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BYUH students who suffered hardships find peace and comfort from their faith in God

Justin Ioane and his father wearing grey and holding his baby boy with palm trees and greenery in the background.
Ioane's father passed away in April 2020 after years of illnesses.

Students who lost their loved ones shared how their faith in God and the Plan of Salvation helped them. They said despite their busy lives, faith helped them overcome their struggles and be happy again.

Byambanorov Bazarragchaa, a freshman from Mongolia majoring in psychology, said her mother got into a car accident and was severely injured in early 2020. “When I first heard the news, I was so shocked and cried a lot.

“Her neck, back, femur and arms were broken. She is 68 years old, so I was worried that she might not make it. I thought I might not see my mother again on this earth.”

Alpha Harper, a recent BYU–Hawaii alumna from Canada and her husband, Leslie Harper, shared they had lost six children in five different pregnancies before their four living children were born.

Alpha Harper said she lost her twins at four months of pregnancy and experienced twice tubal pregnancy, where the egg implants outside of the uterus. The couple also lost their 38-week-old grandson in 2019.

Justin Ioane, a senior from Samoa double majoring in accounting and marketing, lost his father in April 2020. Due to the border closures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, he could not go back to attend his father’s funeral.

Ioane shared although it was a challenging time of his life, his faith in the Plan of Salvation and his busy student life helped him to overcome his grief. He said he is grateful for modern technology, which enabled him to attend the funeral virtually.

Pain-relieving faith 

Bazarragchaa standing next to her parents sitting down on chairs in traditional Mongolian clothing in their house.
Bazarragchaa's mother was severely injured in a car accident in early 2020.

Bazarragchaa said she wanted to go back to Mongolia to take care of her mother but could not due to the border closure. She said there was nothing she can do besides pray. “I prayed more sincerely than ever. I remembered all my wonderful spiritual memories that helped me strengthen my faith in God.”

She said she read general conference talks and the scriptures and hoped for God’s blessings. “The Holy Spirit comforted me and reminded me how reliable God is. Now my mother’s health is getting better. It is a miracle.”

Leslie Harper, a freshman from Canada, majoring in business management supply chain, said it was challenging for him and his wife to lose their children. But their gospel understanding and busy life with their younger children helped them overcome their grief.

He shared, “Losing our children was very traumatic, especially for my wife. However, I learned this life is not meant to be easy. Instead, it is meant to be challenging and prepare us for the final test.”

Of her hardships, Alpha Harper said, “The emotional roller coaster was awful after unsuccessful pregnancies. However, we prayed in the temple and felt that the Lord wanted us to have more children. Our desire to have more children was strong as well, so we tried many times until we had our four children. Doctors told us that all our children are miracles.”

Ioane said he father was sick for years, so he said we was happy his father was released from physical pain. According to Ioane, his father was a faithful bishop before he passed away, so he believes his father is in a better place now.

Family support

Leslie and Alpha Harper stand next to a railing with green Hawaiian mountains in the background.
The Harpers lost six children to miscarriage before their four living children were born.

Though she cannot return home, Bazarragchaa said she has siblings who care for her mother, which decreases her worries. “I have six brothers and four sisters, and I am number 10. My siblings are taking good care of mom. It is great to have a big family during hardships,” she added.

After her unsuccessful pregnancies, Alpha Harper shared that re-building her body was another big challenge. “Les was supportive and constant. I know that each of our children was an answer to our prayers, and the Lord entrusted us with raising them.”

Ioane said he has friends and family helping his mother and siblings in American Samoa, which gives him some relief. “It is a rough time for my family, but Samoans are very supportive of each other during this time.”

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