Hi I'm Olivia Baeza
I'm 23 years old and I'm from Northern California (Bay Area). I attend Brigham Young University (BYU) where I am majoring in Family Studies and receiving a certificate in Gerontology. When I was a student at Brigham Young University of Idaho (BYUI), I had the chance of being a country dance instructor for two semesters and it was an absolute blast! I love being outside and going on long walks. I love to hang out with my friends and family and finding fun things to do. You will most likely always see me laughing and smiling. I served my mission in the Visitors Center in Los Angeles, California. Deciding to serve a mission was the best decision I have ever made, I loved it!
I'm a Mormon because of the sweet promise Heavenly Father has given us that we can be sealed to our family and spouse for time and all eternity. I was 13 years old when I was introduced to the church. A family invited us over for dinner and asked if we wanted to stay for Family Home Evening. It was that night that I wanted to be Mormon. I was an investigator for about 4 years before I joined the church because I wasn't allowed to join until I was 18. I would go to Girl's Camp, Young Women's, Trek, EFY, Mutual, anything that would bring me closer to the spirit. At 13 years old, I thought about my future family. I wanted my children to be raised in the gospel and to be born into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I wanted them to already have a life that I wish I could have had growing up. I wanted them to already be born into an eternal family and I knew that was only possible if I took that first step towards baptism. It wasn't until my junior year of high school when my parents hearts softened and they started to take the discussions again. On June 1st, 2008 I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the rest of my family joined the following weekend. A little over a year later, we were sealed in the temple so that we can be together forever. Before I joined the church I didn't know whether I was a daughter of God or if He even listened to my prayers. I honestly didn't even know how to pray. The reason why I know this church to be true is because of the joy it brings me. My relationship with God has been strengthened. My understanding of the Atonement has become more personal to me as I have learned how to apply it to my life. My testimony of the Bible and The Book of Mormon has given me knowledge of what is expected of me through this journey in mortality. Of course I still go through trials and heartache, but I can't imagine going through them without the knowledge that I have because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Holy Ghost has helped me in my life in so many ways. One experience was during my 3rd semester in college where I had to choose between going to Walt Disney World for an internship or going home for my off track at BYUI. I heard from others that my family wasn't attending church anymore but it was never a huge issue that I felt like I needed to be concerned about it. One night, after looking forever for the perfect flight, I finally found a flight and I called my dad to let him know. He told me that the next morning I had to buy the ticket and that we could all start preparing for this trip. After I got off the phone with him I went to take a shower and suddenly started to cry. The feelings I was experiencing and the thoughts going through my mind was that I needed to go home. I was flustered and frustrated because I felt like Heavenly Father wasn't letting ME be happy; He wasn't letting ME do what I wanted to do. I prayed about it that night and planned to fast the next day in order to know what I should do. The first thought that came to my mind that following morning was, "Olivia, go home." At that moment I knew what the Lord wanted me to do. I called my dad and told him about the feelings I was feeling and that I needed to go home. He was very upset with me because I was relying too much on this "holy ghost" and not making decisions on my own. He felt like I was wasting my life by not taking these great opportunities. It was little comments like those from both my parents that made me realize that the situation at home was a lot worse then I thought it was. Those 3-4 months home were the hardest months of my life trying to get them to go back to church but it was where I needed to be. It was almost a year afterward that my parents became active again and I truly am grateful that I had listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We need to always remember to do His will and not our own will when we are prompted to do something by the Holy Ghost.
I show my faith by getting involved and serving others. One program that has played a huge part in my life is Special Olympics. I got involved volunteering for it when I was in 7th grade. It really opened my eyes on how each individual here on this Earth truly is a child of God and we are all striving to make it through mortality to return back to Heavenly Father. I was always amazed of the love that the participants gave me without even knowing my name. Special Olympics taught me how to "love thy neighbor" and how simple it can be. I also try to find other little ways to serve people. I have learned through my service as a missionary that I don't need to do a large project in order for it to count as doing "service." It can be something as easy as taking out my neighbor's trash or offering someone a ride home. I try really hard to look for opportunities to serve and I have seen it bless my life.