Friend, sister, daughter, niece, aunt, granddaughter. Learner of cultures and languages, artist, professional photographer, literary critic, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. French speaker, Wolof learner and avid reader. Intellectually minded, ready to laugh and tease others, and loves to smile.
I have truly lived a blessed and fulfilling life – I was raised by excellent parents who taught my sisters and me the value of work, the importance education, to love God and serve others around me. My years at Brigham Young University solidified this foundation, and the 18 months I served as a missionary in southern France for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints augmented my desire to help others to find and maintain happiness in their lives.
As I look back on the path that led me to my current circumstances, I can honestly say that serving a mission was one of the best decisions I have made. Not only did it provide opportunities through which I gained a deep love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the people I served, it also set the direction for the rest of my life. It guided me to my educational and career path, and now, the amalgamation of choices, trials, successes, and lessons which have since ensued are leading me to Africa.
Why Africa? Why Senegal? Why focus on human trafficking, specifically child begging? The answer is quite simple. Because it feels right. Because out of all of the things that I have studied as I pursued my bachelors, Masters, and now PhD in French, nothing has fascinated me as much as francophone African literature does. My dissertation, which focuses on the portrayal of family and children in literature and current events, combines two of the most important things in my life: French and the theology/doctrine of the family. Seeking ways to understand the challenges which African children face vis-à-vis trafficking leads to discovering ways to protect those same children; protecting children means protecting the family, and protecting the family means strengthening and protecting our homes, nations, and our global society.