By Camille Kerr
Writing Specialist on the Woodbridge, Virginia Stake Public Affairs Council for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
1994 ended up a very busy and life changing year for the Oryangs. Christine was baptized in April, David proposed to her in June, they got married in September and just a week or so after their wedding David was called to be the Branch President.
Of that time as Branch President David said, “That was a choice experience to minister to many many individuals in the community who had many needs and seek for inspiration to know what to do. I don’t think I’ve felt that much in tune with the spirit ever since, being branch president in that branch.”
He explained that in that small branch there were only three priesthood brethren to minister to about one hundred single sister families with their children. David said, “And so you have to give blessings and you have go visit and help take care of issues.”
David explained the result of all of that work: “It was a choice time to be able to counsel with them, pray with them, cry with them, and just help them to progress in their lives spiritually and temporally.”
The Oryangs were also feeling the spiritual and temporal blessings of their service. At the time David was busy working at Tuskeegee University in the Veterinary School writing proposals to get grant research funding in the field of computational epidemiology. He was trained as an engineer, but found a home computationally modeling epidemiologic systems, modeling the dynamics of disease in populations of animals, people, cells, and plants.
He says, “I know that my mind was quickened and my abilities were improved because I knew I had to go and perform all the church work so I had to be efficient. Many times I’d just get on my knees and ask Heavenly Father to help me with this work related issue. Sometimes I’d stay at work all night just to fix problems so that I could have all weekend to do church things. And that was going on all the time. I know that many times I just received enlightenment to help me think of ways to fix things that otherwise wouldn’t have come. All I can say is that all the blessings that I received temporally are a direct result of consecrating my life to the gospel.”
He and his team developed a model of the cardiovascular system of a dog which could be used as a simulator for the vet students to practice on before doing actual work on a real dog. This model ended up saving the lives of many dogs and cats. David says, “It was a great success. I know that it was all because of prayer and asking the Lord for help in that specific job.” His success led him to a promotion and eventually to a new job at the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service as a Risk Analyst. This brought the Oryang family to the Washington, D.C. area.
They lived in Maryland, in the Silver Spring Stake, the White Oak Ward, from July 2001 until November 2003 where David served as counselor in the young men presidency, counselor in the bishopric, stake young men president, and a member of the stake high council. He also served as Bishop of the White Oak Ward from June 2003 till March 2004.
In November 2003 they moved to Southbridge in Dumfries and became members of the Quantico Ward in the Woodbridge Virginia Stake. He continued serving as Bishop of the White Oak Ward in Maryland even after their move, until March of 2004. In the Woodbridge Stake, President Oryang has served as primary teacher, 2nd counselor in the stake Young Men presidency, 2nd counselor in the Quantico Ward bishopric, member of the stake high council, and he has been serving as the 2nd Counselor in the Stake Presidency in Woodbridge Stake since June 2009.
Their experiences have led them to be able to share a strong witness of the truths they have come to know in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President Oryang says, “I’m just so thankful that I joined this church and was able to exercise my faith through being challenged in so many ways, just being made a branch president when I really knew almost nothing, and all these different callings, that I’ve been pressed into. It’s just remarkable. I always have asked, ‘Why me? I’m not worthy to do that. There are so many other people who know so much more than me. Why should I be selected for this?’ Every once in awhile I receive a revelation even before I receive a calling that I’m going to receive it and that has further converted me to know that the Lord is mindful of all of us and knows what he wants for his people and for us individuals. This gospel is true and there is nothing else that can help us more than truly turning ourselves over to the Savior and His will so that we can become what he would have us be, and qualify to have all that the Father has.”
Christine adds her thoughts and testimony, “I know that God is real and that He loves me deeply. I know that He sacrificed His only begotten son to accomplish the atonement for each of us individually so that we can have joy and peace in this life and eternal life to come. I know that Joseph Smith was called to be the prophet of the restoration and I am thankful for the teachings of restored gospel, I deeply treasure the insights of eternal progression and personal revelation and agency. Because God loves us He gave us instruction in scripture (the Bible and the Book of Mormon) on the ways we should conduct ourselves in order to live with Him once more. I know there is a prophet on the earth today. I know that we are all ambassadors of Christ if we chose to be. I love and believe in my Father in Heaven and in His son Jesus Christ who is my personal savior and redeemer.”