At first Melissa may seem like a typical Mormon, raised in Utah as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. While she has been a member of the Church her whole life, her parents haven’t actively participated in church services. During her teenage years she remembers going to all of the activities and Sunday services, with her parents blessing, but they never attended with her. Melissa’s parents and siblings still choose not to participate in activities with the Church, but support her in her desires to serve and take part in the Church.
Another aspect of Melissa’s life that is not typical is her role as a rancher’s wife. She lives with her husband and two children on a large ranch in Northern Utah where she supports her husband’s extended family through great service. Her husband’s elderly grandparents live just steps away and Melissa often provides meals and help to them. They say that they could not make it without the help they receive from Melissa. It is no surprise that her favorite assignment in the church was as compassionate service leader (a special assignment in the women’s organization (Relief Society) that involves caring for those with urgent or intense needs). Her charity is plentiful.
Melissa is also a schoolteacher. You may think that being a teacher isn’t unique, but the type of school she teaches in is unique. It is a school that teaches Kindergarten through 10th grade in just four classrooms. Melissa teaches the 4th through 6th grades in a room next to her mother-in-law, who teaches Kindergarten. While she enjoys tackling a challenge, life on the ranch can be isolating. Melissa is grateful to share her talents through teaching. Many Mormon women worry about working outside of the home when they have children, and Melissa is no different. She is grateful to have found a wonderful family who shares their lives with her children. She feels like they have an even bigger loving family with the childcare help she receives from them.
Melissa’s faith is interwoven through her days. With her husband out on the ranch (often with no cell phone service) and working with the volunteer fire department, her heart is continually asking Heavenly Father for his protection and safe return. Prayers are frequent during the winter, as they go about their duties in blowing and drifting snow.
As you can imagine, being pregnant is an especially trying time to be so far from the city. When expecting her second child Melissa went into labor with the hospital an hour and a half away. She prayed continually while her husband drove (at breakneck speed) to the hospital. Their son was delivered safely and Melissa’s reassurance of the Lord’s love for her and her family grew. She is grateful to Father in Heaven for the many prayers He has answered. Because of Melissa’s unique life she has a wonderful opportunity to trust in God and to feel his love and guiding hand in her life.
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