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"A person's a person, no matter how small." -Horton Hears a Who, Dr. Suess

BYU Cougarettes Artistic Director Jodi Maxfield shared powerful stories of gratitude and service at this week’s devotional address, encouraging students to help lift each other.

Prefacing her remarks, Maxfield shared the famous story of the Dr. Seuss children's book Horton Hears A Who, illustrating that we all can help those in need by sharing the light of the gospel through service and gratitude. Maxfield also reminded everyone that while it may be difficult to always be grateful, gratitude is actually one of God's commandments.

"It has not been surprising to me throughout my life just how much I truly take for granted when I am in a 'woe is me' state of mind, and just how reflecting on my blessings has turned things around almost instantaneously, although it does not remove the trial," Maxfield said. "When my outlook has changed, my attitude, perception and ability to cope have been positively affected."

As the Artistic Director of the BYU Cougarettes, Maxfield explained that she has the opportunity to coach a competitive dance team, but more importantly the opportunity to provide opportunities for testimonies to grow and lives to be changed through spiritual moments and experiences.

In preparation for the 2008 national competition, Maxfield said the Cougarettes decided to communicate something more heartfelt with their performance and seek for missionary opportunities to share their light.

Their final score, unfortunately, situated them in second place, but provided them with special missionary moments. The Cougarettes had the opportunity to share their brief testimonies of the Savior and offer special copies of the Ensign with a picture of Christ on the cover as gifts to members of the audience who came to congratulate and thank them for their dance. 

"It was very clear and apparent to each member of that team, and we believe that we were not meant to win a title that year," Maxfield said. "Coming very close to winning and performing a routine that spoke to the heart opened many more doors and provided the missionary opportunities that most likely would not have been the case otherwise. God allowed us to have the missionary moments this team had prayed for."

While recounting a personal story about feeling impressed to attend a pioneer trek with her husband and son despite her disdain for camping, Maxfield shared some valuable counsel for inviting the spirit into our lives.

"It is important that we allow ourselves to be in places where the spirit can speak to us, where we can feel the Holy Ghost and where distractions of the world do not interfere," Maxfield said.

This experience, she said, provided her with the much-needed strength to help her feel the spirit when she needed it most.

Connecting all her stories together, Maxfield encouraged her audience to look for small and simple ways to help others by spreading the gospel and light of Christ.

"We are serving as His hands and He asks us all to bless the lives of others," said Maxfield. "To serve, lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen the feeble knees, to rescue and to bless. We have a blessed and sacred opportunity to be a light, to lift, to edify, recognize a need and to be his angels here on earth."

Next Devotional: Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President

The next BYU Devotional address will be given by Bonnie L. Oscarson on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center.

Her remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv and BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM and BYU Radio.