Already dealing with the normal stresses college students face, BYU-Hawaii students also balance the responsibilities that come with their LDS Church callings and share the benefits of being a part of those callings.
Kristi Nelson, a freshman TESOL major from Arizona currently serving as a Relief Society secretary, said, “I am so grateful for my calling. I was planning on asking the bishopric for a calling, and before I did, they offered me this one.” Her responsibilities include taking notes at meetings, being in charge of attendance, and sometimes teaching lessons.
It has been beneficial for Nelson because she gets to know the girls in the ward and learn how to be a little more organized she said.
Nelson relayed, “I just found that it’s easier to listen to the promptings of the Spirit of who might need company and learning how to best serve the girls.
“It has also taught me that one person can’t do it on their own, and we all have our own responsibilities. If I can do my best to serve in my little capacity, I can help to make a bigger difference.”
Megan Alexander, a freshman Pacific Island Studies major from Nevada, explained, “I am a Relief Society teacher. Every fourth Sunday, the bishopric gives me a topic that they feel the sisters need to hear. It’s my calling and my obligation to teach a topic to the sisters utilizing the spirit to give them whatever message they need to hear.”
Being able to grow closer to Relief Society is one way Alexander had benefited from her calling. She said, “I can learn from them and know what they need. Something you hear is that you can’t handle certain things, but there is nothing you can’t handle with the Lord. Your Heavenly Father has faith you can do it and you are not alone.”
Joseph Pushnam, a junior business major from Malaysia who is a second counselor in the Elder’s Quorum, shared his responsibilities are to make sure he is able to reach out to men and ensure they are comfortable in the quorum. A double major in accounting and business management, he said, “It’s about serving them and making them feel at home, as well as setting goals and establishing a brotherhood.”
“Sundays can determine your entire week. You get to control how long you are willing to feel down. Heavenly Father will look out for you and allow you to think less about yourself and more about others, which can actually make having a calling more of a stress reliever,” Pushnam added.
Although a calling from the church can be time consuming, both Nelson and Alexander said their callings are worth it. Nelson stated, “I love serving with the president and the other members of the presidency, as well as the girls in Relief Society. … Getting to know everyone in the ward has really helped me learn names and given me more people to say hi to around campus.”
What makes her calling enjoyable, said Alexander, is how much she can get out of it. “I can study and know what to teach. And even if there’s last minute changes, I know that the Spirit will guide me. It has really allowed me to grow spiritually and help other people receive the right messages.”
Pushnam stated his favorite part is “helping people become who they are meant to be when they go back home and to build up and bring out their Christlike attributes.”
In order to stay on top of all her responsibilities, Nelson doesn’t do any homework on Sundays. She relayed, “I like to leave time to focus on Relief Society and meetings, as well as teaching and visiting women in the ward.” Nelson said she finds that this makes it seem less time consuming.
Pushnam stated, “It’s important to understand how to give priority to the standards we have and to know what comes first. It becomes a temptation to think more about school. It takes a lot of courage not to study on Sunday.”
Pushnam recommended keeping a planner. “It all comes from planning and prioritizing toward a long-term goal. Make sure you know what your priorities are. Plan out your day and set goals so you can measure the steps you have taken to accomplish everything.”
For Alexander, the best way for her to balance school, work, and a calling is to realize the Lord always comes first. “As we keep up with all of our school work and avoid procrastinating, we can focus more on Him.
“Don’t worry too much about time management because if you do your best, the Lord will bless you and help you along in school. It will all work out if we keep him in our studies and allow ourselves to grow closer to our Heavenly Father.”