Two years ago, an opening materialized on the Tempe Elementary School Board. Brother Evan Rogers was then the busy bishop of Tempe Stake’s Rio Salado Ward, and though he felt the call to serve on the board, he knew he wouldn’t have much time to campaign. It turned out that he was the only person to submit paperwork for the opening, so it easily became his. Rogers is now running for another term in a position he has come to love.
Brother Rogers’ deep interest in helping younger generations comes in part from having four children between the ages of two and 13, and from being married to a former school teacher. He also knows what it’s like to be in particular need of and receive adult guidance in one’s early years.
Rogers grew up in Mesa, where he went to church with his family. By age 15, his desire to attend had vanished. At 18, though his friends were preparing for and leaving on missions, he had no interest in serving one. Instead, he moved to Alaska.
But the efforts of a few caring adults helped him change the trajectory of his life. His aunt got him settled with a job in Newport Beach, California. She expected him to maintain good grades at a local college. Since Rogers had lived in California until the age of five and always had an affinity for the ocean, the best part of his new lifestyle was being able to surf. Things were going well—however, Rogers felt that something was missing.
Since moving away from Mesa, Rogers kept a crate of things from home. His mom had placed scriptures at the bottom of it, hoping he’d eventually find and read them. One night when he was 19, he felt depressed. He opened the Book of Mormon and read from the beginning through Alma 36.
“I hadn’t felt the Spirit in so long, my soul was feasting on the words of Christ,” he says.
The following Sunday, a local bishop was praying in his office just before inviting ward council members in for a meeting. He felt he should get up and open his door. Putting the meeting on hold and acting as though he had no time constraints whatsoever, he pulled Rogers inside and asked why he was there.
“The words jumped out of my mouth,” Rogers recalls. “I think I need to go on a mission.”
Rogers served in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He then earned an industrial engineering degree at ASU, and recently served nearly four years as a bishop himself.
Recognizing that many youth need someone to take them under wing and help them understand the love of their Heavenly Father, Rogers and a friend started Lucky Sevan in 2006, a fun, week-long camp at a California beach where youth are taught to surf.
“The real purpose of the trip,” says Rogers, “is to teach these young people about the Atonement and deepen their relationship with the Savior.”