and an Ecuadorian mission, Maria Babin always had a special love for France. Now living in Paris as a mother to four children, Maria adapts and innovates in her efforts to teach her children three different languages: English, Spanish and French.

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"My Life Changed Completely" – en Español

María Lucia Batioja balanceaba ser a la vez un converso a la Iglesia y un inmigrante a los Estados Unidos desde Argentina. Ella cuenta su historia de ser una niña jugando en los huertos en una pequeña granja en Argentina, su valiente decisión de venir a los Estados Unidos, unirse a la iglesia, y su esfuerzo continuo para construir una vida para sí misma en un nuevo país como madre, un latinoamericano y un mormón.

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"My Life Changed Completely" – in English

Maria Lucia Batioja balances being both a convert to the church and an immigrant to the United States from Argentina. She tells her story of being a young girl playing in the orchards on a small farm in Argentina, her courageous decision to come to the United States and join the church, and her continual effort to build a life for herself in a new country as a mother, a Latin American, and a Mormon.

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Her Version of Having It All

Marie-Laure Oscarson suggests that “having it all” means something different for everyone. For her—a mother, a university professor, and a convert to the LDS Church—it comes down personal revelation about specific life choices regarding her family, her profession, and her religion. Marie-Laure’s path has included the Catholic faith, French existentialist philosophy, a curiosity about the Amish lifestyle, and the Mormon missionaries who helped rekindle her faith in God’s love.

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Reflections on the Divine

As the co-author with her husband of the highly popular book, “The God Who Weeps,” Fiona Givens has thought deeply about the character of God and her responsibility to search out that true character in the scriptures. In this interview, she shares her personal reflections on how she searches for God’s true character, how her Catholic background has aided in her understanding of Christ’s importance, and how she passes that sacred knowledge to her children.

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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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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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Personal Revolutions

As the 19-year-old daughter of a Communist leader, Rostya defected from Czechoslovakia in 1969 after the country was invaded. Although raised atheist, a powerful conversion experience while living in Brazil has led Rostya to a lifetime of dedicated service to the church abroad, culminating now in her position as Director of National Director for Public Affairs for Czech Republic. From Prague, Rostya vibrantly describes her life of faith and revolution.

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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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Goodness Has A Lunge to It

Raised in Bahrain and Dubai as the daughter of a falconer, Catharine had early exposure to the life cycles and rituals of animals, which deeply informed her understanding of the gospel. Today, she embraces the complexity and messiness of life, believing that answers to spiritual questions come from lifelong wrestles with God and interaction with other members of our church communities.

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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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Always In Style

Trained as a doctor, Jenny Sato abandoned her medical practice when she left her native China to marry her Japanese husband. Now in Yokohama, Jenny is engaged in volunteer work and lending her varied talents to the expatriate community there. She focuses on her new membership in the Gospel and her 12-year-old son.

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"Just Go For A Year and See"

Janet Hirano moved to Japan in her 20s to teach English for one year and ended up staying for 50. She married and raised a family, overcoming obstacles such as learning a new language, initial disapproval from her husband’s family, and her children enduring teasing for being “foreigners.” Janet recounts the importance of the Church in transitioning to her adopted country, how commitment and a sense of humor have helped her navigate the cultural waters, and that in some ways, she’s now more Japanese than American.

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A Measure of the Spirit

Although born and raised in Lebanon, Joumana left Beirut for Paris to complete her studies as an artist. But it was when she joined the Church, through a friend in Lebanon, that she came into her own as an artist. Today, Joumana’s stunning paintings are infused with gospel symbolism and a measure of the Spirit that makes them undeniably moving.

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Une Empreinte de l’Esprit

Née et élevée au Liban, Joumana a quitté Beirut pour poursuivre ses études d’art à Paris. Mais c’est en découvrant l’Église par une amie au Liban qu’elle a trouvé sa propre voix d’artiste. Maintenant, les œuvres éblouissantes de Joumana sont imprégnées d’un symbolisme et d’une mesure d’Esprit qui leur permet de toucher les cœurs des gens. Comment avez-vous avez […]

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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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So Many Miracles

As a Protestant growing up in Northern Ireland, Florence Slease experienced first hand the extreme conflict between people of her faith and the neighboring Catholics. In her highly engaging conversational style, Florence describes her lost Catholic friend, her abusive early marriage, the miracle of joining the Church and the joy and triumph that has blossomed from her colorful childhood.

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Never Alone With the Gospel

French sisters Véronique and Adeline both credit their mother with their love of music and the fact that they both make their living in music. Both unmarried, they appreciate the fulfillment that comes from interacting with so many children and embrace the opportunity to have an impact on young lives. They also have an impact on their mother, who they care for in their home. Their generosity of spirit and their willingness to engage deeply with others contributes to their rich enjoyment of a fully productive life.

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Une Vie Pleinement Productive

Read this interview in English. Racontez-moi d’abord un peu comment c’était de grandir dans l’église en France Adeline : Nos parents se sont convertis plusieurs années avant notre naissance. Véronique : Dans les années soixante. Adeline : Voilà, et donc nous sommes nées dans l’église, nous avons bénéficié tout de suite d’une éducation religieuse, et ça s’est très […]

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A Champion Inside and Out

Involved in fitness training since high school, mother of three Claire Harries recently became a body-building champion in Holland. A native of South Africa who recently moved back to her home country, Claire talks about how body building has contributed to her mental and spiritual strength, her competitive nature, and her talent for entrepreneurship, including a surprising business for a body-builder: cake decorating.

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…Somewhere He Opens A Window

As an ambitious young lawyer pursuing her doctorate at The Hague, The Netherlands, Dagmar was introduced to the Church through her roommate. After serving a mission at age 29, Dagmar landed her dream job on the Yugoslavia Tribunal at The Hague, only to give it up when she was specifically recruited to work instead in the Church’s public affairs department for Europe. Now as a mother and wife, Dagmar still works part-time as a general counsel to the Church in Frankfurt, Germany. It has sometimes been painful and lonely for her to follow those doors that have been opened to her and leave behind those that have been shut, but she believes the Lord is aware of her and is making use of her tremendous skills.

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From Sea to Shining Sea

Missy Martz, a former atheist, is married to a marine who has been deployed five years out of their eleven-year marriage and is presently stationed in Okinawa, Japan. She talks about her incredible conversion as she traveled around the country in search of meaning, and then discusses how the gospel has balanced her life and supported her during difficult times while she is far from home and family while her husband is deployed for long periods of time.

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A Different Kind of Pioneer

Bindu Sabbavarapu joined the church in her hometown of Visakhapatnam, India, in the face of cultural and familial barriers. She married another Indian Mormon and together they are striving to pursue lives that bear witness to their families of the goodness of the gospel. Soon after her marriage, Bindu immigrated to the United States, where she and her husband are pursuing advanced degrees and raising their 10-month-old baby girl. Although the gospel transcends culture, Bindu’s interview reflects the challenge of practicing a religion in a nation where Christians and Mormons in particular are a significant minority.

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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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To Smile and Talk Again

Agnes is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Although a witness to devastating horrors, Agnes has embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ taught by the first missionaries in Rwanda, Brother and Sister Andrus, and is working to forgive those who killed her family. Agnes recently graduated from university and works as an accountant in a hotel in Kigali.

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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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Embracing A Culture of Faith

Julia Klebingat grew up in Riga, Latvia, which was then part of the Soviet Union. Introduced to the Church when Brigham Young University’s Legacy Dixieland Band performed in her hometown, she married at 19 and attended Ricks College. Julia recounts the culture shock she experienced getting married, joining the Church and moving to the United States in such a short time, and the blessings that have come into her life since that time. She is preparing to move from Frankfurt, Germany, to Kiev, Ukraine, to serve alongside her husband, who will preside in the Ukraine, Kiev mission.

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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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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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The Way Already Prepared

Shu-Chih grew up in Taiwan, came to the United States by herself as a teenager and joined the Mormon Church. She had to overcome many obstacles, including family disapproval, living in a foreign country and raising three kids as a single mom. Shu-Chih is an accomplished artist and owns her own art school where she teaches a growing Chinese population in Irvine, CA.

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Enthusiasm and Endurance

Introduced to the gospel as a teenager in her native Hungary, Ildikó had to wait four years to be baptized due to her family’s disapproval. Ildikó discusses the challenges of joining a community that is still small in Hungary, marrying another Hungarian member and raising her three children in the Church there. She expresses confidence in the Savior’s role as head of the Church, the practical and spiritual safety that comes from living by its principles, and benefits of raising her children in the gospel.

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Bearing Her Testimony in a Different Way

After graduating with her master’s of public health degree from Yale, Trang Thach moved to Romania to research drinking water with the aid of a Fulbright Grant. Her search for a career, along with her family history and temple work for ancestors from Vietnam, has helped strengthen her testimony of God’s love and mercy.

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Peace Through Conflict

Raised near Bethlehem, only a few blocks away from the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Sahar Qumsiyeh intimately knows places that are considered holy by many religions. However, this significant area is marked by conflict and war, and as a Palestinian, Sahar faced barriers (both figurative and literal) to joining the Church. In this interview, Sahar describes how her introduction to the Church and understanding of the gospel enabled her to overcome the feelings of anger and frustration that accompanied her life in this turbulent region.

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I Am Home

Heather Willoughby discovered she had a destiny: To study ethnomusicology and return to teach it in the beloved country of her mission, Korea. Now a professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, the largest women’s university in the world, Heather teaches comparative culture classes, as well as classes on gender and human rights. She has a special appreciation for Pansori, a traditional Korean music, and feels a deep spiritual connection to this country she loves.

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Coming to Know Him Who Suffered

On June 10, 1990, Galina Goncharova became the first member of the Church to be baptized in Moscow, in what was then the Soviet Union. In this interview she describes her journey to the Church, the ravages of alcoholism on her family, and how the gospel has helped her to forgive and given her power to change her relationships with others.

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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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Nothing Short of A Miracle

From Dublin, Ireland, Gina talks candidly about her struggle with infertility. A lawyer by training and a convert to the Church, Gina overcame a fear of doctors and hospitals to complete IVF treatments, resulting in the birth of her daughter Ella. Gina reveals a deep gratitude for her supportive husband, although not a member of the Church himself, and their precious daughter.

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The Spirit of the Islands

Born into the Church in Samoa in 1944, Safalaia attended Brigham Young University, Hawaii, and was among the first group of dancers to open the Polynesian Cultural Center in 1962. Safalaia describes how the PCC helped her gain a greater appreciation for her own culture and for the church’s missionary program.

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I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go

As her name suggests, Ruth epitomizes wise, eternal choices: After being the only one in her family to join the church in her native Bolivia, Ruth came to the United States to pursue additional training as a dentist. The death of her first child was crushing, but she chose to endure two more pregnancies, each resulting in a healthy child although requiring months of bed rest. She is currently pregnant a fourth time. Ruth discusses how she uses her time while on bed rest, how she uses her dental skills for good, and how she appreciates being able to spend time with her children.

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A Better Doctor, A Better Christian

After serving a mission in her native Venezuela, Ines Pinate married another returned missionary only to have the marriage end three years later in a divorce. Now, with an 8-year-old son, this single mother is attending medical school. In her interview, Ines expresses her love for her Heavenly Father and explains how being a doctor helps her be a better Christian.

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“Just Call Me Ruth”

After being able to have only one child, Ruth Renlund became a personal injury trial lawyer. At the peak of a long and fulfilling professional life, Ruth has now become the wife of a General Authority serving in South Africa. In her interview, Ruth discusses the challenges of having an only child within Church culture, and how she’s transitioned from being an independent professional to to serving with her husband in a foreign country.

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As Joseph in Egypt

In 2000, Thérèse Kanyanga was living in the Republic of the Congo as a wife and the mother of seven children when her husband, Gilbert, mysteriously disappeared. Thérèse discovered he had been accused of treason and exiled to South Korea. For the next six years, Thérèse raised her children alone. In 2006, she was able to join Gilbert in Seoul where she was baptized into the Church.

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"They Came!"

A 1983 issue of Reader’s Digest introduced Dominique Lam-Yam to the Church while she was living with an abusive father on the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean. She spent the next three years searching for the Church organization, with no success. Finally, two missionaries knocked on her door, launching her on a path of hope and triumph over challenge.

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A Blog of One’s Own

An American student at the University of Leipzig, in Germany, Michelle has spent the last two years studying “mommy blogs” and writing her Masters thesis on the subject. Michelle describes what motivated her to study in Germany, how her church experience is different there, and why Mormon women have special justifications for keeping blogs.

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The Small World of the Gospel

The first time Faustina Otoo went to church, in Nigeria in 1985, the members’ love made her feel like she was in a “wonderland”. Since that day, Faustina’s journey in the church has taken her back to her native land of Ghana where she now serves as the front office receptionist at the Africa West Area office complex at the Accra Ghana temple. As the single mother of two children, Faustina is especially proud that her daughter is about to graduate from college.

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Lost in Learning

As a teenager in Sophia, Bulgaria, Eva sought for truth and found the restored Gospel. Now a mother of three living in the United States, Eva’s passion for learning continues to drive her personal and professional pursuits: “Lost in Learning”, the culmination of her work as a professional photographer, features the original manuscripts and objects used by the world’s great discoverers as they too sought for truth. Eva homeschools her children so that they can share in her search for knowledge.

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Choosing Between Two Rights

In 2001 at age 20, Chelsea Strayer escaped cultural pressure to marry young by following a childhood dream: She bought an airplane ticket and enrolled at the University of Ghana. Chelsea spent the past year living in Ghana again, studying the healing ceremonies of traditional spiritual priests for her PhD dissertation research. She discusses the abundance of divergent but equally good choices in her life and how she’s learned to be true to herself.

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The LDS Women Project

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