Hi I'm Paora
I come from a small town on the east coast of New Zealand. As a family we didn't have much growing up so we learnt to appreciate the little things such as the love between family, hard work and respect, making the most of what you have and enjoying life every single day. I started playing basketball because of my friends and at first I was the worst player ever. They would invite me to church youth activities held during the week, and thats where it all began for me. Our small local chapel is where I not only learnt how to play the sport, but fell in love with game of basketball. After serving a 2 year mission for my church I married my true love, my high school sweet heart in the New Zealand Temple and now we have 3 beautiful boys. Basketball is a big part of my life but its not who I am, its what I do. My family is my greatest asset and my greatest responsibility, I love them more than anything!
I remember from a young age my mum teaching me how to karakia (pray) and although she wasn't a mormom, she really believed that it worked. She would talk with my siblings and I about aroha (love) and explain the importance of respecting one another, our elderly and helping one another especially those in need. My mum taught me to be honest and to keep my word. I remember quite vividly my mum making my brothers and I promise to her, that we would always treat women with love and respect, I remember feeling the spirit so strong when ever mum would teach us, I remember making that promise. I'm a mormon because of my mums teachings. I'm so grateful for the strong foundation my mum gave me. She taught me about my Savior Jesus Christ through her example, she was our living scriptures and when my brother and I were taught the gospel by the missionaries, it was so easy for us to understand because we knew of the teachings, we knew of the feelings of the spirit and through sincere prayer, I knew it was true. I'm a mormon because it means putting my family first and putting others before myself. I am far from perfect and at times I make more mistakes than anything else but I love being a mormon because it helps me to be a better husband and father, a better team mate, a better friend and hopefully better man. I'm a mormon because of my personal relationship with my Savior. I know he lives and that he loves me and I am forever grateful for his atoning sacrifice. He is my God and my king, the only one I worship, I find it difficult at times trying to find the words to express my appreciation and gratitude for all he has done for me, I love him.
The Holy Ghost has helped me in all major decisions in my life. From joining the Church, to going on a mission, from who I should marry, to buying our first home, to having children. I appreciate his constant companionship and guidance. I know of his whisperings and every time I have built up the courage to follow his promptings, safety and happiness has been the end result.
I live my faith in all I do. From daily prayer to personal scripture study. My wife and I and our sons try to start each day with what we call "SSP" which stands for Scripture - Song - Prayer. We try and do it in the family room but sometimes it happens during breakfast, in the car on the way to school, sometimes we run out of time and do it before we go to bed. It is a small and simple thing we do to live faith. As a professional athlete I live my faith in my game, the way I speak, the way I train, the way I play. I live my faith by choosing not to play basketball on Sundays and there are many that do not understand and therefore blame my religion and question why does my church require that sacrifice of me? My response is that it is a personal choice, a personal promise that I made to my God after serving my mission. This is a way for me to say thanks to my God and show my love for everything he has done for me. This is another small way of how I choose to live my faith.