MaElena Sanchez was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on July 12, 2014. Being a member for nearly two years of her life has changed her in so many ways.

Sanchez is from Las Vegas, Nevada, and was first introduced to the Church at an institute building by Brother Garth Rassmussen on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus.

“I was not looking really to switch churches,” said Sanchez, a senior studying elementary education.

Sanchez said the reason she was even at the institute building was because she had a friend serving a mission and had a hard time understanding what going on a mission actually meant. She said she was also writing a paper on the Mormon religion, so she wanted to gain a greater understanding of it. Eventually, after many conversations with Brother Rassmussen and the missionaries, Sanchez decided to be baptized.

She said that her family member’s reactions were all different.

“Once I wanted to be baptized and I told my dad, he told me that I was old enough to make that decision for myself,” Sanchez said. “He would support me in what I chose to believe.”

Sanchez said her dad had been raised in the Catholic Church but never really went searching for any other church.

“At first, my mom did not feel right about me joining the church,” Sanchez said. “She had been raised in the Catholic Church, and she even has a niece who is a nun, so it is a pretty big deal in her family.”

Sanchez said her mom is now supportive of her choice to be a member of the Church.

“She was at my baptism, and she goes to church with me when I am visiting home,” Sanchez said.

Currently, Sanchez is the only member of the Church in her family. She says her life since joining the Church has made her immensely happy.

“I was content with my life before joining,” Sanchez said. “I did not know what joy and peace I was missing before. Since I have joined, I have noticed a pure happiness and a different perspective on life.”

Sanchez understood that joining the Church would not make life’s trials go away, but that they would become easier to bear.

“It has been a roller coaster of emotions; luckily, most have been great,” Sanchez said. “Life feels so great now. I really would never go back. I have caught a glimpse of how amazingly wonderful life is now, and there is no other way I would rather be living.”