Despite being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Eddieson “Edz” Omatan Cabral said he had not heard anything about BYU–Hawaii before a couple in his branch approached him. Having spoken to a Perpetual Educational Fund (PEF) coordinator, he said it led him to being accepted and graduating from BYUH.
Cabral, originally from the Philippines, is a graduate who was in the IWORK program. He graduated cum laude with a double major in hospitality and tourism management and human resources. He also completed three minors in enterprise business systems, EIL, and small business and entrepreneurship, and is a certified SAP application associate. Cabral received the Marriott Foundation Scholarship and had maintained it since 2017.
Speaking of his first encounter with BYUH, Cabral explained how “one time a PEF coordinator visited potential candidates for the [IWORK] program in our branch. During the meeting, [one of the members], Brother Plucena, asked if there were any young men ages 18 and older. I confidently raised my hand, only to find out we’re encouraged to serve a mission first before we apply to PEF and be qualified. I was upset.”
Cabral said Plucena immediately came toward him and talked to him. Cabral recalled the conversation he had with Plucena to be an insightful event because of the counsel he received. He was told the door would open for opportunities if he served a faithful full-time mission. Skeptical of the advice, Cabral said he was not convinced.
Cabral remembered the counsel of the late prophet Thomas S. Monson in October 2010. President Monson’s talk, “As We Meet Together Again,” drew the attention of the young man. He said, “I repeat what prophets have long taught —that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission." Cabral said President Monson’s words touched his heart, and he was convinced he needed to speak with his parents and express what he felt to them.
“I talked to my parents and told them about the inspiration I got from the prophet. They were very supportive of my decision. I started my application.”
Cabral served in the California Oakland-San Francisco Mission from 2012 to 2014. After returning from his mission, Cabral said he witnessed all these “doors of opportunities” open to him. He shared these doors were great, but along with it came trials and responsibilities. Cabral shared the disappointment he felt from his application to BYU, as he was denied because of his English TOEFL proficiency exam. Cabral tried multiple times and still failed.
Cabral said he did not give up, and then he remembered about BYUH. He applied and was accepted. Cabral said, “I had the option to still come, but with my own expenses, or wait until the following semester. I waited, and I got here in Spring 2016.”
Opportunities to serve
Cabral gained experience at Pounders Restaurant, where he worked to prepare to be an administrative assistant. Cabral said he enjoys working with people and said these experiences will become useful to him when he opens a restaurant in the Philippines.
Cabral hopes to create opportunities for others to help alleviate the unemployment rate, especially for those students who struggle financially. On the spiritual side, Cabral served in his ward as an executive secretary and also served as a temple worker.
He said his love for serving people ventured into the BYUH Philippines Club where he served as the president during the Fall 2019 Semester. Cabral described his experience at BYUH as “priceless and very memorable.”
Xayezi Pastores-Tacuban, a recent graduate, was one of Cabral’s co-workers at Pounders and shared her appreciation of Cabral’s friendship. She said Cabral was working on the same shift when she started and made sure she felt welcomed in the workplace.
“There was never a dull moment when you are on the same shift with him. He is a great example of service and hospitality.”
Jared Emerson from Kahuku was Cabral’s former second counselor in the Laie YSA 11th Ward bishopric. He said Cabral is one of the most faithful people he has ever had the pleasure of working with in the Church.
“He was my executive secretary in the student ward I served in. He was extremely reliable in attending his meetings and carrying out his responsibilities. Edz would cheerfully volunteer to cook, serve, clean up for Break the Fasts and FHEs. He’d always shared leftovers with people he knew were in need.
Edz continues to inspire me with his diligence and commitment to serving others. Everyone in the world needs an Edz in their life.
“When he got released, I felt his absence because he was so organized and reminded me about meetings and appointments. Edz continues to inspire me with his diligence and commitment to serving others. Everyone in the world needs an Edz in their life.”
Honesty, Integrity, Gratitude, and Love
Cabral shared his key traits and recipe for success:
1. Center your life on the teachings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This includes getting a calling from your bishop and serving in the temple if you are able
2. Take advantage of all the resources available on campus to succeed: Reading Writing Lab, Center for Academic Success, teaching assistants, professors, friends and Church leaders
3. Stay positive
4. Love the people you serve
5. Strive to live a healthy life. Exercise regularly, sleep and arise early and eat healthy foods