BYU-Hawaii students said the 187th annual General Conference was personably applicable to anyone listening, regardless of circumstances. Several also expressed excitement for the five new temples announced in Brasília, Brazil; the greater Manila, Philippines area; Nairobi, Kenya; Pocatello, Idaho; and Saratoga Springs, Utah.
This announcement came as a surprise to those living in the areas where the new temples will be built. Mark Bulos, a freshman from the Philippines studying social work, said the new temple in the greater Manila, Philippines area will be a blessing for members in the area.
“You will find some of the poorest and humblest members in the Philippines who yearn to attend the temple. Many prayers have been said in hopes of having that opportunity, and President Monson’s announcement is an answer to those prayers,” Bulos said.
Bulos served his mission in the Philippines San Pablo Mission which borders the area where the new temple will be built.
Referencing the excitement among Filipinos at BYUH, Bulos said students will be able to better fulfill the school’s vision of serving others. “One of the best ways we can serve is through doing work in the temple and now we will have a greater opportunity to serve back in our country because of this new temple.”
Students participating in the worldwide broadcast also say they were edified by messages given by leaders of the Church.
Grant Townsend, a junior bio med major from California, said he received answers to many of his questions, including a clarification given by President Nelson on the Atonement. “He specified the differences between the Atonement and the Savior’s role through the Atonement. It just helps me focus more on how the Savoir impacts my life and my relationship with Him rather than just looking at the event of the Atonement.”
Ruth Alvarado, a freshman from the Philippines studying social work, also said the conference was great for those who came with questions to be answered. “I was given a notebook by my temple shift coordinator. I started writing [questions] and I was surprised…I wrote a whole page of questions.
Alvarado said it was humbling to receive direct and indirect answers to her questions. She said the indirect answers have motivated her to study them further.
As part of her study, Alvarado wakes up daily at 5:30 a.m. to read scriptures with “goals to get to know Jesus Christ,” a habit she said allows her to get through the day.
Students say the sessions also gave them a boast of spiritual strength.
Meaua Brown, a freshman psychology major from Kiribati, said, “[Church leaders] give us motivation and they also give us good advice. Sometimes we tend to forget stuff.”
Yip Chun Yau, a sophomore from Hong Kong studying accounting, said President Monson’s brief talk about gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon reminded him of his mission in the United Kingdom.
“I’ve seen a lot of less-actives on my mission. There are so many reasons why they lose the testimony of the Book of Mormon. They didn’t read the scriptures regularly, and they didn’t go to church. I think if we read the Book of Mormon… we can maintain [its] testimony,” he said.
Brandon Kamimoto, a senior psychology major from Mililani, said he was inspired by church leaders who made “personal connections” to every member. “I feel I learn more from the experiences of others than just listening. Adding personal accounts make the lesson relatable.
“[A speaker] that stood out to me was Elder Palmer who spoke about becoming more like the Savior through beholding others and loving them as the Savior loved the young rich man. It was inspiring to me as it taught me to not judge a book by its cover and to view those around me in a Christlike manner.”
Elder Palmer’s talk also influenced Bwauro Ioteba, a junior information technology major from Kiribati. Ioteba said the guidance he received will help him to prioritize the gospel in his life, and as a result have an impact on his coursework. “[I would like to work on] mostly focusing in school and trying to be on the top of my homework,” he said.
In preparation for the next conference of the Church in October, Yramae Joy Canite, a freshman biomed major from the Philippines, said there are several things needed in order to be ready. “I will read my scriptures daily, attend the temple once a week, be worthy to partake of the sacrament and keep the Sabbath Day holy.
“If you are spiritually prepared, the Spirit will be with you and the inspirations will come,” Canite concluded.