My mother named me Joshua after Joshua in the Bible. I grew up in a Christian home. Both my mother and my grandmother were faithful church goers. From a very early age, I knew that God was real and that He has truth for us to find. My grandmother took me to church and read to me from the Bible regularly. When I was only a small boy I would tell her, “Something’s missing from the Bible.” She told me, “Be careful who you tell that to, because Christians will mock you.” I told her, “God will show me the missing parts some day.” Even then, I knew that through God’s son I could find my way back if I got lost. Grandma died when I was 15 years old. After that, I quit going to church. I started to act like I didn't believe in God to fit in with people that I hung out with even though I still prayed every night.
In 2011, I moved to Manitoba to help my Grandpa. About a year and a half later, I came back to Abbotsford for my sister's wedding. When my mother saw me, she told me she felt that God was changing me from a boy to a man. But no matter how hard I looked in the mirror, I couldn't see what she saw. I was still lost. I stayed for only a week before returning to Manitoba.
Roughly a month and a half later, I got a call informing me that I was going to be a father. The first thought that went through my mind was, “What have I done?” It finally hit me that I wasn’t living the life Heavenly Father wanted for me. I prayed hard, asking with all my heart what I should do. God told me, 'Man up, pack up, and move back.' On November 27, 2013, I put everything I could fit inside my little car and started my journey home.
Realizing the trials that I was facing, I quickly became very unhappy and felt alone. I kept asking Father, 'Why? Why did you move me back here? I could have stayed in Manitoba and paid for my child there.' Sometimes we put on 'worry shoes' and it gets very hard to take them off. We think that because we made one mistake, we’re ruined.
Nearly two months after I uttered that prayer, I met the missionaries. In those two months, I quit all the harmful things I’d been doing, thinking I did it for my son. I recognize now that the Lord was preparing me to accept the gospel. When missionaries came to my family's house, none of us wanted to talk with them. As they were walking away, I clearly heard a voice saying, “Speak with them.” I hurried to catch up with them. I imagine that the missionaries were pleasantly surprised. Elders James and Thompson shared the story of Restoration of the gospel with me as we stood there by the road. I felt a sudden desire to know more. I asked them to come back.
“Absolutely,” I replied.
“Do you believe God can help you read the Book of Mormon?' When I answered in the affirmative, they invited me to say a prayer right then to ask God to help me read his word. “Heavenly Father,' I prayed, 'if this is your word and you want me to change my life, help me do it.' As I opened my eyes and looked down once more at the page, I started crying. I was able to read the words.
Once I began reading, my life became an emotional roller coaster. Every time I was with the elders, I felt a warmth; a feeling of peace. In those meetings, I felt true happiness for the first time. I was filled with a desire to follow God and to make Him proud by living up to my potential as His child. As powerful as that feeling was, when the elders left and I went back to my normal home environment, doubts would creep in. Unsupported in my desires to join, I’d ask myself, “Is this really the truth? Am I doing the right thing?”
However, the more I studied, the happier I became and I desired to know for myself if the what I was learning was true. The elders asked me if I would be baptized. I knew I was a better person when I associated with members of the Church, but still unsure, I began to research other religions looking for that same feeling. I researched Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and many of the other Christian denominations, but nothing compared to the feeling of peace and comfort and the doctrinal completeness available in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was baptized on August 30, 2014, in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
While attending the baptism of a friend last October, I met an awesome returned sister missionary who served in the Utah Salt Lake City East mission. We had gone to the same high school, graduated the same year, but did not know each other. Several weeks later I finally asked her on a date. Several attempts later, she agreed. Subsequent dates included teaching me how to do family history and trips to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. It was such a stark contrast to my previous relationships. I thought to myself, “What a great blessing to be able to experience courting the way God wants us to!” I began to realize that I was in love with her. Better yet, I soon learned that she loved me too. 'How is this possible?” I asked God. He answered, “When you do it my way, I can give you greater blessings than you can imagine.” In April, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said “yes”.