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As the coronavirus pandemic continues, students share how their faith, prayer and inspiration has helped them

A graphic of a person kneeling in prayer with a quote that reads "What's bringing my husband and I through this and what helped us make the decision to stay here was prayer, simply asking our Heavenly Father what we should do."

Faced with important life decisions due to the coronavirus pandemic, students shared how their faith has helped them remain optimistic in a time of crisis.

Lasi Cowan, a senior from Missouri majoring in social work, said, “Faith is everything right now. Faith is what made us stay here. Faith is what is going to carry us through this pandemic.

“No one knows what’s going to happen tomorrow or the day after that. [No one knows] what will happen in a month or in a year. But God, He knows, and I know He will carry us through this. I know that He will take care of us if we have the faith that He will.”

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on Lily Tuivai’s mental health, a sophomore from Australia majoring in Pacific Island studies. “I have been feeling a lot of anxiety and depression because there are so many things going on that students have to face.”

Tuivai continued, “My fiancé and I are trying to stick together during this pandemic, so we are just trying our best to push through school and manage to find a place off campus ... I think that is a big struggle financially. I have been feeling a lot of pressure because it is a lot to think about.”

Cowan shared how she and her husband have worked to overcome the challenges they have experienced during the pandemic. She said, “What’s bringing my husband and I through this and what helped us make the decision to stay here was prayer, simply asking our Heavenly Father what we should do.

“Our families wanted us both to come home, but we both felt very strongly that wasn’t what was right for us. It was scary ... but what assured us was that sweet Spirit telling us everything would be okay, and everything would work out if we just have the faith to stay.”

Rafael Tzanis, a sophomore from Australia majoring in political science, shared the optimism he has experienced during this time. He said, “Living in Laie, I have always felt safer than I’m sure many others around the world do. We have plenty of food on our shelves, we have toilet paper, and we live in a community that has had almost no instances of the virus.”

Tzanis said he and his wife have adapted well to a new normal. “I feel blessed to have found a routine that caters to most areas of health. I have been keeping active, working out before the sun rises, and have been enjoying Sundays and church meetings being held at home.”

He said having limited distractions have helped him and his wife focus on what is most important to them.

“I am trying to find the silver lining in this situation and avoid complaining about being bored, knowing thousands of others have it much worse than we do.”

Tuivai shared how her faith has played a role during this pandemic. “I think that, especially in these hard times of crisis, I have seen myself grow in faith in the Lord because these trials that we are facing are something we cannot control. Just like the virus, a seed of faith is a small thing that can make a big difference.”

Tzanis said one of his favorite conference talks is from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles titled “Happiness, Your Heritage.” Tzanis said, “In this talk, he details how two things make us like our Heavenly Father: charity and being creative. This lockdown has provided me with opportunities to expand and grow in both of these areas.”