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Linda Furuto’s devotional: Learning to follow the Lord’s invitations will help students overcome adversity

Linda Furuto speaking with a slight smile on her face with a palm tree and black background wearing two flower leis around her neck.

In a BYU–Hawaii devotional, Linda Furuto, a mathematics professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, shared, “By His invitation, we are able to walk in the light of the Lord. As our modern-day prophets have expressed, you were born for this generation and time, to step up, imagine, be strong and commit to following His invitations in all kinds of weather.”

During the devotional on Jan. 26, 2021, Furuto encouraged students to build their trust in Heavenly Father by attending church activities and devotionals, studying for tests and writing essays. She spoke about following the Lord’s invitations through spiritual preparation. Through service and servant leadership, students can develop their potential and utilize gratitude to navigate diversity, she said.

Students at BYUH are like voyagers with the goal of returning to Heavenly Father, Furuto said. She compared this voyage to her experiences on the Hokulea, a Hawaiian voyaging canoe, which completed a four-year global voyage in 2017. On the Hokulea, Furuto said, she scrubbed the hulls, cleaned the sails, sanded the deck and conversed with the crew.

Furuto was introduced at the devotional by her mother, Sharlene Furuto, a retired BYUH social work professor. Her father, David Furuto, is a retired BYUH math professor as well.

Louise Montero, a senior studying psychology from the Philippines, said spiritual preparation is crucial to following the Lord’s invitations. “We are all voyagers because we all have our different journeys in life.”

Tiana Wheeler, a senior studying integrated humanities from Hawaii, said a recurring theme from the October 2020 General Conference was being unified in order to return to Heavenly Father. “All of us are on a journey back to our Father in Heaven,” she explained. “All of us are exploring different life paths, perspectives and experiences.”

Furuto said with master navigator Nainoa Thompson’s encouragement, she later became his apprentice. “[Thompson] said, ‘Linda, you need to be prepared with a vision. If you do not, someone will take it away from you or give you theirs,’” she said.

Wheeler said Furuto’s description of her experience on the Hokulea was her favorite part of the devotional. Feeling inadequate and unsure is hard, shared Wheeler, but Furuto’s words brought comfort and clarity.

Heavenly Father created this world as a textbook, Furuto said, adding that what happens outside the classroom is just as important as what happens inside it.

Furuto also shared her struggle in high school and what helped her get through it. She said every time a friend, family member, coach, or even her Heavenly Father gave her encouragement, she found the strength to keep trying.

Montero said Furuto sharing her experiences with adversity was her favorite part of the devotional. “As students, we all encounter problems and challenges,” she said. “I learned that I can still show a positive attitude and a grateful heart amidst all those.” She added challenges help all students grow, but they must trust their Heavenly Father.

Wheeler said she hopes students realize their potential and recognize the humanity and potential of all those around them. “By trying to understand that another’s journey is not the same as our own and to able to empathize with them and learn from them will develop this unity that the Lord is inviting us to create,” she said.

Montero hopes students will feel the Lord’s love for them because He wants to see all His children succeed in life. “It may get stormy along the way, but as we hold onto His gospel we can all safely get to where we are meant to go.”