Local teen Stephen May begins his Mormon missionary journey

Posted 7/16/17

This past week, Stephen May left Cleveland for a two-year mission journey with the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons.

The youngest son of Kerry and Loralie May, he was …

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Local teen Stephen May begins his Mormon missionary journey

Posted

This past week, Stephen May left Cleveland for a two-year mission journey with the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons.

The youngest son of Kerry and Loralie May, he was looking forward to facing the challenges of a missionary.

He has been assigned Ogden, Utah, as his missionary destination.

“Most people out there either want to know more or want absolutely nothing to do with it (the message he is sharing),” he said.

May said, “I have had a lifetime of preparation. I have grown up in the church. The most important thing is the spiritual side and the doctrine of the gospel. I have learned those things.

“I have attended the Institute — which is a seminary for adults. I have had a lot of scripture study and grown up in the faith,” he said.

Mormon teens usually attend seminary for four years in addition to church. This is an hour of study prior to going to high school each day. The focus of study is on the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon and doctrine.

May said his “main desire is to fulfill my potential” as he spreads the gospel.

He has two role model of whom he would like to mirror their attitude and performance in the service of Jesus Christ.

May said Abinadi, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, is one model for him. Abinadi was sent to witness to a people, but he did not think they would listen to the message. He went anyway.

“It turns out someone did listen and millions of lives changed,” May said. “He was burnt at the stake.”

“I would like to emulate that in I want to be a missionary” and spread the message, he said.

Another example of a leader was Bishop Bryan Silvenis. “He is someone I always wanted to emulate,” May said. “He tried to relate to the youth” and others.

His favorite verse to share is in Matthew 11:29-30. It says: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

May wants to show people the “way to come to Christ and partake of his spirit.

“That is something I have felt I want to share with others. I want that to be the focus of my mission experience,” he said.

“Growing up in the South, I have lived in a mission field my whole life,” May said.

He said he has a pretty good understanding of the gospel and the doctrine. “Living here entails being asked questions about the church,” he said. People don’t understand.”

As he shared, “I have gotten really good at answering questions.

“As a missionary, the main focus is to preach the gospel and relate the principles of faith — conversion, baptism, all those things. I want to clearly communicate those principles,” he said.

He said many of his peers “respect me because I don’t drink, I don’t cuss. I don’t do drugs. People respect that and as a result people watch their conduct around me.

“When I am questioned about why I am like that, it is because of the gospel. I have experienced blessings that come from reading the gospel. ... It may seem a little strange. I love the Lord and I want to do what He wants me to do.”

May is a recent graduate of Bradley Central High School. While at BCHS, he was a three-year member of the marching band. He received a welding certificate and he did CAD (computer aided design).

He was a member of the National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and SkillsUSA. He was in the Cambridge program, too. He did an internship at McKee Foods.

May is an Eagle Scout. He earned the designation with a genealogy project in Fort Hill cemetery. He took pictures of the tombstones and placed them on a website. It took him about two days and the assistance of “about 50 people” to get the information gathered and uploaded to the website. The project took about 200 service hours to complete.

When he completes his mission journey, May plans to attend Brigham Young University to study mechanical engineering. He plans to seek a master’s in business administration.

He is the brother of Lamar, Maria and Collette.

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