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Jimboy Fajardo says his Come Follow Me group is his ohana “millions of miles” from home

a group of eight students, most dressed in Sunday clothes, standing in a field posing for the camera
Jimboy Fajardo and his BYUH Ohana.

Whether they are planning weekly lessons with friends, listening to podcasts or watching a 5-minute virtual devotional, BYU–Hawaii students said they set aside a little time to study Come Follow Me every week. Since the Church implemented the Come Follow Me program, BYUH students explained they have found their own ways of studying the manual while attending school.

Jimboy’s ohana

Jimboy Fajardo, a junior from the Philippines majoring in art, said he started studying Come Follow Me with his friends two years ago when they arrived at BYUH together for the Winter 2020 Semester.

Since then, Fajardo said they have never missed a week. During the COVID-19 quarantine, he explained they met online.

Fajardo said the group calls themselves an ohana because he wants to make sure every time they have a discussion, everybody who attends will feel they are part of a family and no one is forgotten.

He added he has faced challenges other students have when entering a new culture and a new experience, including anxiety and depression. “I know the feeling of being alone and being forgotten, especially in this big space,” explained Fajardo.

“It’s really hard to be alone in this space, and [people] really need someone to support and care about and love [them]. That’s my main goal in doing Come Follow Me each week with my friends.” Fajardo said he and his friends decided to take care of each other temporally and spiritually because they are “millions of miles” away from their families.

He said sometimes when he and his friends share their testimonies and stories in their lessons, they shed a few tears too. “It’s very memorable when someone really trusts their friends and shares something very special to them.” He said these moments are what strengthen his friendships and his faith in Christ.

Fajardo loves listening to other’s testimonies and insights on the gospel because their faith builds a special bond. “The [Come Follow Me] discussion is the highlight of the week,” he said.

Daily faith

selfie shot of a large group of students smiling for the camera
Caelan Dick, a freshman BYUH student, says she was able to reconnect and overcome a difficult week through more focus on scripture study.

Caelan Dick, a freshman from Edgewood, New Mexico majoring in psychology, said she studies a little bit of Come Follow Me every day on the Come Follow Me app. The app, available on Apple and Android, features a new story every day, which Dick said she studies daily for a few minutes. The app’s story usually includes a scripture verse of the day, some videos, questions to ponder, a challenge to apply what was learned and a shareable post with an inspirational quote, she explained.
Dick said during one particularly hard week, she knew she had to reconnect with the Lord through scripture study. “I noticed I was not spiritually thriving. I was having a really bad time actually keeping committed to [scripture study] every day,” she said.

“It’s better to just do it,” she explained. “It makes me feel more spiritually connected. I can hear him more and focus on him more throughout the day. Finding time to do things to connect with the Lord every day is super incredible.”

She said her favorite feature of the app is it keeps a running tally of how many days she has studied in a row. This streak motivates her never to skip a day of study, Dick said, explaining how the app sends her a daily notification reminding her to study to help keep her accountable.

Bored on Sunday?

Garrett Parsons, a freshman from South Jordan, Utah, majoring in psychology, said he and his friends didn’t have anything to do one Sunday, so they decided to study Come Follow Me.

Brynna Dye, a freshman from Rexburg, Idaho, majoring in graphic design, was one of these friends. Dye said on that Sunday, she and her friend were at the temple talking about how much they missed studying Come Follow Me as a group.

selfie shot of students smiling and displaying shakas outside of the Aloha Center Ballroom by the tables
Freshman Brynna Dye says she enjoys studying Come Follow Me as a group because it keeps her accountable.

“At that same second,” she recounted, “[Garrett] texted … and we started a group that very same day.” Dye said her friend had planned a Sunday School lesson, but Sunday School had been canceled that day, so she taught her lesson for their Come Follow Me group. Since then, the friends have taken turns teaching, she explained.
Dye said she likes studying with a group because it keeps her accountable. “I’m way more likely to do it if I know I’m going to be discussing it with others.”

She added she likes to study Come Follow Me from her computer for a more in-depth study. On the Church website, she said the lessons feature links to interesting videos and maps. One week, she said took a virtual tour of the Kirtland Temple from a link she found on the Come Follow Me lesson.

Parsons said he studies Come Follow Me throughout his week by listening to John Bytheway and Hank Smith’s podcast “Follow Him.” He said he likes this podcast because it features different Church historians who discuss the lesson every week.

He explained he appreciates how the discussion focuses on doctrine. “The Spirit testifies of truth, right? So, feelings can change like this and that, but when you’re learning the truth, you always feel the Spirit.”

Parsons added he sometimes struggles to find time to study, but he tries to schedule his day to ensure he has time every day. He said most of his study takes place throughout the week, and his weekly discussions with his friends simply adds to his studies. •