1. My dad--he raised me to love others, to be smart, to work hard, and to live my life the way God asks me to. He gives me everything I need, and he actively looks for ways to help me. He takes his job seriously, and it shows.
2. My friends--I've been so blessed to be surrounded by good boys my whole life. You have all grown up and become men, and you've shown me along the way that there are people like you out there. From my experiences with all of you, I know how I should be treated and I have enough self confidence not to settle for someone who's less than I deserve. You're respectful to everyone. You honor the priesthood and the covenants you've made. I'm who I am because of you.
3. My mission president--President Bowen believed in me way before I ever believed in myself. He always knew what to say to help me to keep trying, and I learned a lot about my relationship with my Father in Heaven from the way he treated me. He pushed me to find out what I was capable of, and as it turned out, I was capable of a lot! He and Sister Bowen are two of my all-time favorite people.
4. Ward and stake leaders--when I was preparing for my mission, my bishop helped me so much. I knew I could turn to him for help, especially since I didn't live at home and I didn't have my parents to help me out with everything. My stake president (who also had a SICK South African accent!) sent my mission papers in at the earliest time he possibly could for me, and he helped me to believe that this was something I could actually do.
5. My MTC teachers--back then they were Hno Thompson and Hna Camacho, and now they're Beau and Heidi. They loved me and supported me from the beginning, even before they knew anything about me. From their examples, I formed a mental image and a goal of who I wanted to be after my mission. I wanted to be EXACTLY like them. I still do.
6. My brothers--one is on his mission in Uruguay. One is preparing to go to Spokane, Washington in a few months. And one still has a few years to go, but he's on the right track. They all put everything they have into learning and doing what's right. They don't get any quieter as they get older, though!
7. Heavenly Father--where can I start? I owe everything to Him, and yet He just keeps giving me more. Every so often little things happen that remind me that He really is there, and that He is aware of me at every moment in my life. He has never left me alone, and His work and His glory is to bring to pass my immortality and my eternal life (Moses 1:39). I love Him, and I'm learning to love Him more every day.
I'm grateful for all the men in my life who have showed me what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Family, friends, church and mission leaders... God works through you. Thank you for living in a way that allows the fullness of the gospel to continue on the earth. I love you guys.