Ke Alaka'i- April 2020

Page 1

The Leader

I s s u e 4 . Vo l u m e 1 2 5 . A p r i l 2 0 2 0

Pg. 16

Pg. 32

Pg. 50

Historic conference gives peace and understanding to members despite ongoing pandemic

Graduates find creative ways to celebrate their commencement

Leilani Tafili-Arnett’s says her patriarchal blessing motivated her to pursue and finish college

APRIL 2020 • VOLUME 125 • ISSUE 4


LeeAnn Lambert

Haeley van der Werf

Noah Shoaf

Kevin Brown

Esther Insigne






Bruno Maynez

Eli Hadley

Michael Kraft

Brad Carbine

Sadie Scadden






Hannah Manalang

Carlene Coombs

Olivia Hixson

Serena Dugar Ioane

Marvin Latchumanan






Madi Berry

Leiani Brown

Brooke Guryn

Killian Canto

Lilinoe Gomez







Cody Bruce Barney

Ho Yin Li

Chad Hsieh

Keyu Xiao





Letter from the managing editor As the world grapples with the effects of a global pandemic, the featured words of this month’s issue, “a hui hou” could not be more appropriate for this unprecedented situation as we find ourselves alone together but hopefully meeting again soon. As a BYU–Hawaii alumnus, I feel grateful for the opportunity I had to join together with my wife, fellow classmates and professors for our commencement in the Cannon Activities Center. I feel for the hundreds of seniors who will no longer be able to march across the stage. However, the ability for humans to adapt to their situations is evident and students still find ways to celebrate their milestones (Pg. 32). The great accomplishments of these seniors will not go unnoticed. I hope this issue helps shed light on the tremendous journeys students have made and their contributions to our ohana. I found out quickly college life is a time of individual growth where things don’t always go as planned, just as Raihau Gariki didn’t know she would end up in Hawaii (Pg. 44). This unique college campus also brings the world to our fingertips, something I really appreciated since I grew up on a ranch in Idaho. This newfound sense of diversity allowed me to accept differences and appreciate how others see the world, just as Jacob Lauder thrives on and grows stronger from the differences he shares with his fiancée (Pg. 58). I hope graduating seniors never forget the memories and experiences they have made here, and I hope they go forth and continually serve. Like Sosefina Finau (Pg. 42), I learned my purpose at this university. I never forgot where I came from and the people who got me here. To all of the students are now scattered throughout the world adapting to their online courses, the once-bustling corridors and buildings of campus are empty, and to my fellow worshippers on the church benches beside me who now hold home services with their families (Pg. 28), a hui hou. Until we meet again.


BOX 1920 BYUH LAIE, HI 96762 Pr int Ser vices Editorial, photo submissions & Distribution inquiries: k e a l a k a i @ by u h . e d u . To s u b s c r i b e t o t h e R S S F E E D or to view additional ar ticles,go to k e a l a k a i . by u h . e d u


Kevin Brown - Managing Editor

Email: Phone: (808) 675-3694 Fax: (808) 675-3491 Office: BYU–Hawaii Aloha Center 134 ON THE COVER:

Stacy Iler (right) and Jess Smith (left) wear their graduation attire and walk in front of the Flag Circle to commemorate the end of their studies at BYU–Hawaii. Photo by Ho Yin Li

ABOUT US The Ke Alaka‘i began publishing the same year the university, then called Church College of Hawaii, opened. It has continued printing for more than 60 years. The name means “the leader” in Hawaiian. It began as a monthly newsletter, evolved into a weekly newspaper, then a weekly magazine, and is now a monthly news magazine with a website and a social media presence. Today a staff of about 25 students works to provide information for BYU–Hawaii’s campus ohana and Laie’s community. © 2020 Ke Alaka‘i BYU–Hawaii All Rights Reserved APR IL 2020



Pg. 24 - Keeping those you love alive

God is always there

A student wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt exercises faith and finds courage in sharing his conversion to the gospel

Bringing scriptures to life Students react to the Book of Mormon Videos produced by the Church featuring students and alumni

Overcoming differences and pursuing true love Couples should find common ground where cultural and religious differences exist, says student



Contents Campus and Community Genuine Gold: Jonathan Reed


Bringing scriptures to life


More than skin deep


One-of-a-kind conference


God is always there


Creating safe spaces


COVID-19 Keeping those you love alive


Graduating from home


Pandemic cancels Church meetings


Staying grateful despite adversities


Domestic students who stayed


Messages of hope


2020 Graduates Kris cut loose


Following her father and her Father


Driven by purpose


Finding her place


Following an unexpected path


Trust in the Lord


A fitness journey


The ‘Queen’ of Tonga


An example of dedication


Overcoming differences and pursuing true love


April: The ‘A hui hou’ issue

As a staff, we will be continuing themes for the rest of the year. With so many people going home due to coronavirus and graduation being canceled, we decided to dedicate this issue to all of our amazing seniors and say to you, ‘A hui hou.’

APR IL 2020



C RE AT I V E W RI T I N G/ART/P HOTO SUBMISSIO N Adriannah Metta poses for a creative shoot by Seth Madriaga, a junior from the Philippines majoring in psychology.

Share your art, photos, or creative writing with us and we may feature it in our next issue. E-mail us your high-resolution photo or work with a caption at





Campus Comment:

What was your favorite memory at BYUH?

Beatriz Fowlke, a senior from Brazil majoring in information systems, said, “I’d say my favorite memory of BYU–Hawaii was the very first day I got here. I had never been to Hawaii, and seeing everything for the first time was amazing! I couldn’t believe I actually got to go to school here. I felt so blessed. There are a lot of other amazing memories: Meeting my husband just outside the gym for the first time, becoming best friends with my roommates, and learning new hobbies. I think what I will miss the most is walking home from classes and just taking in the fresh air and scenery. Even when I was stressed out because of classes, I was reminded of how blessed I was to go to school here just by being outside.”

Halle Davis, a senior from Idaho majoring in exercise and sports science, said, “This semester a few of my closest friends and I created a bucket list for our last semester at BYUH. One of the things that we really wanted to do on that bucket list was to go island hopping. It took a lot of planning, but we did it! Being able to create new friendships and take an amazing trip to Kauai was honestly one of my favorite experiences at BYUH!”

Adalyn Blalack, a senior from Hawaii majoring in art, said, “My favorite memory at BYUH was meeting my husband in our Pacific Island studies class! He was the first person I looked at when I walked through the door. I immediately thought he was cute and also thought he looked familiar, but I couldn’t recognize him from anywhere. Then, during class introductions, he was introduced as Hunter from Montana who served his mission in Spain, and then it clicked. I had seen his homecoming talk a few weeks prior on a family vacation in Montana! We became friends and started dating a few months later, and now we’ve been married for over a year. I love BYUH, and I know it’s where I was supposed to be for an incredible learning and growing experience. Meeting my husband here was absolutely the best.”

Jess Smith, a senior from California majoring in intercultural peacebuilding, said, “Some of my favorite memories at BYUH have been participating in Culture Night. I have been able to dance with Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia/Singapore, Fiji, and Hawaii, and at the same time, gain an appreciation for these beautiful cultures and their people.”



Jaryl Miguel, a junior from the Philippines majoring in computer science, said, “One of my unforgettable memories of BYUH is when I first arrived here on campus. I can’t forget the peaceful feeling that I felt as I stood upon the campus grounds.”

APR IL 2020


Genuine Gold

BYU–Hawaii alumnus and YSA bishop shares his experiences as a former student and current BY MICHAEL KRAFT Being a bishop at BYU–Hawaii comes with its own unique set of challenges and blessings, said Jonathan Reed, bishop of the Laie YSA 14th Ward and a BYUH alumnus. Reed grew up in Hawaii and graduated from Kahuku High School before attending BYUH. His best memories come from his time as a student and as a bishop at BYUH, he shared. Left: Reed and his wife as newlyweds. Top: Fulfilling his bishop’s duties by ministering with ward members. Bottom: Reed as a young man working for the PCC as a canoe boy. 8 KEprovided ALAK A ’Iby Jonathan Reed Photos

Where are you from? “I’m from here. I grew up here in Hawaii, graduated from Kahuku and I graduated from BYU–Hawaii. My great grandparents migrated from Samoa to help build the temple. That’s how my family ended up here.”

What blessings have you seen from attending BYU–Hawaii?

“I think coming to BYU–Hawaii is one of the greatest blessings. I always felt it was an honor and a privilege, and I was grateful to be here.You know, working at the Polynesian Cultural Center as a canoe guide was great and one of the happiest times of my life.

What advice would you give to graduating students at BYU–Hawaii? “Take all the knowledge and spiritual knowledge with you from BYU–Hawaii. It will strengthen you to overcome the world because it’s not always going to be how it is right now. It’s some of the happiest times

of your life, but it’s not always going to be this way. Take your testimony and spread it. Spread your testimony of the gospel as best as you can.”

What’s your favorite part about being a bishop? “My favorite part is spending time ans interacting with the ward members. Like I said, our ward is wonderful, and the best part is just seeing them improving ....When they make mistakes, just seeing them using the Atonement to make the corrections in their lives and [gain] appreciation for the Atonement.”

“My dad was a police officer for the Honolulu Police Department. He said the same thing when he was going to the Church College of Hawaii. It was one of the happiest times. It’s the spirit here. It’s wonderful.”

How did attending BYU–Hawaii help build your testimony? “I had a testimony, but I think it strengthened [my] testimony just by the people and the professors who taught us classes. And the students, just having the same spiritual goals was a great experience.You know, just being out in the world but staying together and having the same spiritual goals.”

What makes being a bishop at BYU–Hawaii unique? “I think the youth have complicated issues compared to a regular ward. I just think it’s a blessing to work with them. The kids are wonderful. I tell them all the time if their parents could see them in action, they’d be so proud because

their parents don’t get to see them magnifying their callings and sharing their testimonies. They just see them when they’re on vacation. But I always tell them if their parents could see how wonderful they are, that would be so neat.”

How are the challenges students face now different than the ones you dealt with? “I think, you know, growing up [compared to] the way the bishop deals with things now, it’s more Christlike. A lot of times people grow up being afraid of the bishop, and there are still some students who are still in that mode where they’re

afraid to see the bishop. But what I say to them is, ‘I’m here to help you get to where you want to be.’ I’m not here to scold you or anything like that. I just want you to follow the Plan of Salvation and get to where you’re supposed to be.

“When I grew up as a little kid in the Church, it was always, ‘Oh, you’ve got to see the bishop,’ and everybody’s afraid to see the bishop. I never wanted that, for my ward, to be afraid to come and see me.”

Graphics by Sadie Scadden APR IL 2020


MORE THAN SKIN DEEP Cultural tattoos are more than just form of body art, according to students of Polynesia

BY MADI BERRY BYU–Hawaii students from Polynesia shared the meaning, symbolism and story behind their cultural tattoos that can represent family, culture, faith and their personal identity. Each shared a unique reason and purpose for obtaining the tattoo they have, and they shared the pride of the representation of their culture and family they also carry with it as a result. Quincy Tahiata, a freshman from Australia double majoring in Pacific Island studies and social work, discussed his tattoos, which are on the top of his chest and on a portion of his upper back. Each side has a representation of his parents’ heritage with many other motifs and symbolism within. Tahiata shared, “On my front, it represents where my dad is from. It talks about a specific mountain where my dad is from in Tahiti. “There are arrow-pointing patterns that point toward the mountain. It shows how our family will always go back to where we are from.

“If you look at the tattoo as a whole, you can see both parts make one face. The face represents my mother.” - Quincy Tahiata 10


“Other specific motifs talk about me, and the other ones talk about my family, specifically my siblings. Others also talk about strength, courage and good luck.”

Religion and culture Lisa Agafili, a senior from New Zealand double majoring in Pacific Island studies and TESOL, shared the cultural and familial significance of the decision to receive her tattoo. In her family, getting tattoos is customary. Upon becoming a member of the Church, Agafili’s tattoo affected her family dynamic.

She said, “I got my tattoo before I became a member. I was supposed to get a malu.” She said a malu is the tattoo women receive on their legs in Samoan culture. “I was supposed to have a soa [partner] to get it with, but because I am a member now, I didn’t get it. I was stuck between religion and culture. “It was hard for me to not do it, and my brother ended up not getting a tatau with anyone.” She said the tatau is the tattoo men receive on their legs. Tahiata went on to discuss the symbolism and cultural significance of the tattoo on his back. He commented, “On the back, it talks

about how the Maori side of my family is almost symmetrical. The reason being my grandparents are from the same tribe but different parts of it. One half represents my grandfather’s side and the motifs of the design inside talk about my grandfather’s side. “The other half of my back talks about my grandmother, and the patterns are the same, but it is reversed. “If you look at the tattoo as a whole, you can see both parts make one face. The face represents my mother.” A community member from Laie, Clayton O’Conner, has tattoos that are a blend of two

Graphics by Hannah Manalang

cultures. He explained what they represented and his decision to get them. He said, “It is a mix of Hawaiian and Samoan. I got it not really for myself but mostly for my family. I’m really close with my family, and I got this as sort of a gift just for them.”

Identity O’Conner said, “I got this chest piece close to my heart that is symbolic of my parents. I have a flower pattern that is symbolic of my mom. The part surrounding it is like a shield for my dad.

“I have stuff on my arm going from oldest to youngest, representing my siblings.” He explained how all of the designs make up the shapes of various letters that make up the first initials of all of his siblings, including himself. He also talked about the designs on his arm. He said, “The designs tell the things I love, like surfing, fish and the ocean. I also have a club, which is for protection.” Agafili discussed how her tattoo was a part of her identity. “Growing up in New Zealand, your culture gets a bit lost. This was my way of keeping my identity.

“A lot of people think I’m Tongan, but when they take one look at it they immediately know I’m Samoan. “[My tattoos] tell a story. They talk about the water, the bowl used to mix the ava [kava].” Tahiata commented on how while all tattoos have their own respective meaning, Polynesian tattoos can carry more meaning than face value. He said, “This is not a new thing. This is hundreds and hundreds of years old.” According to, the Samoan tradition of applying tattoo, or tatau, is a skill passed on from father to son and tools and techniques used have changed very little. º APR IL 2020


God is always there “No matter how difficult the situation is that you are in, no matter how hopeless, how miserable you are, God is always there. God will never give up on you. God never forgets you.”



Being imprisoned unjustly helped Cheng Hao Leung’s faith become stronger

BY CARLENE COOMBS After being arrested for a crime he did not commit, Cheng Hao “Nelson JS” Leung said his few days in an Egyptian prison strengthened his faith in the gospel and led him to serve a full-time mission in Canada. Through this experience, Nelson said he was able to find the courage to tell his family he was a member of the Church, a fact he had been hiding from them for years. “No matter how difficult the situation is that you are in, no matter how hopeless, how miserable you are, God is always there. God will never give up on you. God never forgets you,” said Nelson, a freshman from Singapore majoring in hospitality and tourism management. Before Nelson was a missionary or a student at BYU–Hawaii, he worked as a tour escort in Egypt and frequently traveled there from Singapore. Nelson shared while going back and forth, he often transported luggage of documents for a colleague and always checked the contents because airport security regularly checked passengers’ baggage before they entered Egypt. “On my seventh tour to Egypt, I just trusted [my colleague] and checked in without double-checking the luggage. On my arrival at Egypt’s Alexandria International Airport, a customs officer asked for my passport and wanted to inspect my luggage. “I was so confident and claimed there was nothing to be worried about. Once the customs officer opened it, I was arrested. Seven kilograms of drugs and hundreds of USBs were found.” Nelson said he was taken to a dirty prison, where he spent the next four days. He said prayer helped him get through the hardship. “What I did was pray and find help. I think these two things were key. With prayer, I could receive comfort from God and knew I would be okay. I found friends to help me find a lawyer, and luckily I got a very, very good lawyer to help me out.” Though being found guilty of drug trafficking carries the death penalty in Egypt, Nelson said he never felt scared and somehow knew things would work out.

“I knew I was innocent. I knew God was with me.” Nelson said it was because of his experience in the prison he decided to tell his family he was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he would be going on a two-year mission. Before his experience in Egypt, Nelson said he had a desire to go on a mission, but he was afraid of telling his family. “This story taught me a lot of things. It strengthened my testimony. It was the story I would share every time I met people on my mission because it strengthened me. I want it to strengthen others as well. This experience made me want to go on a mission because I made a deal with God. That’s changed my whole life.” Nelson said he started attending church when he was 14 years old. He described how he had been walking down the street with a plunger when the missionaries asked him what the Cantonese word was for plunger. “That was how I started my association with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because of those two missionaries, I found the answers to questions I had been wondering about all these years.” He commented, “Who knew a plunger would completely change my life?” Knowing his family would not approve, Nelson said he never told them about his church attendance and was 18 when he got baptized. “It’s kind of lying,” he explained, “But also I told my family I was going to meet friends, so it’s kind of the truth. I just didn’t tell them I was going to church [with friends]. But luckily, my parents didn’t find out about going to church, especially my father. “It was after I got back from Egypt that I told them. They were shocked, especially my father. My father wasn’t very happy about it.” Though his father did not approve of him going on a mission, he told Nelson the decision was up to him, and he didn’t want Nelson to regret not going later on in his life. “My father’s response was totally unexpected to me. He said, ‘I’ll let you do what

you want. This is your life. I don’t want to be the guy who you blame in the future for not giving you permission to do what you want. If you are happy after your mission, I am happy for you. If not, you suffer for it.’ “I am so grateful Heavenly Father gave me such a great dad. I spent all those years afraid of telling my family. Who knew it turned out so simple?” Au’ahi Aiu, a freshman from Kahuku, Hawaii majoring in biochemistry, said he sees Nelson’s love of the gospel through his interactions at BYUH. “He talks with people and tries to be their friend and share the light of the gospel. He makes sure he goes to church every week and is going to his ward.” Kou Sasaki, a sophomore from Japan studying accounting, said when struggling with a personal problem, Nelson was always there to help and give advice. “He’s the only one who I can trust from the bottom of my heart ... At the time, I felt he was really spiritual and had a strong faith in Jesus Christ. He helped me using scriptures from the Book of Mormon.” •

Nelson expressed gratitude for his lawyer, Hesham, who helped him to freedom. Photos provided by Nelson.

Graphics by Sadie Scadden. APR IL 2020


Sam Tobon said acting in the “Book of Mormon Videos” allowed him moments of complete gratitude for how amazing God is. Photograph taken from the “Book of Mormon Videos”

‘Book of Mormon Videos’ actors say they gained humility and gratitude from filming them





Actors were told to portray what their emotions would be like after hearing a speech from King Benjamin. Photo provided by X Llewel Galapon Angala

After acting in the new “Book of Mormon Videos” series produced by the Church, students and alumni said it was an honor for them to bring something holy, such as the scriptures, to life. They said they felt the influence of the spirit on themselves and saw it guiding other actors and the crew as well as they worked to recreate the scripture stories. Sam Tobon, a junior from Colombia majoring in business management with an emphasis in human resources, shared his reaction after watching the published videos. “I was in the King Benjamin chapters, and they did not film the whole speech there. It was the part where you would see the crowd of people. My experience watching it was getting the rest of the puzzle because I only had part of it.” Tobon continued, “If you have seen the video, you see thousands of people. We would be in tents, and we would film the part where we all kneel in prayer. “Then they would tell us, ‘Okay, now go and find a new family,’ so we would all rotate, and they would angle the camera to make it look like it was thousands of people. When we watched the video, they added CGI to make it look crowded.” Mark Maslar, a sophomore from California majoring in theater education, shared what was done on the set to ensure the accuracy of what was being filmed. He said, “I remember meeting people who were simply there to be references for the scriptures,

to represent the Church and to make sure everything was accurate. “It touched me how they put so much care into it. Being able to watch it then put together in the way it was, was extraordinary because you felt the combined spirit of those who were involved.You were able to share in it because you were there, and you got to witness it and see all of the effort they put into it.” Tobon said the most memorable part for him during the filming process was when the film crew “would tell us, ‘He just finished his speech, and now you are reacting to it.’ It was a moment of complete gratitude for how amazing God is.” X Llewel Galapon Angala, an alumnus from the Philippines who graduated with a degree in hospitality and tourism management, shared his reaction to watching the final product. “When I watched the video, I felt so excited because I could finally see the final result and our hard work. I felt like I was there listening to King Benjamin, especially when we said we believe in his words. It was a very powerful experience,” he said. Tobon discussed what it was like bringing the scriptures to life. He shared how often, when individuals read the scriptures, each person sees what they imagine differently in their head. Because of this, he said, “It’s tricky. There is an adjustment.”

Maslar commented on why the experience was humbling for him, saying, “As an actor, it is humbling to bring something sacred to life. As we begin to understand, empathize and connect with the stories of the people we are trying to bring to life, there is a difference that comes to you. “I think it changes you. I think when we bring something spiritual or anything important to life, it can change you. And if you do it right, it will change you for the good.” Tobon shared the experience he had with the other actors in the videos. He said, “These men take their jobs seriously, and the results are evident from what was produced by the Church. “The people who were acting with [the actor who played] Christ in these videos said he would act the exact same on and off set, and he made people feel incredible. I could say similar things about the other actors, such as [those who played] Mosiah and King Benjamin. “We were in the van on the way to a shooting spot and I saw the King Benjamin actor deep in thought, and it was because he was about to deliver one of the best speeches we have in scripture.” Angala said it was an honor for him to have this opportunity “because I can be an instrument to help people strengthen their faith and testimony in Jesus Christ.” º

Producers added CGI to make scenes look more crowded. Photos provided by Mark Maslar

APR IL 2020


Experiencing an unforgettable conference Prophet counsels Church members, students and faculty react to one-of-a-kind conference

Above: President Nelson announced eight new temples. Photo by the Associated Press. Below: Logo provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

BY: LEIANI BROWN April’s semiannual General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – previously promised to be “different from any previous conference” by President Russell M. Nelson last October – brought a new symbol for the Church, a solemn assembly with a Hosanna Shout, a bicentennial proclamation and a call for another worldwide fast. The conference, broadcast from a nearly empty auditorium in Salt Lake City, Utah, commemorated the First Vision of the Church’s first president, Joseph Smith, which took place 200 years ago. “We pray that this conference will be memorable and unforgettable because of the messages you will hear, the unique announcements which will be made, and the experiences in which you will be invited to participate,” said Russell M. Nelson, president of the Church, in his opening statement during the Saturday Morning Session.

have to be six feet apart, not really being able to greet each other when that was something they’ve always done. “It makes me want everything to go back to normal and see everyone all together [again] … but I also really love the Church and Church leaders even more that they’re taking it seriously and showing that [they’re] doing this but still following regulations.” In accordance with these restrictions, music was prerecorded for all five sessions.

Saturday Evening Session: New symbol and worldwide fast The Saturday evening session, usually a time for either all male members of the Church President Nelson recapped the Church’s or all female members to meet, was opened up efforts to focus on the full name of the Church. this year to all members ages 11 and up. He added the purpose of this new symbol is to The session included two youth speakers, further “help us remember Him and to identify Laudy R. Kaouk and Enzo S. Petelo, teenagers The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from two different congregations in Utah. as the Lord’s Church.” Traditionally, talks are given by general Theinsymbol, Nelson explained, authorities church leadership. to Conference amidst pandemic © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve,and Inc. All rights reserved. Version:According 1/20. PD60010469 000. Printed the United President States of America includes the full name of the Church inside a LDS Living, the last youth to speak in General Because of restrictions due to the cornerstone – representing Christ’s centrality Conference was Matthew S. Holland in April coronavirus pandemic, only participants of in the doctrine of the Church – and a depiction 1983, who was called as a general authority in the session were allowed to attend, instead of the Christus statue as the focal point of the Saturday Afternoon Session this year. of the usual mass gathering at the Church’s the symbol, positioned underneath an arch In this special bicentennial conference Conference Center, in efforts to “be good representing the Savior emerging from the commemorating Joseph Smith, President global citizens,” explained President Nelson. tomb following his resurrection. Nelson introduced a new symbol to be used Isabella Reed, a sophomore from Mililani Aubriela Blair, a junior from Utah studying on all Church “literature, news and events.” He studying history education, said it was hard for added, “It is important to remember that while psychology, said she usually gets anxious around her to see the First Presidency sitting six feet General Conference, but after talking with a we revere Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, apart, but she said she admires their respect for friend who helped her identify some personal this is not the church of Joseph Smith. Nor is it the situation. anxieties and deciding to take notes, she was the church of Mormon. This is the Church of “They take the pandemic very seriously ... able to have a spiritually uplifting experience. I can’t even imagine what that’s like for them to Jesus Christ.” 16


“I love the new symbol,” said Blair. “It strengthens my testimony a lot because I love Christ. Sometimes, like everyone, I forget about Christ and how He’s my best friend, and He’s always there for me. To have this new symbol everywhere is going to be really helpful for a lot of members, including myself.” President Nelson added, “This symbol should feel familiar to many, as we have long identified the restored gospel with the living, resurrected Christ.” He continued, noting the Easter holiday. “As followers of Jesus Christ, living in a day when the COVID-19 pandemic has put the

whole world in commotion, let us not just talk of Christ, or preach of Christ, or employ a symbol representing Christ, let us put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ into action.” The president of the global church, which reported 16,565,036 members as of Dec. 31, 2019, then called for another worldwide fast to take place on Good Friday, a Christian holiday commemorating Christ’s death and crucifixion. Fasting, a practice with biblical roots where members abstain from food and water

for a period of two consecutive meals or 24 hours, was held previously on March 29 in search of relief from the global pandemic, explained President Nelson. Blair, who invited a friend of another faith to participate in the fast, said, “I’ve always believed in sacrifice and showing the world or showing God that we’re willing to sacrifice something to earn something.”

BYUH sophomore Isabella Reed says it was hard to see Church leaders sitting six feet apart at the conference due to social distancing for the coronavirus. Photo by the Associated Press

APR IL 2020


Hosanna Shout: a united plea for salvation One of the first announcements President Nelson made in his opening statement was for members of the Church to prepare for a Hosanna Shout and solemn assembly to occur during the Sunday Morning Session. Usually not morning people, Reed said she and her family made it a point this year to wake up early enough to watch each session live. She added she had never heard of or participated in a Hosanna Shout. She immediately began texting all her friends after it was announced, excited and hoping for everyone to have the opportunity to participate. The Hosanna Shout, according to the 15th President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, is a “sacred salute to the Father and the Son.” It is usually done at temple dedications, according to Deseret News, and it involves the waving of a clean, white handkerchief while shouting in unison, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna to God and the Lamb” three times, concluding with “Amen, Amen and Amen.” The shout also symbolizes Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, leading up to his crucifixion. According to the Church Newsroom, the shout was first experienced for Church members at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple in 1836. Reed said it was special knowing her mom participated in the Hosanna Shout for the Laie Hawaii Temple re-dedication as well as learning about the significance behind the word “hosanna.” “I knew from seminary that ‘hosanna’ meant ‘save me now,’ or that’s how I [understood it]. I just love the simple, but powerful words, saying it three times, ‘To God and the Lamb,’ and then closing it off with the ‘Amens,’” said Reed. “It was super special ... because I was thinking about it, and they do it at every dedication of a temple, but only a few select times will they do it worldwide. It was worldwide. Millions of people were doing it, and knowing that is really cool too, [knowing] we were all unified in doing it.” Matthew Bowen, assistant professor in the Faculty of Religious Education, further explained that “hosanna” is a Hebrew term



The Hosanna shout, demonstrated by President Nelson, is a sacred salute to the Father and the Son, said President Gordon B. Hinckley. Photo by the Associated Press.

taken from Psalm 118, verse 25, as part of scripture that was important to the Passover in biblical times. “It’s a plea for salvation. That’s really what it boils down to.” Bowen also said the name “Jesus,” which means “Jehovah saves” or “Jehovah is salvation,” is etymologically related to “hosanna.” He added how it was appropriate the Hosanna Shout took place on Palm Sunday, the day the crowds shouted their hosannas as Christ entered Jerusalem at the beginning of the last week of His life. Bowen stressed that in this instance, the plea for many of them probably referred to their hope that Christ would deliver them from Roman rule, rather than the spiritual deliverance he would actually offer. “With the coinciding of the 200th anniversary of the First Vision and the COVID-19 pandemic, we can appreciate the levels on which that plea works,” said Bowen. “We’re pleading for both physical and spiritual deliverance, and those two things are ultimately entwined. “Jesus is the one who will save us both from physical death and spiritual death ... Ultimately, He will put all enemies under His feet, including death and including COVID-19 and every other problem that has beset humanity.” A solemn assembly for a bold proclamation According to Church Newsroom, solemn assemblies are sacred meetings, usually held when a new Church president is called but can be held for other holy purposes. As

announced by President Nelson, the purpose of this solemn assembly was the introduction of a new Church proclamation entitled, “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World.” Bowen explained solemn assemblies were significant in ancient Israel, usually convened on the seventh day of Passover and eighth day of the celebration of the Feast of the Tabernacles, which typically occur around the same time of year as General Conference. In this dispensation, Bowen said there have only been five other official declarations and proclamations, two of which are accepted as canon, or official scripture. Bowen added his admiration for how the proclamation addresses the entire world and serves as a bold declaration of what the entire Church believes. “This is sort of a collective bearing of a testimony from the First Presidency and the Twelve … This is us as a church affirming and testifying of what we believe. “And in doing that, as we unite in our testimony and faith, it serves to strengthen our faith in a world where people increasingly tend to back away from statements of certainty and try to be politic and diplomatic in their language. This is the kind of statement that’s really needed right now.” The proclamation was immediately uploaded in full in 12 languages at •

THE RESTORATION OF THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST A B I C E N T E N N I A L P RO C L A M AT I O N T O T H E WO R L D The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the Western Hemisphere soon after His Resurrection.

dren in every nation of the world. God the

It teaches of life’s purpose and explains the doctrine of

Father has given us the divine birth, the incomparable

Christ, which is central to that purpose. As a compan-

life, and the infinite atoning sacrifice of His Beloved

ion scripture to the Bible, the Book of Mormon testifies

Son, Jesus Christ. By the power of the Father, Jesus

that all human beings are sons and daughters of a lov-

rose again and gained the victory over death. He is our

ing Father in Heaven, that He has a divine plan for our

Savior, our Exemplar, and our Redeemer.

lives, and that His Son, Jesus Christ, speaks today as

Two hundred years ago, on a beautiful spring morning

well as in days of old.

in 1820, young Joseph Smith, seeking to know which

We declare that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-

church to join, went into the woods to pray near his

day Saints, organized on April 6, 1830, is Christ’s New

home in upstate New York, USA. He had questions re-

Testament Church restored. This Church is anchored

garding the salvation of his soul and trusted that God

in the perfect life of its chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ,

would direct him.

and in His infinite Atonement and literal Resurrec-

In humility, we declare that in answer to his prayer,

tion. Jesus Christ has once again called Apostles and

God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph and inaugurated the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21) as foretold in the Bible. In this vision, he

has given them priesthood authority. He invites all of us to come unto Him and His Church, to receive the Holy Ghost, the ordinances of salvation, and to gain

learned that following the death of the original Apostles,

enduring joy.

Christ’s New Testament Church was lost from the earth.

Two hundred years have now elapsed since this Resto-

Joseph would be instrumental in its return.

ration was initiated by God the Father and His Beloved

We affirm that under the direction of the Father and the

Son, Jesus Christ. Millions throughout the world have

Son, heavenly messengers came to instruct Joseph and

embraced a knowledge of these prophesied events.

re-establish the Church of Jesus Christ. The resurrected

We gladly declare that the promised Restoration goes

John the Baptist restored the authority to baptize by

forward through continuing revelation. The earth will

immersion for the remission of sins. Three of the orig-

never again be the same, as God will “gather together in

inal twelve Apostles—Peter, James, and John—restored

one all things in Christ” (Ephesians 1:10).

the apostleship and keys of priesthood authority. Oth-

With reverence and gratitude, we as His Apostles in-

ers came as well, including Elijah, who restored the authority to join families together forever in eternal relationships that transcend death.

Document provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


e solemnly proclaim that God loves His chil-

vite all to know—as we do—that the heavens are open. We affirm that God is making known His will for His beloved sons and daughters. We testify that those who

We further witness that Joseph Smith was given the

prayerfully study the message of the Restoration and

gift and power of God to translate an ancient record:

act in faith will be blessed to gain their own witness of

the Book of Mormon—Another Testament of Jesus

its divinity and of its purpose to prepare the world for

Christ. Pages of this sacred text include an account of

the promised Second Coming of our Lord and Savior,

the personal ministry of Jesus Christ among people in

Jesus Christ.

This proclamation was read by President Russell M. Nelson as part of his message at the 190th Annual General Conference, April 5, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. APR IL 2020


LGBTQ+ students and allies discuss the importance of love and support in months following Honor Code changes BY CARLENE COOMBS



In the months and weeks after the changes to the Honor Code on Feb. 19 and the clarifications to those changes on March 4, students and faculty at BYU–Hawaii shared some of their confusion and the importance of supporting LGBTQ+ students. LGBTQ+ students also shared their gratitude toward students and administration who have supported them. “[LGBTQ+ students] are individuals. We want to be looked at as individuals and be valued as individuals not just because we identify as something else,” said Ron Chand, a senior from Fiji majoring in accounting. “For those who are allies, and we have a lot of allies, we’re just so grateful. We just want to be able to thank them and say thank you for being there for us.” Michelle Blimes, an instructor in the Faculty of Education & Social Work, said she has encouraged faculty members to let students, specifically LGBTQ+ students, know they are a safe space, and students can talk to them. “There’s been some talk about professors putting signs in their office letting students know they are a safe space and showing support for these students. There has been a lot of fear around the Honor Code and [students] being afraid to be out about this part of their identity because of feeling like they would be scrutinized more carefully than straight students would. So, I think a lot of people don’t share that part of themselves and live in a lot of fear.” On Feb. 19, the Church Educational System announced changes to the Honor Code in order “to be in alignment with the doctrine and policies of the Church.” A noticeable change for students of CES schools was the removal of the section in the Honor Code addressing “homosexual behavior,” which previously stated while same-sex attraction was not against Honor Code, homosexual behavior did not follow the guidelines. According to, the updated version of the Honor Code contains no reference to the previous section prohibiting homosexual behavior. This removal caused some confusion among students at CES schools, including students attending BYUH.

Two weeks later, Elder Paul Johnson, commissioner of the Church Educational System, released a statement clarifying what the changes meant. In the letter, he stated, “One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on ‘Homosexual Behavior.’ The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code.” The statement continued, “Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles included in the Honor Code.” Laura Tevaga, director of communication and marketing at BYUH, said, “I want to emphasize the principles of the Honor Code have not changed, and they align with the doctrine and policies of the Church. “Elder Johnson’s letter ... provides helpful clarification of these principles. For those students who have questions, we would encourage them to visit the Office of Honor or Dean of Students.” Angela Morales, a junior from the Philippines majoring in psychology and political science, said even though she is not part of the LGBTQ+ community, she found the changes difficult and confusing. “It’s hard. I feel like I’m also affected because these are my friends. These are people. They’re just like us.” Iese Wilson, a junior from Hilo majoring in music, shared when he read the clarification letter, he was hurt, even though he did not believe that was the intention of Elder Johnson. “That pain occurred because I cannot help but long for the level of affection I see on campus. For two weeks, I thought I could join the ranks of all the other couples holding hands, cuddling, and possibly kissing, provided I found someone.” Chand said while he personally is not bothered by the changes, he knows and acknowledges those who are struggling with them. “To me, I’m just living the gospel on my own, and that’s what I do. But there are a lot of students … who are still trying to find their place and their standing or their inner peace with all of it … For my people, some of them are struggling with it, and that makes it

my business to help them. I’m okay with [the changes]. I know there are a lot of people who are not okay with it. “For anybody who is Christlike, or a disciple, or wants to be a disciple of Jesus, it’s not okay for you to keep going and … not acknowledge the pain and suffering around you.” Chand added he believes the time between the changes and clarification caused many of the concerns among students, and it would have been better if the letter accompanied the changes. “Because there was such a gap between when the Honor Code change came out and

“For those who are allies, and we have a lot of allies, we’re just so grateful. We just want to be able to thank them and say thank you for being there for us.” - Ron Chand

when the letter was released, it left room for private interpretation of what [the changes] meant. And so that’s what created all the chaos among the students because everyone wants to be accepted … More than holding hands or kissing or any kind of PDA, I think it was just the feeling of being accepted they held onto.” Morales said while she and other students strive to obey the Honor Code, lack of clarification can make it difficult to follow the standards. “We uphold the Honor Code as much as we can. But these confusions make it hard for us to follow [the Honor Code].” Starting a conversation Blimes said while this situation has been hard for many students, it has helped start the conversation between LGBTQ+ students and CES schools. “As difficult as this update and clarification has been, one of the good things that has come from it is the clarification it is okay to identify as gay, and the university is trying to create a safer space for students on campus.” APR IL 2020


“They were really helpful in helping us understand they will do whatever they can to make sure the LGBTQ+ students feel safe, and they are able to go through school no matter what they identify as and be able to participate in everything.” - Ron Chand

She shared because of the initial announcement, LGBTQ+ students were able to have a meeting with some of the administration at BYUH and discuss what the changes meant and how to help BYUH become a safe space for all students. “The meeting ended up happening the day after the clarification letter came out,” said Blimes. “It was a difficult time, but it was still an opportunity for the students to share their feelings and to help the university know what needs to be done to create a safer space on campus.” Chand, who attended the meeting, shared he found the meeting very informative. “They were really helpful in helping us understand they will do whatever they can to make sure the LGBTQ+ students feel safe, and they are able to go through school no matter what they identify as and be able to participate in everything.” He added they had the meeting out of concern for the safety of LGBTQ+ students and to bring awareness of these issues to the BYUH administration. “When the [letter] came out, you would have seen if you went to [Facebook] pages like ‘I Love BYUH & PCC,’ there were a lot of people posting, and they were saying derogatory things to gay people. [LGBTQ+] people are worried for their safety, and they are feeling hurt.” Love and acceptance Chand said one thing he wanted to emphasize is the need for being kind toward LGBTQ+ students and helping them feel more accepted around campus. “[People] need to realize this is a sensitive matter, to the point where people have committed suicide. Emotions are running high. People are upset. People are depressed. People 22


are sad. If you don’t have anything good to say about it, just don’t say anything at all.” According to the CDC, a study done in 2015 showed 29 percent of high school-aged teenagers in the United States who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual had attempted suicide, while only 6 percent of straight students had attempted suicide. To encourage others to be more loving and accepting, Wilson shared a quote from Elder Holland from the Oct. 2007 Ensign issue. The quote said, “Some members exclude from their circle of fellowship those who are different. When our actions or words discourage someone from taking full advantage of Church membership, we fail them – and the Lord. The Church is made stronger as we include every member and strengthen one another in service and love.” Morales wanted to let these students know she and other students and faculty at BYUH are there to support those who need it. “They don’t have to suffer alone. They don’t have to feel alone. People are fighting for them. I am their friend. I will listen to them. If they need a resource, there’s always the counseling center. There are people and faculty who understand them, and I want to say Heavenly Father still loves them, whoever they choose to become.”

Wilson said as part of the LGBTQ+ community, he wants to be accepted and to have the companionship others have. “So often, people view gayness as just being sex-driven, but at the top of my list is companionship. I, like many of you, simply want joy, salvation, to be loved, and to be in love. The journey is complex, and it looks like I’ll have to wait just a bit longer.” Wilson shared his personal mission “is to ‘mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.’ I am constantly seeking to connect and empathize privately with anybody who is on this journey and to have an open dialogue with anyone with the sincere intent to achieve understanding.” Value of the Honor Code While she believes some adjustments could be made to the Honor Code, Morales said it is something she loves about BYUH and one of the reasons she came here. “I think BYU really creates this protection for individuals of the Church and the students of the university to follow God’s commandments,” she said. “The BYUH Honor Code is also a great resource for following God’s standards. It’s something that is very healthy for students because it makes you more in tune with the Spirit than being on another campus without the Honor Code.” Chand shared through living the gospel, he has found living by the Honor Code has not been a challenge and believes it is part of what makes BYUH a safe university. “To keep uniformity and to keep peace anywhere, there needs to be some sort of code and policy to follow. [The Honor Code] is BYU’s code and policy … Personally, I think overall, it does provide us with protection,” he said, but it could be improved. •

“They don’t have to suffer alone. They don’t have to feel alone. People are fighting for them. I am their friend. I will listen to them...and I want to say Heavenly Father still loves them, whoever they choose to become.” - Angela Morales Graphics by Hannah Manalang

My experience being openly gay at BYUH BY RON CHAND I was asked to write about my experience at BYU– Hawaii as a gay member of the Church. I think the best word to describe my journey is “progressive.” I came to Hawaii as a closeted person who had to go through some really rough refiner’s fire to find myself. I had to get acquainted with who I am and what my purpose is in life. My time at BYUH started from being a single man struggling to heal himself from homosexuality, to the point where I got married because of wrong advice. As a Latter-day Saint, I am grateful to have a testimony rooted in God rather than people. It saved my life and allowed me to make some of the toughest decisions. I lived through some of the toughest tests of faith and endured persecution from people who I thought were friends. Being gay was one thing, but being divorced and gay was an even bigger topic around BYUH. But these were the refiner's fires I mentioned earlier. It takes courage and real faith to stand alone and grab hold of your life. I learned progress doesn't come only when things are going well. Instead, it was my ability to get back up every time life knocked me down that helped me progress. I could have become so bitter, but then I realized I was looking for validation among the wrong groups of people and situations. Together with the bad, there was so much good waiting for me, but I had to choose to look beyond the persecutions, the silent whispers of gossip and hate. I had to realize some of my own frailties. I also had to fix my own attitudes of how I dealt with situations. I decided to stand my ground and push through the bad and discover what my new life offered me. I accepted my homosexuality and realized I wasn’t the one struggling with same-gender attraction. The people around me were struggling with accepting my same-gender attraction. People don’t know how hurtful they can be when they lack wisdom, and when someone gets exposed to so much hurt, they start believing all sorts of things they are told. So how did I come out of this stupor? Choices, tough choices. With my new life came a new found love between my family and friends. I realized I needed to embrace the blessing of walking this life as a gay

man. I decided I had to stop playing the victim and learn to become my own hero. As I became more real to myself, I became more real to the circumstances and people around me. Because of the trials I went through, I was freed from living a life of pretend and fear, free from constantly living to please others and fighting to fit into their idea of how my life should be. I started to work on increasing my value, getting ready to conquer the world as a gay, brown, Indian, Pacific Islander man. Today, I am preparing to graduate with honors. I have a great job helping others find their potential. I am the president of an NGO (Affirmation Hawaii Chapter) that helps fellow LGBTQ+ friends at BYUH and around Hawaii learn self-empowerment and find their purpose. I also hold a church calling, working with a loving bishop who sees my worth even as I slip and sometimes fall as we all do. So, “progressive.” My journey has been wholesomely full of God’s refining fire, and it has been amazingly progressive. •

Ron Chand graduates this semester. Photo provided by Ron Chand APR IL 2020


Keeping those you love alive BYU–Hawaii service missionary describes life with immunosuppressed child during COVID-19 crisis BY JASON BLISS I will never forget the first time a physician told us our child might not make it through the night. It wouldn’t be the last time a healthcare expert told us that. Preston is the second oldest of our five children. When he was young, he was diagnosed with a kidney disorder that required ongoing treatments. His frail, little body would often balloon in unusual shapes as he retained fluid, and a common cold could send us racing to the hospital.

a ss Bli

d, ske



liv ve a ou lo y e os liss p th n B ke e y Jaso o t b do ided you prov d l ou oto t w Ph


Ja so n

“Even at a young age, Preston surpassed most adults in his capacity to show empathy toward those struggling.” 24


With faith comes unexpected blessings As Preston grew older, we often found ourselves in the hospital as his body and mighty spirit worked together to battle his medical condition. He knew the hospital room with its never-ending noise better than his own comfortable bed. Track marks, telling signs of yet another hard-fought battle, covered his arms from the regular IVs and blood draws. Even at a young age, Preston surpassed most adults in his capacity to show empathy toward those struggling. During his extended-stay visit, patients in his unit were discharged home. Preston could hear them excitedly packing up their items on the opposite side of the thin, blue hospital curtain dividing our cramped living space. The first few children to leave brought hope Preston would follow soon, but he didn’t. A day stretched into a week, and he sunk into a deep sadness. When Preston watched another roommate celebrate their departure, he eventually turned to me, with tears flooding his eyes, and said, “Daddy, can I please go home? Please, Daddy, let’s just go home. Please?” I held my son that day for what felt like hours and let the comfort of my arms provide the love my words couldn’t. His face, once so

optimistic, lost faith, and he no longer showed interest when the nurse entered the room to update us. We didn’t go home then, but eventually he improved enough to joyfully plan his return to our family. With obedience comes sacrifice Preston was determined to prove the doctors wrong about his limitations. As a family, we knew we needed to make lifestyle changes to protect him. These changes came with some sacrifices, as we were relatively healthy and comfortably social. We have friends. We are actively involved in our faith. We enjoy traveling. At the time, we even had plans to start our own company. However, in an effort to remain in control of our responsibilities and involved in our communities, we all make poor choices, especially when faced with a contagious illness. How many times have we found ourselves sick at church, work, a restaurant or on a flight for a much-needed vacation? How often did we send our children to school ill because keeping them home would disrupt our schedules? As a former executive in the healthcare field, I was charged with caring for the aging population in skilled nursing facilities and continuing care retirement communities. Eventually, I co-founded a large postacute, in-home medical company, providing home health, hospice, and private duty services in various states. Some of my friends and colleagues in the healthcare industry believe restrictions from the government in response to the novel coronavirus are an over-exaggeration of what is needed, pointing to other diseases that kill a proportionately higher number of patients. Others argue they don’t go far enough, and they feel frustrated at the lack of compliance they see or read about via media outlets.

COVID-19 Section Most agree our healthcare system is overwhelmed by COVID-19 and needs support. As we face a contagious disease of global proportions, the potential, lifealtering risks seem almost too great to fully comprehend. I understand. No one really wants to go into quarantine. Our family’s options were always limited, as our life revolved around a deep understanding of what it means to have an immunosuppressed child. With unselfish love comes reward This isn’t the first time our family had to self-isolate and practice social distancing. Spending five months with limited contact outside of our home was the longest stretch. It was so long, in fact, that our children named our property “the compound,” although that’s not really something you brag about to anyone outside of your family or close friends. We weren’t doomsday preppers. Instead, our focus was on the health of our family. And if that meant eating basic food from our storage or going without modern conveniences, we’d do it. It’s hard to change our habits or behavior unless we are compelled to do so. As we learned this, we realized we couldn’t force others to adopt the same vigilant practices we had implemented when they had no reference point. Preston was preparing for his mission leading up to the changes COVID-19 introduced. He knew immediately this would impact missionaries and likely stall the remaining requirements necessary for his pending missionary application.

“It’s hard to change our habits or behavior unless we are compelled to do so. As we learned this, we realized we couldn’t force others to adopt the same vigilant practices we had implemented when they had no reference point.” APR IL some 2020of the 25 This is not the first time the Bliss siblings have had to self isolate. Above, they demonstrate activities they do when they quarantine. Photos provided by Jason Bliss

Preston Bliss was in and out of the hospital as he battled his medical condition. Photos provided by Jason Bliss

On day two of the state’s mandate to stay home, Preston approached his mom with the same look I remember from the hospital many years ago. “Mom,” he asked. “Can I die from this?” “No. Well, yes,” she stammered. “But we need to keep you healthy and positive. We’ve had a lot of practice with this, and we’ll be okay.” Is there really any other answer? I firmly believe that optimism overpowers realism. With courage comes growth In our home, we stand by the idea that positive affirmations can heal our minds and spirits first, with our bodies following. We also believe in times of crisis, good distractions and service prevail. And so, we did just that. We’ve spent our days giving back. We set up contests for family members and friends: Make a fort and win a prize. Sing a song or perform an original skit. Our phones have become tools for expressing love with regular texts and FaceTime with those who are alone. Our social media accounts are blanketed with hope and positivity to counter the dismal daily updates of those affected around the globe. Where appropriate, we have

In an effort to give back, Jason Bliss said they held contests during the stay-at-home order for family and suchAas 26 friends KE ALAK ’I blanket fort making and performing original skits. Graphic based on a photo by

sent cash to help those in need or been a sounding board for jobless individuals trying to find employment. Board games, long buried, have resurfaced. Neglected projects are completed. Home schooling and telephonic music lessons with their instructors continue, as do in-home exercise programs. Days feel longer, and there are plenty of stir-crazed moments where you need time to regroup and laugh at the neverending GIFs showing working parents forced to be home. With optimism comes change Ultimately, we discovered we can create a positive difference in our home by how we respond to a profound life event we will always remember but can’t control. When our children look back on 2020 and the COVID-19 impact, how will they remember it? How will you remember it? Recently, our 10-year-old daughter overheard us discussing this topic and submitted a hand-written essay she prepared. A few of her comments illustrate how siblings of an immunosuppressed child see this pandemic: “I don’t want to catch the virus. I don't want to give it to others, especially my family. My brother Preston can’t get sick. He could die if he did. “We can’t go places anymore. Some families don't have a lot of food or money. We can’t get a lot of toilet paper. Now that’s a crappy problem. “If I had a magic wand, I would kill the virus and heal those who have it. The virus has got to go!” When I shared a portion of her thoughts to a larger audience via social media, the feedback was resoundingly positive: “How wonderful! She is what we need more of in the world.” Someone

else said, “Her example is a big part of the cure – mutual mindfulness.” With this understanding, think about someone you love more than anything else in this world. Visualize them holding your hand, giving you a hug, saying something encouraging or silly and listening to you in time of need. It is likely we all have that image in our minds from the past or present. Now ask yourself, “Would you do anything to keep that person you love alive?” It is times like this that our family expresses appreciation to all of you who willingly do your part to keep our son, your loved ones, and the loved ones of others, healthy. It begins by realizing we are interconnected and have the ability to overcome even the worst events in history, even if we don’t understand it. •

“In our home, we stand by the idea that positive affirmations can heal our minds and spirits first, with our bodies following. We also believe in times of crisis, good distractions and service prevail.”

The Bliss Family spending time together on the beach. Photos provided by Jason Bliss Graphic: Jason Bliss said phones allowed people to reach out to friends and family around the world. APR IL 2020 27 Graphics by Esther Insigne

COVID-19 pandemic cancels Church meetings Church members say Come Follow Me program prepared them for this time BY KILLIAN CANTO On the morning of March 12, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received a notification suspending all member gatherings until further notice in light of circumstances surrounding COVID-19. With no church meetings being held the next Sunday, students and a stake president shared their reaction to and experience with at-home church as prepared them for this time. Taken aback, but also excited, was how Tyson Hunter, a senior studying business management from California, said he felt when he heard the announcement. He said he thought of Come, Follow Me, the at-home curriculum for Church members to incorporate into their Sunday worship. The curriculum was released at the start of 2019. Hunter said, “It was cool to see how, in such a short amount of time, something like [this] happened.” Having a similar reaction, Kylee Chamberlain, a sophomore from Nevada studying psychology, said, “I was kind of shocked.” However, she said as soon as she made the connection to the revelations given to members about home-centered church, she became excited. “[Come, Follow Me] was preparing us for this in a way. We could do [at-home church] better because we have already been able to incorporate it into our day-to-day lives.” Chamberlain said she had felt eager to do more gospel discussions with her roommates. It was not just students who were surprised. Laie Married Student Stake President Steve Tueller said he did not anticipate this cancellation, but he too realized



Church members have been prepared for moments like this. He pointed out the divine role of the prophet and the twelve apostles. “They certainly saw a case where we needed to be more prepared.” Tueller said when he thought about what they have emphasized over the past few years, they have prepared members through teaching the observance of the Sabbath and introducing the Come, Follow Me curriculum. Yanique Hadley, a senior from Fiji studying hospitality and tourism management, said she was accepting of not physically going to church. She said she could feel the Spirit the same as when she attends normal Sunday services. Due to the unusual news of sacrament meeting being canceled, Tueller said members ought to look to their bishop for direction. He said bishops hold the keys to authorize the administration of the sacrament. Having received a message from his bishop authorizing him to prepare the sacrament, Hunter Blalack, a junior from Montana studying business management, said he administered it in a small group. After their meeting, he said they held a discussion and watched Book of Mormon videos together. During his small church meeting, Tueller said his son observed a historical tie to the early saints. In an email sent to those in his stake, “He observed that today, we were ‘gathered together’ in very small groups much like the early saints were when the Church was first organized.” Tueller said it was an opportunity to ponder and prepare for the April 2020 General Conference.

In Hunter’s ward, he said those who gave talks were told to post them on the ward’s Facebook group. He said it was a spiritual experience, but “it was definitely a little harder to focus at home.” He said the transition was going to be one of the hardest challenges. With time, Hunter said families will adjust with their priorities, which may lead to a “spiritual famine.” He explained as individuals “hunger for that spiritual nourishment” they will invite the Spirit to be with them, especially as they have been told to stop Church meetings. Tueller said, “It’s a sifting experience. It’s an opportunity for the wheat to get ‘wheatier’ and the tares to get ‘tarier.’” He said he fears

members might view this absence of meetings to be a vacation and it is up to members to allow themselves a faith-growing or faithshrinking experience. He said he hopes members will return to their meetings with a renewed enthusiasm for home-centered church. Finding enough people, especially priesthood holders, is one of the challenges both Chamberlain and Hadley shared they face with at-home church. Hadley said there was only one Melchizedek Priesthood holder who could bless and pass the sacrament during her small meeting.

There were students, Tueller said, who did not have access to a priesthood holder. He shared through talking to their bishop and getting in contact with ministering brothers and sisters, members can find a worthy priesthood holder to administer the ordinance. Chamberlain said despite having a few people attend, she and her friends were able to maintain the Spirit. “Just like when we go to regular church, we aren’t watching a bunch of movies or going to the beach. [We still kept] it the Sabbath Day.” With further direction from local Church leaders about social distancing, priesthood holders now only bless and pass the sacrament to those in their same home. What people put into their at-home church, Blalack said, is what they will get out of it. He explained how following the instructions given by bishops, like wearing your Sunday best to pass the sacrament in your living room, will aid in fostering the Spirit. Comparing sacrament meeting to a funeral, Blalack said, “I’m sure if you were going to a [funeral service], you wouldn’t be late, and you wouldn’t show up in your pajamas.” Hunter added to Blalack’s thoughts by referencing a talk by Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles where he made an analogy about missionaries. “[Missionaries] could probably teach a perfectly good lesson in flip-flops and board shorts, but when they dress up for the occasion, it says something about the message itself.” Hunter explained his hopes for people being able to recognize the sacred nature of their homes. “If you feel it stronger in a church building than you do in your own home, there’s probably something you need to change.” Tueller advised members to be intentional about planning for what they want to experience. By treating at-home church with the same respect as regular church, members will be able to take it seriously, he said. “In a way, it’s a gift,” he explained. “We have been given this trial to learn and get better.” •

Graphics by Sadie Scadden APR IL 2020


Why they chose to stay

Domestic students share Hawaii feels like home and gives them a place to stay BY MADI BERRY

Domestic students who decided to stay in Hawaii during the COVID-19 pandemic said consistency and independence are of the reasons they decided to stay and a desire to grow both personally and spiritually. Deylan Gudiel, a sophomore from Oregon majoring in intercultural peacebuilding, shared why he decided to stay in Hawaii in the midst of a global pandemic. “I just love Hawaii so much, and it is the only place that actually feels like home to me at this point.” After moving every couple of months since graduating from high school in Oregon, Gudiel said he wanted to stay in Hawaii because it “is the only consistent place where I have a community and friends and a life.” Toni Shipp, a junior from California majoring in communications, shared what she is able to gain by staying during this time. “I think



that by staying here, I am really challenging Shipp explained she feels as though she myself to be more independent.” made the right decision for herself because With more time on her hands, Shipp said “everything has worked out for me to be able to she hopes to be of service to her friends who stay here. To me, that makes me feel like I made have also stayed in Hawaii. “We have been more a good decision and the right one for myself in like family to each other since we are all in the situation that I am in.” similar situations.” Morris shared what she hopes to gain Jackie Morris, a junior from Virginia personally by staying here. She said, “[I] want to majoring in social work, explained her be more spiritually inclined since we, as saints, reasoning for staying in Hawaii. “I decided to know that a time like this is just the beginning stay in Hawaii during this time for multiple ... We have to be able to cultivate our revelation reasons one of which is I already changed my and our spirituality in all senses, so that is what flight ticket home one time, and I am trying to focus on more.” Everyone going I was not capable of changing it Online classes make it home at one time had again without getting a fee. easier to prioritize the things me thinking that “I also decided to stay he wants to get done, said airports would not be Gudiel. This allows him to gain for safety reasons. Everyone very safe. And not only experience at work while also going home at one time had me it being a risk just to thinking that airports would not growing personally. “In some myself, but also me be very safe. And not only it being ways, this has made this easier to going home and a risk just to myself, but also make the most of my time and potentially being me going home and potentially enjoy Hawaii,” he said. a carrier for very being a carrier for very high-risk, Shipp shared how she has high-risk, vulnerable vulnerable people in my home.” been making the most of her Morris explained the process people in my home. time here amid the restrictions. of making her decision to stay. She She commented, “This is forcing Jackie Morris said, “I had to make this decision me to call home a lot more in about 48 hours. I prayed, and I than I used to, which is great asked my mom and sister to fast and pray with because I am talking to my family much more. me as well, and ultimately it was … my own I have been able to do random things, such as decision.” painting, drawing and writing. I’ve been getting Gudiel said he hopes to gain more to know my roommates better and even myself experience in his job at the Media Productions better. I have also learned how to create a Center during the coronavirus pandemic. “I routine for myself that is healthy.” • like what I am learning, and I want to continue developing my portfolio with art and film.”

Top photo: Friends Shipp, Morris, and Gudiel decide to stay in Hawaii for safety reasons and the opportunity to develop themselves in various areas of their lives. Bottom photo: Shipp shares family calls are more frequent after choosing to stay in Hawaii. Photos by Chad Hsieh and graphic by Esther Insigne

APR IL 2020


Graduating from home Seniors share how they celebrate graduation despite commencement being canceled BY KILLIAN CANTO

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, BYU–Hawaii and other Church Educational System schools announced the cancellation of all large gatherings, including graduation ceremonies. A few BYUH students held a small celebration on March 17, almost a month before the previously scheduled commencement. The graduates and their families shared how this wasn’t the graduation they expected, but it was a nice way to say goodbye to BYUH. Having attended BYUH off and on for the past five years, Brinley Shumway, a senior from Colorado studying musical theater, said she wanted a way to commemorate the years she, her husband and their friends spent working towards graduation. “I wanted to have a good way to celebrate the ending of all of it,” she explained. “I just thought doing a fake graduation would be fun.” Aaron Shumway, Brinley Shumway’s father-in-law and a BYUH alumnus, said it was a way to give the graduates the experience, even if it was unofficial. Playing “Pomp and Circumstance” with three chairs on either side of a middle aisle, each graduate was announced with their name, major and GPA. When presented with their “diploma,” which was Aaron and his wife May Shumway’s diplomas from when they attended BYUH, each graduate shared their favorite class and memory from their time in Laie. Six 32


students who said they have been friends since the beginning of their freshman years at BYUH shared four caps and gowns, and had their parents there either physically or via video chat. Kenner Shumway, Brinley Shumway’s husband and a senior from Laie studying applied mathematics, said he was looking forward to saying goodbye to college and the island. He said when the announcement canceling graduation came, he was shocked. He said, as with all canceled events because of the COVID-19 outbreak, it felt surreal.

“It was weird,” said Brinley Shumway. “Nobody ever thought this was going to happen.” Brinley and Kenner Shumway said they had a sense of peace through it all, despite the effects of the virus. Even though it was disappointing to lose their chance to walk on stage, May Shumway said the graduates had great attitudes. “It doesn’t really make up, but this kind of thing is a good alternative,” she shared after Aaron Shumway applauded the way she was able to decorate and organize the celebration in such a meaningful way. Looking forward to leis and celebration with family and friends, one of the six graduates, Davia Kaopua, a senior from Hawaii studying biology, said she was fine missing the two-hour-long commencement. Kaopua said she was grateful for the opportunity to at least show her gratitude for the people who helped her gain her diploma and her time at BYUH. “I definitely didn't do it on my own,” she pointed out. “I wouldn’t have gone through graduation without the people who were in that room with me.” When he heard about the idea, Caleb Menendez, a senior from Colorado studying information systems, said he was excited. “The Shumways are awesome, and I knew they’d put on Kenner and Brinley Shumway shared four caps and gowns with other students for their own commencement. Photo provided by Brinley Shumway

“It was good feelings all around. It came together because all of us just appreciated each other so much. It was almost like a celebration of the bond between all of us as friends.” - Aaron Shumway The Shumways joined together with their friends who were also supposed to graduate this semester. Photos provided by Brinley Shumway

something that was very enjoyable.” Menendez said he was grateful. “I felt like we were really respected.” Sharing their favorite memories, those in the small group said, was one of the more memorable parts. Despite all six of them being such different people, they all have a strong bond. “All of [the] answers were so different, but they were all very sincere,” shared Kaopua. Menendez said he was grateful for the small group because each person sharing a memory helped their tight-knit group grow closer. Aaron Shumway said it was nice to hear his son’s favorite memory was meeting his wife, especially since it took place on Kenner and Brinley Shumway’s anniversary. Being silly and sentimental is what Brinley Shumway said was her favorite part, “We all danced to ‘We’re All in This Together’ from High School Musical. We were just being silly.” Menendez said the chance to commemorate their time without it being too emotional was one of his favorite parts. He said, “[We] were all happy and having fun rather than crying and being weird.” Distance was not an issue to allow the graduates’ families an opportunity to participate. Aaron Shumway said, “We FaceTimed as many of the parents in as we could.” He explained, due to short notice, they gathered what parents could come, video-called those on the mainland, and recorded the event for anyone else.

There were good feelings all around, said Kenner Shumway. “It came together because all of us just appreciated each other so much. It was almost like a celebration of the bond between all of us as friends.” He explained how even though it was not real, it was nice to celebrate with some of their favorite people. Although their commencement was canceled, their lives were not. Kenner Shumway said it was exciting in a way. He and Brinley Shumway are finishing their schooling in Colorado, and said it would be good if he could start his career before he graduated, “It's like starting the next chapter while you're wrapping up the previous chapter of life.” •

Aaron Shumway said they made efforts to gather family APR IL 2020 33 members via Facetime during the event. Photos provided by Brinley Shumway. Graphics by Esther Insigne

Staying grateful through adversity Newlywed couple shares story of getting married amid COVID-19 pandemic BY MADI BERRY Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Nakitta Faupula Ellis and Ezrym Ellis shared their experience of staying grateful for what they have after getting married and not being able to return to New Zealand. “We are really happy that we got married. This feeling that we have is really nice. We didn’t get to go to New Zealand, but we are really happy with what we have,” explained Nakitta Faupula Ellis. Faupula Ellis, a senior from Utah majoring in social work, and Ezrym Ellis, a senior from New Zealand majoring in exercise and sports science, described their experience of trying to get married amid the global pandemic. Due to the stay-at-home order, March 23 was the deadline for Hawaii to process marriage licenses. The couple shared, “We missed the deadline by one day.” Faupula Ellis explained the process they went through to get married. The two needed to fill out the necessary information online and then submit it to a marriage license agent. After submitting their information, they needed to do an interview with a marriage agent, so the agent could print out the documents to allow them to be married. Those documents were then given to the wedding officiator. Once all the previous steps were completed, the marriage certificate was created to show the couple is legally married. However, marriage agents weren’t taking appointments until May 1, said Faupula Ellis. Regardless, Ezrym Ellis encouraged her to keep trying. Faupula Ellis said, “I thought it would be a dead end. I knew I needed to show faith and do my part because I knew that Heavenly Father had my back. “I asked if there was any way to do our meeting virtually because we filled out everything online. We ended up doing it virtually through Zoom. She emailed the



official document, and we reached out to our bishop on Tuesday.” Two days later, on March 26, Faupula Ellis and Ezrym Ellis got married. However, they were uncertain about receiving their marriage certificate in time as their flight to New Zealand was leaving in just two days, and March 26 was a state holiday. Faupula Ellis said, “It came Friday night, right in the nick of time. I thought, ‘Man, Heavenly Father is on our side.’” When they arrived at the airport, the airline would accept Ellis’s passport, but not Faupula Ellis’s because it was not a New Zealand passport.

According to the New Zealand government’s official travel website, a travel exception was made for spouses of all New Zealand citizens. However, as they checked in, Ezrym Ellis said the clerk told them, “The memo they received was only people with New Zealand passports or permanent resident visas were allowed on the airplane.” Ezrym Ellis and Faupula Ellis spent the next three hours doing everything they could to make any contact possible with New Zealand embassies. However, as it was Sunday in New Zealand, and their lockdown had already begun, their options were limited.

“There was another student there with us, Lisa Agafili, and she couldn’t get on the airplane either because of having an Australian passport, even though she has lived in New Zealand her entire life. She tried her best to get on, but they just did not listen,” said Ezrym Ellis. Lisa Agafili, a senior from New Zealand majoring in TESOL and Pacific Island studies, explained her experience in the airport. “Not being able to go wasn’t as frustrating as the airport staff. They had no empathy and didn’t really try. … I honestly don’t mind staying here, but that experience was very annoying.” Faupula Ellis said they were able to get a hold of the New Zealand emergency consular officer who apologized to the couple. The officer asked to be able to speak with the individual checking them in on the airline but was denied. “As we were about to give the phone to the check-in woman, she shouted, ‘No, we are closed.’” Ezrym Ellis shared, “She told us there was no chance that we would get on, despite what the website said and what hose in New Zealand were saying.” At the airport, Faupula Ellis said they were “just really down and discouraged.” She said after talking about it, they were glad they could have been there with Agafili. “We were glad that she wasn’t there by herself, and she had other people who could understand what she was feeling.” Following this experience, the couple said they tried to cheer themselves up with “a lot of prayers that night, and [we] sang a lot of hymns.” The couple said instead they are considering going to Utah, where Faupula Ellis used to live. They have also discussed trying to travel to New Zealand again on April 21. They said they understood the timing was not right, and the Lord knows what is best for them. •

Although they couldn't get to New Zealand, Ezrym Ellis and Faupula Ellis said they are trusting in the Lord's timing. Photos by Chad Hsieh

APR IL 2020


President Nelson shared he remains optimistic for the future in his video “My Message of Hope and Love For You.” Photo taken from “My Message of Hope and Love For You.”

CHOOSING HOPE Students and leaders share uplifting messages during global pandemic BY LEIANI BROWN



With the rapidly changing nature of the global pandemic and surrounding circumstances, unprecedented challenges and stressors popped up worldwide. Amidst the chaos and panic, professors and students at BYU–Hawaii banded together to provide hope for one another. “Some of you may be worried if you will have a place to live or food to eat in the next few weeks.You will. To those who worry that you won’t be able to enroll for classes in Spring Semester.You will,” wrote BYUH President John Tanner in a Special Student Bulletin on March 13. “To those who wonder if the world will end tomorrow or if you will get married, I don’t know. But I wouldn’t plan on the former and I’d work toward the latter if you are single. So take heart. Remember the words of our old pioneer hymn: ‘All is well.’ The pioneers sang these in the face of trials, not in their absence.” Following the announcement of classes being offered only remotely for the time being, professors also sent out words of encouragement to their students. “All will be well. I have no doubt of that,” wrote Dr. Marcus Martins, a professor in the Faculty of Religious Education, to his students. “We have the word of the Lord and of

one of his prophets about that: ‘Therefore, let your hearts be comforted ... for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God’ (Doctrine and Covenants 101:16).” Martins also posted a video for his past and current students, in which he shared his personal impressions, faith and testimony during the current crisis. “I can see that this is a time in which we need, more than ever, revelation and the exercise of priesthood authority and priesthood keys in ways never before seen in our lifetime. And this is my faith, that the Lord will grant us. He will grant us this inspiration, so that the work of salvation will not stop. Sure, our meetings are suspended, but the work of salvation cannot stop.” “The Lord blessed us with technology. He inspired scientists and interpreters to make available to us technologies through which geographical distances are no longer an impediment … We are very, very close to each other because of the tools that have been made available to us. We can’t congregate in our buildings, but we can congregate virtually.” Laura Hinze, a junior from Washington studying marine biology, said when classes were switched to online there was a lot of

uncertainty and confusion with communication between professors. She said she was comforted by one of her professors who took the time to ask her how she was doing. “He just genuinely cared, which was beautiful because most of the time teachers care, but they’re not that personable about it. It was very sweet actually.” She further explained how many of her classmates and friends who chose to leave the island questioned her decision to stay, which caused her more stress. In speaking with another friend who is staying, she decided to get a priesthood blessing. “Once I made that decision to get a priesthood blessing, I felt calm about it. That was one of the best assurances I got … It just brought peace.” On March 14 President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, released a video and statement of hope on social media. “These unique challenges will pass in due time. I remain optimistic for the future. I know the great and marvelous blessings that God has in store for those who love Him and serve Him. I see evidence of His hand in this holy work in so many ways,” he stated.

Martins spoke about hope in times of trial in his video. Photo provided by Marcus Martins

APR IL 2020


“So, during these uncertain times, be comforted by this promise from the Savior. He said, ‘I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say.’ I promise you that joy is always within the reach of everyone who will hear Him and obey His laws.” President Nelson encouraged members to focus on Church initiatives such as Come, Follow Me and ministering. In addition to messages of hope from leaders and professors on and off campus, students who were interviewed said they found hope in banding together as classmates to offer and receive hope and encouragement from one another. Isabella Vincent, a junior from California studying intercultural peacebuilding, said she and some friends gathered soap and hand sanitizer along with some food for the homeless. “A lot of the time the homeless are already marginalized by society, and they are the most susceptible during a time like this, so [it’s important to keep] in mind the people who

we’re maybe not thinking about. I think it’s just good to help others during a time where people really need help.” Vincent added that while many are providing messages of hope and encouragement, there is still a lot of fear and anxiety going around. “A lot of people are still pretty anxious and scared. I don’t know if that’s really been quelled by a lot of other people,” said Vincent. “As someone who suffers from anxiety, I don’t really know if there’s a lot people can do. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming when people keep messaging about stuff like that. I think the best thing you can do is just show someone you care and reach out to them. Let them know you’re there and do your best to help.” Hinze agreed it is important to reach out to others during a time of crisis. “You don’t know who’s stressed and overwhelmed until you ask and give those messages of hope …

It’s a pandemic - ‘panic’ being the root of the word. Even if it’s virtually, it’s good to reach out. Even that small little act can totally change someone’s day and get them in a calm mind space so they can make the right decision for them and their families. “It hasn’t been just one person providing hope. It’s small snippets from 40 different people – professors, faculty, friends, priesthood leaders, family – it’s been a vast network of people. It’s kind of that ‘it takes a village’ principle. It’s not just one person, but it’s everyone working together.” Martins added in his video, “We don’t need to fear. We don’t need to feel powerless. We were endowed with power from on high in the house of the Lord. “We received great resources to accomplish the Lord’s will, so now it’s time for us to have that faith that will enable us to move forward in ways we never did before.” •

Graphic by Hannah Manalang

“So, during these uncertain times, be comforted by this promise from the Savior. He said, ‘I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say.’ I promise you that joy is always within the reach of everyone who will hear Him and obey His laws.” - President Russel M. Nelson

“To those who wonder if the world will end tomorrow or if you will get married. I don’t know. But I wouldn’t plan on the former and I’d work toward the latter if you are single. So take heart. Remember the words of our old pioneer hymn: ‘All is well.’ The pioneers sang these in the face of trials, not in their absence.” - President John Tanner 38


“I can see that this is a time in which we need, more than ever, revelation and the exercise of priesthood authority and priesthood keys in ways never before seen in our lifetime. And this is my faith, that the Lord will grant us. He will grant us this inspiration, so that the work of salvation will not stop. Sure, our meetings are suspended, but the work of salvation cannot stop.” - Dr. Marcus Martins

COVID-19 cases worldwide as of April 24, 2020

Global # of confirmed cases 2,790,986 Total recovered


Total deaths


Statistics from the John Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center Graphic by Marvin Latchumanan

APR IL 2020



Kris Krisanalome shares how music mentors at BYU–Hawaii have helped him hone his percussion skills


Krisanalome’s professors say he is reliable and driven. Photos by Natasha Krisanalome

When he was 6 years old, Kris Krisanalome said he learned to play the drums from his father. Krisanalome explained this is both how he and his father became closer and how he discovered his love for all things percussion, specifically the drum set. Krisanalome, from Thailand, is a senior studying music performance with an emphasis in percussion. He shared he applied to BYUH because of how much his mother wanted him to experience life at BYUH. He expressed how he could feel his parents’ love and support, despite the miles between them.

“They love music, so they support me on this path I chose … Music kind of connects us together, even when we’re not living together. “It’s been great [being at BYUH]. I really like it because it is very diverse, and also I think I made the right choice to become a music major because I have learned so much. I have come a lot further than I expected, and I feel like when I go home, I can do a lot of things there.” Krisanalome said one of the main sources of knowledge in his college experience was his mentor Darren Duerden, who is a professor in the Faculty of Culture, Language & Performing Arts and is primarily in charge of percussion. After working together for more than three years, Duerden described Kris as independent, in that he is willing to set up his own equipment, take it down, take initiative in learning his pieces, and being on time for all of their rehearsals and shows. “I’ve always thought the world of him. Whenever we have a rehearsal, I never have to think of if Kris will be there … He is always there, and he is always cheerful and willing to learn. In that sense, I would personally take him over any drum set player I have had in the past 30 years. He’s definitely bought into the BYU– Hawaii vision of things. He’s the poster child for BYU–Hawaii’s success.” Kris Cut Loose Duerden and Krisanalome shared how they were able to come together particularly through his senior percussion



Graduates Section

recital, which took place on Jan. 25 in the McKay Auditorium. According to both of them, Krisanalome worked on his recital performances for about 12 hours a week since last year to master his art. During this performance, Krisanalome said the recorded track for his last number did not work as they intended it to, so he decided to do an impromptu drum set solo. Duerden lovingly referred to this as, “Kris Cut Loose.” Krisanalome explained, “I thought ‘Cut Loose’ was a cool name because that’s my specialty … Drum set is something I’m really comfortable with and I feel confident with it when I’m on it, so that’s why it was called ‘Cut Loose.’ I don’t feel pressure or any nervousness. I just let it go.” Jennifer Duerden, an adjunct faculty in the Faculty of Culture, Language & Performing Arts and another mentor to Krisanalome, said the main reason Krisanalome is able to be successful, outside of hours of dedicated efforts, is how well he listens to the music he is performing. “The thing is, every time he would learn something it’s like he would retain that knowledge and learn a little bit more,” Jennifer Duerden said. “He does really well ‘in the moment’ because he comes so prepared. He really listens to the music and absorbs it, and he has learned so many things since he has been here because he is willing to be humble and to learn what there is to learn.” Darren Duerden branched off of this when he explained Krisanalome’s unique ability to absorb his music. “A big difference between amateur musicians and professional musicians is their ability to listen while they play. Kris is a really good listener, so he always fits what he does to the music. He is never going to overpower it or try to do something to show off for himself.” Both of the Duerdens commented on how Krisanalome is central to their steel band, salsa orchestra, and the street band because of the preparation he is willing to put into the music.

and said he wants to get as much exposure to the Recording Studio as possible to produce his own original content. Krisanalome expressed his love for Jazz and Latin music and how much he wants to spread those genres to Thailand. “If I go home, I will definitely do more performing and maybe teaching. In Thailand, I love Jazz music and playing Jazz, as well as Latin music. Not a lot of people perform those styles in Thailand, so I want to spread more of that knowledge.” Because she has worked so closely with Krisanalome for the past years, Jennifer Duerden expressed how she believes Krisanalome will be able to succeed in anything he sets his mind to, because of his peaceful disposition. “He is just so easy and great to work with. He is the type … who, if we call and ask for help, will step up immediately and help. He is willing to volunteer and do things … He’ll do anything without even being paid. I think it is because of his personality that makes us love him so much.” Above all else, Krisanalome said the main way to be passionate and invested in his art that has made him successful is the needed preparation and genuine joy he put into his work. “I just would say love what you do and just be confident in what you are doing.” •

Plans for the future After Krisanalome graduates in Spring 2020, he spoke about his aspirations to work in recording studios and performing percussion. He is currently working with Media Production APR IL 2020


Driven by purpose BY MADI BERRY


KE ALAK A ’I Finau says BYUH is a blessing because students can work and study at the same time. Photo by Feiloakitohi Vailea

Understanding your purpose Finau offered advice to students who are still continuing their education at BYUH. She shared, “Never give up, always set your priorities, and set a goal and work toward it.” She continued, “I know that coming from a poor family. I always remember where I am from and why I am here before I do anything. If you understand your purpose of being here, you can do it.” Reflecting on the opportunities given to her by BYUH, Finau said, “I am grateful to have been chosen to come to BYUH because there are so many youth and students back home, but because of the limitation of the opportunities they aren't able to. So, if you get accepted, come. That is your blessing.” Manu Panuve, a senior from Tonga majoring in business management, said Finau has been a good friend in her life. According to her, “Fina is such a great friend because she has a bubbly personality. “I feel like she loves to make other people around her happy and that is just her and how she is. There are times when we are stressed, but when we talk [to each other,] she makes us laugh. So there are many times where we just forget about why we are stressed and enjoy the moment.” According to Finau, her best experience at BYUH has been being in Culture Night. Her first time participating was in her junior year. Since then, she has performed in both the Fiji and Samoa clubs.“Not only does it remind me of my culture, but also I get to learn of other cultures as well.” After graduation, Finau commented she is looking forward to furthering her education to a higher level, with human resources management being the ultimate goal. She also shared she is looking forward to understanding what the workforce is like. As the PCC was her first opportunity to have a job, it has become much of a comfort zone, so

“Never give up, always set your priorities, and set a goal and work toward it.” - Sosefina Finau

she said she looks forward to adjusting to the reality of the workforce outside of the PCC. Sioa Tafengatoto, a senior from Tonga majoring in accounting, shared experiences she had enjoyed with Finau while the two had been in school together. She said, “When Fina is there, it is always fun. The conversations, the jokes, she keeps everything alive. I love having class with Fina because I know that I will go to class and enjoy it.” Finau said her time at BYUH afforded her opportunities she would not have been able to find elsewhere. She shared there were two reasons she decided to enroll at BYUH. First, BYUH is a CES school and she was interested in having a “church-centered environment.” Second, Finau said she wanted to work at the PCC for the experience and the income. Finau shared, “You feel developed both spiritually and physically when you come to BYUH.” She added how she was grateful for the opportunity to go to school and also work. She said, “Sometimes it is hard to do both at the same time, but I feel like it makes me more prepared for my future, independence, and self-reliance.” Panuve reflected on what she has learned from Finau they are friends. Panuve said, “I think if there is one thing I have learned from Fina, it is to enjoy every moment that you have because they only come once.You might

as well enjoy the current moment rather than planning to enjoy something else when it is not guaranteed.” Finau also looked back on the individuals who helped her on her path toward graduation. She first expressed gratitude for her parents and added how the friends she has made at BYUH have helped her along her way to graduation. She said, “When you come here to school, your parents are not always able to tell you what to do, so if you pick the right friends, they will help you to be successful.” Tafengatoto said Finau’s relaxed nature has helped her during her university experience. She said, “Fina is so easy going. She is a very good listener, not just with school, but with my own personal life. It is easy for me to share with her and she gives me feedback. I trust that what she says to me is for my own good.” •

n Co


s rat

APR IL 2020



Graphics by Brad Carbine

Sosefina Finau, a senior from Tonga majoring in human resources and organizational behavior, reflected on her time at BYU–Hawaii leading up to graduation. She said she was grateful for the opportunity to participate in Culture Night and gain work experience at the Polynesian Culture Center. She counseled students to find the right friends who will encourage them to be successful.

Following an unexpected path Though it was not planned, Raihau Gariki ended up at BYUH and says it changed her life BY MADI BERRY Raihau Gariki, a senior from Tahiti majoring in TESOL, said although coming to BYUH was not what she had planned for her life, the spirituality and experiences from the campus could not have been found elsewhere. Gariki’s life took a turn towards BYUH when her original path for life did not go according to plan. She said, “I was never planning to come to BYUH. My plan was to go to France. “It was a humbling experience that all of the doors were shut from the different schools I applied to. I decided to do the paperwork here, and I got accepted. Everything was extremely smooth. Once I was accepted, I got the answers from France saying I could go there. I told them I had already made up my mind, so I decided to come here. “I think it was an eye-opener for me to be here. Even if the degree I have is not recognized at home, I will still come again to do my study here. I will get my siblings to come here because ... this is the Lord’s university and there is nothing else that can replace the spirituality of this place.” Vainui Garbutt, a senior from Tahiti majoring in hospitality and tourism management, said Gariki’s and her friendship started years ago at home in Tahiti. As Gariki graduates, Garbutt said, “I will miss her just being around and her sweetness. Every time I talk to her, she is like a mom giving me advice. “We always talk about the future, our goals, and where we want to be. I will miss her coming to my house, making crepes and just having a Tahitian friend.” Gariki said her best experiences at BYUH were her job, her classes and the temple. While she works as an online EIL tutor, she said, “My favorite job will always be being a tour guide. It was extremely demanding physically, 44


Gariki and her guests when she worked as a tour guide at the PCC. Photo provided by Gariki.

emotionally and cognitively, but it is also extremely rewarding for the people you meet and work with. Going to work was taking a break from school, and sharing my culture was a delight.” Gariki added the classes she attended at BYUH have helped her better understand how the principles of the gospel are related to her future career. She said, “I loved my TESOL and linguistics classes. Because of these classes, I have learned how to incorporate the gospel principles to my schooling and how I want to teach.” Cathrine Saga, an alumna from Malaysia, shared what she has appreciated about her friendship with Gariki. She said, “Some people say we look alike, so we think of ourselves as

twins from different places. I will miss people calling me Raihau and her Cathrine. Her desk at work is also right next to mine, so I will definitely miss talking to her about teaching and how the future will be.” Gariki also shared the impact the temple had on her school life in Laie. She said, “I have been able to walk for just 15 minutes to the temple and go almost every week. I was also able to serve as an ordinance worker for about a year. The most spiritual time I had while being here was being inside of the temple and reflecting on eternal truths.” Daughter, grandma and mom Garbutt shared, “Raihau is very unique and special. I told her that she is like our daughter, grandma, and mom. “She is just everything. She is someone I like to be around because she brings a spirit I cannot find anywhere else. She is very special.” Gariki offered advice to BYUH students. “Make the Lord part of your life, in every detail of your life.” She continued, “Every time you do something, ask for guidance. “Don’t lean on it, but show Him that you are humble enough to align your will with His will.”

Graphic by Esther Insigne

“Make the Lord part of your life, in every detail of your life. Every time you do something, ask for guidance. Don’t lean on it, but show Him that you are humble enough to align your will with His will.” - Raihau Gariki

Saga shared special memories she and Gariki have experienced during their time together at BYUH. She said, “She was one of my bridesmaids, and I will always remember that. One other thing is she likes to know about other cultures. She is so open to getting to know other cultures, even if they speak other languages. She is still open to getting to know the people.”

Gariki with her friends Catherine Saga and Deedra Rama. Photo provided by Gariki

Gariki shared her plans that are in place after graduation. She commented, “Right now, my plans are to return home for an internship that I am in the process of applying for. I want to become an English teacher at the high school level. “Ultimately, what I really want to be is a homemaker. What I want to accomplish is to go back to my community and help the younger generation develop their potential. Basically, to go forth and serve my community back home,” she said. •

Raihay Gariki is pictured on campus. The senior from Tahiti says next she will do an internship in her home country. Photo by Keyu Xiao Leilani teaching a class in Kahuku. Photo Chad Hsieh APRby IL 2020 45

A fitness journey Holmes Finau details how his personal fitness experience helped carry him through college BY MICHAEL KRAFT

As a freshman dancer in the villages at the Polynesian Cultural Center who was uncomfortable with his body, Holmes Finau decided to change his lifestyle in order to improve his body. Years later, as a graduating senior, Finau said he is proud of his crafted body. Finau, who is from Tonga majoring in political science, said his fitness journey helped him in all aspects of life. “Going to the gym isn’t just about lifting weights. It helps build discipline. It’s especially important because of the stress from school and work,” shared Finau. Becoming more fit not only helped Finau physically, but also it supported him in his academic life as well. “I started eating healthier and being healthier, and it helped me focus and be better academically. I felt healthy and more focused. It gave me more structure.” Recalling the start of his journey, Finau said when he arrived as a freshman and worked as a dancer at the PCC, “I had to be shirtless. I was kind of chubby and felt self-conscious about it.” Since Finau was uncomfortable, he decided to go to the gym and lift weights to feel better about his physique. He said he did not know what to do at the gym the first time, so he decided to buy a pair of dumbbells and work out at home instead. The initial workout was simple he said: bicep curls, push ups, and sit ups. Wanting to challenge himself, Finau said he decided to start out with the goal of doing 100 bicep curls, 100 push ups, and 100 sit ups each time he worked out.



Finau shared his physical transformation improved his life structure. Photo by Harold Pedroso

Autele said he developed an eating disorder and cautioned others to understand the adverse risks of bodybuilding. Left: Holmes Finau Right: Ammon Autele Photo by Monique Saenz

Finau soon bought a pull up bar to use for his workouts in addition to his weights. “I took my weights everywhere,” he said. Finau said he was known for having weights in his bag and wanting to work out at every opportunity. After several months of working out in his room, he decided the only way he could progress further was by going to the gym. He looked up different exercises he could do and returned to the campus Fitness Center. At first, he worked out in the gym for one hour every day. Finau said, “On average, [now] I’m in the gym for three hours every time.” While on his journey to build a better body for himself, Finau met Ammon Autele, a junior from American Samoa majoring in exercise and sports science. Autele had experience in bodybuilding competitions and told Finau he should enter a bodybuilding competition. He said Finau’s commitment and dedication make him a great athlete. “It’s hard because you have to make a lot of sacrifices, but he’s willing to make them.” These sacrifices include time and a normal lifestyle, he explained. The intense training regimen required to compete in bodybuilding competitions causes most people to cut out a lot of their social life, he said. Autele also said the strict diet also makes it difficult to go out with friends because it limits the foods athletes are allowed to eat while training. For Autele, he reached a point where those sacrifices were no longer worth it, and he decided to drop out of training for an April

competition. However, he decided to help train Finau, so he could compete at a high level in April. Autele said his family is one of the main reasons he decided to drop out. He said he would rather be there for his wife and baby boy. In addition, he talked about what he called “the dark side of the sport.” He said after his last competition ended, he developed an eating disorder. “After I finished the competition, I stopped working out as intensely, but I couldn’t stop eating. I didn’t even realize I had a disorder. I just couldn’t stop.” Autele said he gained more than 45 pounds since his last competition. According to Autele, bodybuilding is pushing your body past its natural limits, and because of this it can lead to adverse consequences, including eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder. He said he believes this is why there is not a lot of longevity in the sport. “Some guys just do one competition and then they’re finished,” he said. This is because they work intensely for months to train for a single competition, he said, which can make the following one daunting and less appealing. “I would say if you don’t really want to do it, then you shouldn’t do bodybuilding.” He said it takes a lot of work ethic and determination to do well in the sport. Finau said he believes in having a good work ethic in every aspect of his life, including his job as a concession worker at the PCC. His boss, Tonu Apelu, commented on his work ethic, “He’s a great worker who inspires

his co-workers to become better through his work ethic ... [He] has helped our department in the short time he has been with us.” Finau said he is grateful for all who have helped him along the way of his fitness journey. Without them, Finau said he does not know where he would be. He said the gym has helped him as he navigated relationships and breakups, poor work environments and the stresses of school and schoolwork. “Sometimes you feel like giving up, [and say],‘I don’t want to go to school or work anymore.’ When I feel like that, I just go to the gym, and after a good workout, I don’t feel like that,” Finau said. He explained fitness has made him successful. Finau said he defines success “as achieving your ultimate goal, whatever that goal is.” Finau was set to compete in the Polynesian Natural Muscle Mayhem bodybuilding competition on April 4. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition was canceled. Finau said the cancellation was “rough” and called it “a very sad ending for this semester.” He said setbacks will not hold him back. After graduation, Finau said he will attend Utah Valley University's aviation program with the dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot and traveling the world. •

APR IL 2020


An example of dedication Graduating senior Winston Lee advocates taking full advantage of BYU–Hawaii’s opportunities BY SADIE SCADDEN

As Winston Lee wrapped up his last semester before his graduation, he expressed gratitude for BYUH, he encouraged students to take full advantage of the blessings of the university through dedicated study, and looks forward to future goals for his career and his family. Lee, from Cebu City in the Philippines, said he began studying at BYUH during Fall Semester 2016. He is an accounting major, which he called “the most fun major” with a laugh. Lee explained he tried a few different majors before deciding on accounting, but he realized accounting plays to his strengths and satisfies what he is looking for in a career that will provide for him and his family. For Lee, “If you’re happy in what you do, if you’re satisfied with it, then that’s good enough. I’m pretty satisfied with my life so far.” Privileges Something on Lee’s mind were the privileges students have when they attend BYUH. “We’ve been given a lot of privileges here, [such as] being able to go to a university that’s not expensive,” he said. “A lot of the students here are IWORK students, [including] me, and so I [have been] thinking about being grateful for the privileges given to me.”



Winston Lee said he plans to find work in the Philippines after graduation. Photo by Adelyn Mae Serveza Reyes

Lee urged his fellow students to make the most of these opportunities by applying themselves to their studies. “There are other kids out there who wanted to finish college but don’t have the means to do so.” He said he hopes all students with this privilege can “[take] advantage of those privileges and be thankful for them.” “[Since] I was given the privilege of studying here, I think I should do my best,” Lee asserted. He encouraged everyone with whom he shares this opportunity to do their best, whatever that looks like for them. “The best for [one person] isn’t the same as for another. So it’s up to each individual to identify what are the best means for them and be consistent in working towards them.” During his time at BYUH, Lee said he sought to do his best by setting a goal to graduate with honors. “There are some classes that are really hard. Even though I put in so much time, I still couldn’t get the grade I wanted,” Lee said. He shared he is proud his perseverance in his studies are reflected in his grades. “I feel like I could have done a lot better, but I’m still proud of myself. When you overcome hardships, [whether] they’re big or small, you should celebrate those. I celebrate every time I get a good grade.” Professors who’ve had Lee in their class said he has set a good example through his persistence and love of learning. One of his professors said, “Winston is an excellent example of one who has fully taken advantage of his opportunities at BYUH. In addition to majoring in accounting, which is one of the most challenging majors, Winston will also earned four minors. He is not on the Holokai GE program, so the minors are not required for his graduation. He simply has chosen to earn the minors because he loves to learn and wants to take advantage of everything he can while he is here.” Professor Jennifer Chen, in the Faculty of Business & Government, expressed similar sentiments. “Winston takes responsibility for his own education, studies to learn and incorporates the material instead of just for passing the exam,” she said. Lee also noted how an important part of taking advantage of the blessings of BYUH is regularly attending church meetings and the temple. He said he feels gratitude for the ease with which they can be accessed.

As he works towards success in his career, whether in accounting or in the areas he has studied in his minors, Lee said he has in mind a long-term goal of creating a business that will share these blessings with people who need the same help. “I was so inspired by the IWORK program. My mom is a teacher. She teaches in a public school with really poor kids who want to go to college but can’t afford to. I want to implement something like an IWORK program to help [students like them]. “I want to build a company and then hire some kids who can work part time there, and I can support their studies. That probably won’t happen for 10 or 15 years, but that’s the goal. I want to give back to the community. It’s great to help other people achieve their dreams.” Family Lee plans to return to Cebu City after graduation, though he is open to opportunities that could take him to new places. He said he hopes to find a job in a well-known company where he can apply what he’s learned and gain skills he can apply to future endeavors. A driving motivation in Lee’s studies and many of his future career goals center around his desire to earn enough to provide for his family, both at home and the family he plans to build in the near future. “I come from a family who’s not very well off. So, one thing that inspires me is [wanting] to make my current family and future family’s financial situation better,” he said. He also shared how video chats with his family each week have meant everything to him while he’s been at school, and he looks forward to using his education to make their lives better. As Lee looks forward to his future family, he added how thoughts of his long-distance girlfriend come to mind. He explained how being in a long-distance relationship while in school has been both a blessing and a struggle. “When you’re in a long-distance relationship, you maintain the relationship [through] calling almost daily, video chatting, or giving gifts. It’s really limited how you can show affection in a long-distance relationship, and it’s hard because you can’t see each other.” Despite the struggle, Lee expressed how looking forward to starting a family has motivated him throughout his time in school as well as taught him patience. “Usually here at BYUH, people get married really early, at

21 or 22. I am a little bit older than that, I’m 26, turning 27 this year. It’s a good age to get married … We have plans, and it’s what we look forward to. That’s what you hold on to in [a long-distance relationship], the plans you have for the future.” Tips for current students Lee left a few words of advice for current and future students. “Make a lot of friends while being here,” he encouraged. “It will help you in many ways. Friends help you get out and do fun things.” He said making friends with people of different cultural backgrounds and taking time to learn about and experience different cultures has helped him “be more open to other people and how they think.” In one instance, he explained how he tends to get stressed out sometimes, but the Hawaiian Islands and their people have taught him to slow down and appreciate the beauty around him. Lee also advocated for “[making] your teachers your friends. Not a lot of universities have the student-to-teacher ratio [we have here].You can [build] close relationships with your professors. When you make them your friends, then you can be comfortable asking them questions when you need help. I did that, and I think it went well for me. “Clean your room,” Lee exclaimed. “When you have an organized and clean room, it will help you in your studies and help you focus. “For international students, develop your English and, if possible, learn another language. The more languages you know, the better you can communicate with people and express yourself.” •

“I want to build a company and then hire some kids who can work part time there, and I can support their studies. That probably won’t happen for 10 or 15 years, but that’s the goal. I want to give back to the community. It’s great to help other people achieve their dreams.” - Winston Lee

APR IL 2020


Following her earthly father as well as her Heavenly Father

Leilani Tafili-Arnett looks to law school and hopes to make her dad proud BY LEIANI BROWN

Four years in the political science major, three minors, four certificates and a plan to take the LSAT by the end of the year, and yet, Samoa native Leilani “Lani” Tafili-Arnett, who graduates this semester, said she has never really liked school. Tafili-Arnett chalks this ambition up to a desire to do what God has in store for her and provide for her family. In particular, she said her patriarchal blessing, a blessing for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that offers personalized life counsel, played a key role in her decision to study hard in school. “The thing that motivates me to obey the commandments is the promised blessings that follow. [My patriarchal blessing] says if I pursue an education, and I do my best to stand in holy places, then doors of opportunities will open unto me … That’s a promised blessing, and I want all the blessings Heavenly Father promised me,” said Tafili-Arnett. “That is the reason why I’m trying my very best to obey, even if I don’t like school. I know people say I’m good at doing something I don’t like, but they don’t know I’m just trying my best to follow a commandment.” Her husband, Brian Arnett, a business management major from Louisiana who graduates in December, agreed it is her faith in God and His plan for her that motivates her to work hard and persevere. “She has a strong faith that she’ll be able to accomplish what the Lord wants her to do. She always thinks about what her patriarchal blessing says and the things it tells her she should do, and she just wants to do the very best to accomplish those things.”



Tafili-Arnett said she is studying hard to get into law school. Photo by Chad Hsieh

“Not smart enough” Tafili-Arnett explained how growing up she was teased about not being smart enough, which led to her working harder on her assignments. When she began talking about pursuing law, she said some people told her it would not take her anywhere. “But I’m grateful,” said Tafili-Arnett about these comments, “because from those experiences, I am who I am today with the help of my professors, my family, my friends, my husband and especially my Heavenly Father who trusts me more than I trust myself.”

“[My patriarchal blessing] says if I pursue an education, and I do my best to stand in holy places, then doors of opportunities will open unto me … That’s a promised blessing, and I want all the blessings Heavenly Father promised me.” - Leilani Tafili-Arnett According to Tafili-Arnett, it was her mission president who suggested BYU–Hawaii and her professors who encouraged her to add many certificates. She said they believed in her abilities even when she did not.

“I have only the very best of things to say about Leilani Tafili. She is a model student who is kind, hardworking, incredibly intelligent and yet so humble,” said Jennifer Kajiyama Tinkham, an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Business & Government. “She knows how to uplift, inspire and serve, and she always does this with a smile.” Despite her motivation to study hard and get the best job she can, Arnett explained his wife does have her doubts at times. Participating in school field trips to Washington, D.C., and Thailand, as well as an internship at the attorney general’s office in Samoa, helped her gain confidence in her abilities, said Tafili-Arnett. “Back home, you don’t really talk about your accomplishments. A lot of people are humble enough they don’t share. They are not prideful like, ‘Oh, I did this.’ Sometimes, I feel like, ‘Oh, I’m not that good,’ but the trip really helped me [to see] I’m capable of doing great things.” Representing Samoa Tinkham traveled with Tafili-Arnett on a 2018 Washington, D.C. Practicum with the Political Science Department. “We selected 10 of the top students in our program, and had an in-depth learning experience visiting

dignitaries, government leaders, circuit court judges and leaders in the U.S. and international entities,” explained Tinkham. “Lani met with Congresswoman Aumua Amata from American Samoa. She was very busy and said she could only meet for a few minutes. However, upon meeting Lani and another student (Lita Bourne from New Zealand), the Congresswoman spoke to them for over an hour. “She was so impressed with both ladies she strongly invited these women to come back to D.C. anytime, and there would be a job waiting for them.” However, it was thinking of her father that really drove Tafili-Arnett to accomplish everything she could. “Growing up from a poor family motivates me to work harder, get a good job and have more money.” Tafili-Arnett explained how her father, who passed away a couple of years ago while she was at BYUH, would wake up early in the morning to do as many odd jobs as he could to support his family. “My dad didn’t have a good job. Thinking about how hardworking a person he was before he passed, it motivates me because I don’t want … my mom to grow old in that situation. I want to work hard. I want to get a good job so I can help her out.”

Fatherly advice Tafili-Arnett said her ultimate goal is to become a lawyer working in immigration law. The idea for becoming a lawyer, she explained, originally came from a show she used to watch on TV, but also from her father frequently saying things like, “It would be nice to have a daughter studying this.” She took her father’s subtle hints to heart and set out to become a lawyer to make him proud. “The hope of her dad was to have a successful future for Lani,” said Tafili-Arnett’s close friend Quinney Sharon Suaava, a senior from Samoa majoring in marketing and economics. “Her dad always encouraged her, even before he passed away, that education is the key to success, and she really took that [to heart].”

“She always thinks about what her patriarchal blessing says and the things it tells her she should do, and she just wants to do the very best to accomplish those things.”

Tafili-Arnett explained how after her mission, she went home and got a job, but she was fully set on attending BYUH despite her parents’ objections. “My dad and mom needed the money to help with the family needs ... But I told them that I have to go to school. I told them, ‘I know. I don’t want to go to school, but God commanded me to go to school after my mission, so I have to go.’” Tafili-Arnett said despite her father’s reluctance to let her go, he always encouraged her to get a good education and study hard. “Even though he didn’t want me to come to school because he said I had a good job already, I still came. I know he said that because he didn’t want me to leave. “But when I came, he encouraged me to continue, and I think that he has a big influence on me. I’m graduating now and studying for the LSAT. I’ll do my best to get into law school, all because of him.” •

- Brian Arnett

Tafili-Arnett said her father always encouraged her to get a good education before he passed away. Photo APRby IL Chad 2020 Hsieh 51


First-generation college student shares friendships and professors at BYU–Hawaii have helped her navigate college

Alexis Jimenez, a senior from California majoring in psychology, shared how the experiences she has had at BYU–Hawaii have helped her learn about more cultures, create friendships that felt like family, and figure out what path she wants to take for her future. Jimenez shared some of her most profound experiences she had while attending BYUH were “being able to meet people who are from vastly different places of the world than I am really showed me what kind of bubble I am in. 52


“I grew up in Southern California, and it is very diverse. I grew up with people from all different cultures, so I am definitely used to diversity. “I think moving here allowed me to realize just how big the world is and realize how many people from different backgrounds there are.” Jimenez commented on the friendships she has created. “I have met really amazing people, friends I know I will have for a very long time. [My friends and I] used to be called ‘the family’ because that’s what it was for me.”

Mia Boice, a senior from Georgia majoring in psychology, explained why Jimenez has been a good friend to her throughout their time together at BYUH. “I feel like Lexi is so dependable and consistent as a friend. “She is the person who is always there, and she is literally one of the most thoughtful people I have ever met. She is always thinking of other people and how she can support them.” Jimenez shared how she was able to decide on the major she is receiving her degree in. When she came to BYUH, she said

she followed her initial interest in the field of communications and graphic design, but she later figured out what she wanted was different. She explained, “I jumped around majors for a bit. It was not until I came here that through taking my graphic design classes and communication classes I ... ultimately [figured out] where my place was. “I had to really think about my place in those majors. I did not completely feel like I should be there, which ultimately pushed me toward psychology, which has made all of the difference for me. It has allowed me to figure out what I want to do in the future.” Hailey Huhane, a junior from Utah majoring in communications, shared how her relationship with Jimenez has been special. She commented, “Lexi and I have gone through so much together. I consider her more of a sister than a friend. “Lexi is the type of person I can call in the middle of the night and know she will be there for me. “She has helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life and still chooses to love me through them. I consider myself

blessed to call Lexi a best friend and know my life is forever changed for good because of her.” Boice shared what she will miss after Jimenez graduates. She said, “The first things I think of are the little things, like going to McDonald’s and the movies. Even though these are small things, it is a lot of what built up a friendship, giving time to one another. “I’m going to miss everything about her. I think most importantly the unconditional support and love I will really miss.” Jimenez shared what her plans are for the future after graduating. “The plan right now is I want to be a clinical psychologist. I have gotten accepted into two graduate schools for my master’s in clinical psychology, so I am looking forward to it. Afterwards, I plan to get my Ph.D. and then get licensed.” Huhane went on to share what she is going to miss after Jimenez graduates. She said, “I think the better question is what am I not going to miss about her? “Lexi is wonderfully charming and quirky. I’m going to miss our movie nights and our long discussions about ‘Harry Potter’ and Timothée Chalamet.

“I grew up with people from all different cultures, so I am definitely used to diversity. I think moving here allowed me to realize just how big the world is, and realize how many people from different backgrounds there are.” “I’m going to miss our inside jokes, and I’m going to miss her constant encouragement. “Lexi is always one to help me feel loved, confident, and supported. I am so lucky to have a friend like Lexi and will miss absolutely everything about her.” Jimenez commented on the individuals who have helped her along her path toward graduation. She recognized her psychology professors as being these individuals. She said, “I am a first-generation [student] and I have had to figure everything out on my own, and they have been a lot of help in guiding me.” •

“I am a first generation [student,] and I have had to figure everything out on my own, and they have been a lot of help in guiding me with what I should do and what the process all looks like and being very encouraging.”

Jimenez adds color to people’s lives through her personality, according to her friends. Photos provided by Alexis Jimenez APR IL 2020


Trust in the Lord

Graduating summa cum laude, Leonil Mosquera shares optimism and faith in Lord BY SERENA DUGAR IOANE Leonil Mosquera said he is feeling accomplished even though his commencement was canceled and there is a low chance he may get a job because of COVID-19. But he is putting his trust in the Lord and is looking forward to a brighter future, he shared. Mosquera is graduating summa cum laude with a double major in accounting and supply chain. He said he also minored in information systems and business enterprise systems and earned the SAP enterprise resource planning and Certified Association in Project Management certificates. He married his wife, Marlene Grace Cuizon Mosquera, a recent alumna who graduated with a degree in psychology, in the Laie Hawaii Temple. They have a 2-year-old daughter, Manaia Lani Mosquera, and are expecting their second child, a son, in July 2020.


He said establishing a family, living close to the temple and having the opportunity to work and study at the same time were great blessings. “I learned many things that help me to succeed in this earthly life and also many spiritual principles that are necessary for my eternal growth.” Learning from challenges Leonil Mosquera said the hardest challenges during his time at BYUH were time management and financial problems. He overcame his challenges through hard work and faith in Christ, he said. “When we got married, we didn’t have money to pay our security deposit for TVA and to do our wedding reception. Then my wife stopped working due to visa issues, and we had our first child,” Leonil Mosquera said.

“However, we trusted in God and did everything we [could]. We continued to keep the commandments and pay our tithing and [fast] offerings. All these experiences helped us to strengthen our testimony that Heavenly Father is trustworthy, and we can do everything in His power.” The Mosqueras shared their favorite scripture verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” They have this verse on their living room wall to remind them to trust in the Lord. Leonil Mosquera played roles as a husband, a father, an employee, and a vice president for a service committee in the Philippines Club while he was studying fulltime. He said time management and teamwork with his wife helped him to accomplish his duties.

KE ALAK A ’I The Mosqueras say they look forward to returning to the Philippines. Photo by Ho Yin Li

According to Leonil Mosquera, he worked as a tour guide at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) and resident advisor lead at the BYUH Housing Department. He also did his internship as a junior internal auditor at the PCC. Rita Falevai, a junior from Hauula majoring in elementary education, has worked with Leonil Mosquera for three years. “Leo is a very hardworking and persistent person. He never gives up. He is obedient to rules and always tries to help people around him. He shows great examples of a good employee and a loyal disciple of Christ.” Leonil Mosquera shared he is excited to go back to his home country after four years. “We have to find a job, a house to live and other necessary things to live. We trust in God and move forward with bright faith.” Life outside of school Leonil and Marlene Mosquera both served full-time missions. He served in the Philippines Angeles Mission from September 2012 to August 2014. He said he taught at the Philippines Missionary Training Center for two years before he came to BYUH. His wife, Marlene Mosquera, served in the Philippines Butuan Mission between September 2013 and March 2015. The Mosqueras continued to serve God through their callings while they were studying. He served in the Elders Quorum presidency, and she serves as a Primary secretary in the Laie Married Student 4th Ward. He said they have made many friends through their callings and ministering. “If you desire to follow Christ, your behavior will change too,” he added. Tyson Hunter, a senior from California majoring in finance, is their neighbor. “They are great neighbors. “He is also my ministering companion. He always takes initiative to do our ministering. We

“All these experiences helped us to strengthen our testimony that Heavenly Father is trustworthy, and we can do everything in His power.” - Leonil Mosquera

Leonil Mosquera says his wife is a big reason for his success. Photos provided by Leonil Mosquera

share our food sometimes, and they are very good at cooking.” Leonil Mosquera said the last four years were not easy, but has he grown from it all. He shared a big part of his success was his wife. “I am proud of my wife because she went through pregnancy twice while she was studying, which I consider a big success. She also takes good care of our home and daughter.” He said if he had a misunderstanding with his wife, they always solve it before going to bed. Marlene Mosquera said, “My husband always prioritizes his faith and family, so God helps him to be academically successful. I rely on him and ask for help a lot. He never complains. God blesses him with the strength to do his duties. He is a smart and hardworking man. I am so blessed to have him in my life.” Leonil Mosquera advised new students to grab every opportunity to serve and develop their skills. “Do internships as much as you can and accumulate work experiences. Work closely with teaching assistants to keep your GPA up. Four years is a very short time, so enjoy every moment of it.” • Leonil Mosquera said he was able to overcome challenges through hard work and faith in Christ. Graphic by Esther Insigne APR IL 2020


The of Tonga

Graduating senior Manu Panuve says BYU Management Society helped her grow into her best self



Manu Panuve’s nickname comes from her distinctive and commanding voice and her leadership style, says her friends. Photo provided by Manu Panuve.

BY OLIVIA HIXSON Friends and colleagues of Manu Panuve, a graduating senior from Tonga studying business supply chain and human resources, agreed they love Panuve’s loud, upbeat voice and her ability to lead with compassion. Ann Springer, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Business & Government, said she and Panuve worked together for more than two years on different projects related to business and BYU Management Society (BYUMS) at BYU–Hawaii. Through these shared interests, Springer said she has grown to know and love Panuve for her leadership skills. “She is a dynamic leader who runs a tight ship but makes it feel more like you’re on a cruise ship than a navy command center. She is great at involving others, nurturing the skills of others, and doing it in a way that is upbeat, full of enthusiasm and positivity. Her personality is uniquely a combination of fun and magnetism while also highly efficient and incredibly detailoriented.” Mirroring this same admiration, Lyon Almanda, a senior from Indonesia studying finance, said her contagious energy and enthusiasm drew him to her and they worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center and on business projects, such as the Empower Your Dreams competition. “I think her personality has the ability to see a business and to see potential in a business. She knows how to improve a business, and she also has a lot of great ideas that helped our business to grow ... She really encouraged me to be more positive. She’s really great at making people feel confident in themselves.” Loud in a good way Both Springer and Almanda said the first thing people notice about Panuve is how she can command attention and get her point across using one thing: her voice. “Manu will tell you that her best feature is that she does not need a microphone because her voice is so loud and vivacious. We all affectionately call her ‘The Queen of the Kingdom of Tonga.’ She is the queen, and we all love her,” Springer commented.

Almanda said, “She’s actually very loud as a Polynesian woman. I mean, she’s loud in a positive way, and she is very cheerful, too. She is always smiling. For me, the times that we worked together, most of the time, I forgot to do things by the deadline for some assignments and things that are important for Empower Your Dreams, and she would remind me.” Panuve said the easiest way for her to keep up this positive attitude is through her ability to focus on enjoying her journey through life, not just enduring it. “Just enjoy the moment, or enjoy the ride. Enjoying the ride does not necessarily mean that you have to be reading in your room all the time and doing homework all the time ...You have to understand that you need to really have some fun, and you need to have that balance, so you can be healthier. If you’re going to do homework most of the time, then you miss out on having fun.You need to balance out your life and enjoy the ride.” Getting involved Panuve advised BYUH students to get involved in school activities and clubs. She is the vice president of BYUMS and is involved in the Tongan Club. “I’ve been in the BYU Management Society for two years, and now, being the vice president of BYU Management Society, I’ve seen how much I have grown. I love creating events and also just improving leadership skills, such as when things don’t happen as you have planned.” She added working with BYUMS has helped her gain the ability to stretch her creativity because of working with new groups continually. “It helps me to think outside the box. Being in senior management has helped me to be open-minded. There’s no set thing or way of how to do things differently, and there are always better ways to make things better. “It’s just a matter of being open-minded to it ... I think that’s another thing, having the desire actually to learn from others as well. Even public speaking and being able to understand the proper and inspired questions to ask ... I feel like having those things from BYU Management Society has helped me so much.”

Springer attributes these learning experiences for Panuve to her ability to lead with love and understanding. “When BYUMS grew from a small group of 30 students to almost 150 students in one semester, Manu organized her team in a way that she was able to utilize all of the students in her committee. “She is a thinker and a problem-solver. She approaches everything with a cheerful attitude, and it pays huge dividends for her now and will continue to do so in the future. I am certain she will be successful no matter where she lands.” Onwards and upwards Panuve said she has already seen the benefits of getting involved in school, both in her personal and professional life. Although she is nervous about returning to Tonga and getting engaged in the professional world of business, she expressed much excitement about being able to show the world what she has to offer. “I can already see some of these benefits in my life right now. After graduating and especially going back to Tonga, I saw the good things that will help me be in a big role ... [are] understanding and being open-minded.” With their work and teaming up together, Almanda shared he wants to thank Panuve for helping their teams be successful. “I thank her because she’s a very great business partner for me and a great classmate, a great coworker. I would love to work with her again in the future. “She’s very cool and reminds me to keep praying and motivates me to do better next time. She’s just very positive.” Similarly, Springer said she has full confidence in the convictions of Panuve since they have worked so closely together. “I hope Manu will continue to be a champion for her team. Her team may look different at different times in her life: at home, at church, in a BYUMS Global Chapter, at work, etc. But I hope she will continue to lead others with her same trademark mix of charm, enthusiasm and effectiveness. “She is one of the great ones, the genuine gold described by President McKay, who will leave BYU–Hawaii and continue to bless the lives of all she comes in contact with throughout her life.” • Graphics by Sadie Scadden APR IL 2020


Graduating senior Jacob Lauder and fiancée look past cultural and religious differences as they prepare to get married BY MARVIN LATCHUMANAN Jacob Lauder, a senior marketing major from Ohio, and his fiancée, Bichtram Nguyen, an alumna of the University of Toledo, believe they can build a happy marriage, despite their cultural and religious differences. Although they come from different religions and cultural backgrounds, the couple said they are committed to making their relationship successful. Overcoming different religions Lauder said, “We share almost all of our beliefs about why we do the things we do, what motivates us and what we want to see in the world. As a result, [we share] things that are important, what burdens we want to take and how we want our kids to be. “I feel even though she’s Catholic, we don’t see these lines.” Lauder, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he looks past religious differences, despite his culture stressing the importance of marrying a fellow church member. “It’s almost like we kind of come together and make a whole new thing. Maybe we don’t have the label of we’re both Catholic or both Mormon, but we both care about our faiths.” Lauder emphasized the importance of caring about the person he was marrying rather than factors such as their religion and culture. “I think it’s more we care about what type of person we are, rather than looking at religion,” Lauder added. He emphasized how there were good and bad people in every religion, including The Church of Jesus Christ 58


and how being a part of a specific religion is not a guarantee someone will be a good person. Nguyen and Lauder were in the same group of friends in Ohio. According to Lauder, he found Nguyen attractive and asked her to go watch a movie with him. “Our first date was actually hilarious because the two of us went to see a silent movie,” Lauder shared.

“Everyone says, ‘Don’t go see a movie on your first date.’ But we saw a silent movie where we could hear each other breathing and moving the entire time. At first it was awkward, but we made it work.” Time apart According to the couple, when Lauder was leaving Ohio to attend school in Hawaii,

they both agreed to see each other again. They adapted to the nature of their different paths and tried their best to stay in touch. Lauder said, “We were just trying to make the summer last and have a good summer. I told her we should hang out when I get back, and then we were apart for a couple of weeks. We just really missed each other. So, we were FaceTiming, and started FaceTiming more and more. It all kind of snowballed from there.” Because Lauder was attending school at BYUH, Nguyen introduced herself to his parents without Lauder being physically present. Nguyen said, “I have a very big family… To me, family isn’t just my immediate family, but also my extended family as well. So, when he met my family, it was like 30-plus people or so.” When communicating with Nguyen’s family, who are Vietnamese, Lauder said, “There’s just a little lag sometimes [with] the translation, but it's good, and it’s getting better. I'm starting to see, ‘Oh, that’s what they’re saying.’” Lauder said even though he was not fluent in Vietnamese, he still connected with Nguyen’s family through body language. “I think going to school with a lot of people speaking different languages and going on a mission made it easier to communicate with people from different places. It was easy for me to see that. It’s not an exclusion, but I was able to read their body language and interpret what they were saying.”

Nguyen added, “I think at first it was very overwhelming for him because they were all speaking in Vietnamese. I think what helped us was his mission in Bolivia. He is used to being spoken to in a foreign language.” Lauder's close friend, AJ Halling, a junior majoring in information systems from Utah, said, “Jake is one of those guys who is friends with everyone. He and Tram are just going with the flow, fun to be around and you know they’ve got your back. He and I also cook some mean barbecue chicken. “Jake’s working hard and graduates this semester. It’ll be weird not seeing him all the time.” Working as a team Lauder spoke of merging the two families together and respecting the cultures within them. “As we’re getting ready for the wedding, we’re asking ourselves a lot of questions.” Nguyen said they are not sure if they will have a combined-culture wedding or just an American wedding. Lauder said while others may be turned off by people with a different religion or culture, he believes in keeping an open mind and being motivated to love and make the world a more positive place. Nguyen added, “I think it's important to find common ground rather than mind the differences between two individuals. “If you can see how their common values are just like yours, I don’t think there should be any boundaries of who you can or cannot pursue. So, if you want it hard enough, just work at it.” •

Lauder and his fiancée went to a silent movie on their first date. Photos provided by Jacob Lauder

Lauder and Nguyen belonged to the same friend group. Photos provided by Jacob Lauder

“I think it's important to find common ground rather than mind the differences between two individuals. If you can see how their common values are just like yours, I don’t think there should be any boundaries of who you can or cannot pursue. So, if you want it hard enough, just work at it.” - Bichtram Nguyen APR IL 2020


Nakitta Ellis throws her graduation cap in celebration of finishing her degree this Winter Semester 2020. Photo by Chad Hsieh