Students look forward to Winter Semester devotionals after learning from President Tanner's

Written by: 
Hannah Jones

President John S. Tanner gave the first devotional of the Winter Semester titled “Hearts – Healed and Holy” on Jan. 16. He told students, “We need to reach up to Him, striving to be good with all our might, and he needs to reach down to us … reaching our reaching, healing and sanctifying us.”


BYU-Hawaii students said they look forward to attending the Tuesday devotionals and felt Tanner’s devotional was a great way to kick off the new semester.


Christian Durney, a freshman from Oklahoma majoring in biology, said weekly attendance at devotionals are a must. “I like going every week. It's a good time to feel the spirit.”


“I think it's cool to hear from the president, it seems special. It's exciting because you know this is the man in charge.”


Roche Donato, a sophomore from Qatar studying business, never misses a devotional. With a grin on his face, Donato said, “I go every week. I think every week is special. Great things come from President Tanner or anyone who speaks there.”


Tanner quoted President Russel M. Nelson: “As President Nelson taught, 'When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then His power will flow into you.'”


Tanner said the heart “designates the core of our beings” and “the pure in heart are Zion.”


“To be made holy, we must work with all our might and God's might will work in us. But our works alone cannot save us. We need the Lord's help to root out the natural man … and [change] our very desires. It requires both grit and grace.”


Donato recognized the teaching's importance and said, “I liked how he focused on the pure it in heart and defined it as Zion. Grit plus grace equals sanctification.”


President Tanner said, “The gospel gives us hope that permanent change is possible. … Through our sacrifices, God can change our hearts.”


Kenzie Powers, a freshman from Arizona studying exercise science, noted Sister Tanner's part of the devotional. Powers said, “Sister Tanner shared the story of her nephew walking the disabled boy to seminary every day. When the boy gave his senior talk, he stood beside him and helped through it.”


Sister Tanner added, “Christ's mission to the world is to heal us.” Powers learned “that simple acts of service can impact another life.” Alongside this message, Powers said, “It shows that still, people today can recognize a need of another and take it upon themselves to fulfill it.”


Overall, Donato said, “I like the part when he focuses on the heart. He mentions three main points, to touch the hearts of others, to heal the hearts of others, and having holy hearts. To me these three are the roots for the main fruit, which is the heart.”


Durney learned, “We just have to offer a sacrifice of our broken hearts. We have to turn our life over to him so he can heal us.”


Powers admitted she doesn't always go to devotional, but said, “They're a nice way to bring the campus together in a positive uplifting environment.”


Specifically to this devotional, Powers said, “You can feel the love that President Tanner has for the students and how he cares about them as well by the way he speaks to us and shares his personal stories and experiences.”


Donato mentioned his excitement for future devotionals. He said, “It's new intelligence every Tuesday. Giving you new wisdom. The devotional is an invitation for me to act, like a change of heart.”


Durney advised, “Everyone should go to the devotional. They'll see blessing in their lives if they do."

Date Published: 
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Last Edited: 
Thursday, February 8, 2018