The Polynesian Cultural Center President and CEO Von Orgill left BYU-Hawaii students with valuable life lessons during his address at the campus devotional on Feb. 5 and especially the blessing of living and acting by faith. In his talk entitled, "Reefs of Learning, Islands of Faith," Orgill explored and shared life-learning experiences he found in the islands of the Pacific during his mission.
Orgill has served almost 13 years as president of the PCC and now is preparing to be a mission president of the LDS Church. His service at PCC is coming to a close in February.
In his talk, Orgill shared a story of he and his mission companion. He said one evening they had to cross "a long and jagged reef" that "connected two islands."
He narrated his long and arduous journey across the reef and how he fell three times. His companion would call "Faith, Elder. Faith!" When he fell he offered "pleading prayer[s] for help.” By the end of the journey, he wondered, "'How was it that my companion never faltered? What had he done to develop such great faith?"
He continued, "On that night on the reef, I learned something about the reassuring power that comes from unwavering faith. I witnessed it in my companion. I experienced some small measure of it when my own faith held firm. I also learned that hard and painful consequences can come when we allow ourselves to wonder from the path of faith [and] when we allow doubt and fear to rule."
He counseled, "May we open our eyes more widely to the realities of this mortal probation and see the meaning, purpose and value to our daily tests of faith, large and small.”
Orgill’s address left an impact on students. Johnny Watkins, a junior studying biology from California, said, "I liked how he was talking about the reef and like walking across the reef. I think it really applies to schoolwork because I think a lot of time I lose focus on why I am doing the schoolwork, and why I am studying for like four hours a day.”
Watkins continued, “I feel like when that happens, it is kinda when you lose your faith; lose the vision of what you’re trying to do. If you keep it balanced and you read your scriptures in the morning, do all these things, like prioritize, where it needs to be . . . I feel like that it is always true. I like hearing from successful people. I liked it a lot. He had really good stories. I liked the reef though, that was a really good analogy."
Abby Brammer, a senior majoring in English from New York, said, "I think a lot of times people think that if they fall from faith, that’s it. And they can't really repent for a lack of faith. Every time you fall from faith, pray for more immediately, and it's not like God is trying to harbor it from you, but he'll bless you with opportunities to exercise your faith.”
The full text and video of the speech can be viewed at devotional.byuh.edu/media130205.