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BYU Devotional: Facing unexpected challenges & strength in gathering

President Kevin J Worthen and Sister Peggy S. Worthen welcomed students back to campus with the first Devotional of the semester. They spoke about facing unexpected challenges and the blessings of gathering.

Facing unexpected challenges

Earlier this year, eight different performing groups from BYU traveled to China to celebrate the 40th anniversary of BYU’s first visit to the country with a performing group.

Over 200 students, crew and staff made the journey to perform in Beining, Xi’an and Shanghai last summer after over two years of preparation. President and Sister Worthen traveled with them, ready to be a part of the BYU Spectacular in China.

After arriving in China, crews were notified that some of the equipment necessary for the performances would be delayed and wouldn’t arrive until partway into the trip. Among the missing equipment were lights, light-boards, panels, puppets and trampolines, each playing a key element in the show.

“Although the challenges were unexpected and difficult, no one involved seemed to have any doubt that they could make it work,” said Sister Worthen.

Despite the language barriers and adjustment to the temporary equipment found abroad, the show went on. The equipment soon arrived and the remaining performances were also successful.

Sister Worthen offers three things these BYU students did in order to succeed despite adversity.

  1. They focused on the mission, the desired end, above all else.
  2. They did their utmost to make the necessary adjustments.
  3. They acted as if they had no alternative and believed the show would go on no matter what.

As the semester begins, unexpected challenges will undoubtedly be faced, whether it be with academic endeavors, social life, physical health or otherwise.
“Remember why you came to BYU — and more importantly, why you came to Earth,” Sister Worthen said. “Do your utmost. Do the best you can. And then act as if there is no alternative but to succeed.”

BYU students and faculty gather together in the Marriott Center

Strength in gathering

President Worthen began his remarks by quoting President Russell M. Nelson when he said, “The doctrine of gathering is one of the most important teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is nothing happening now that is more important and of greater consequence. Nothing.”

Worthen emphasizes that a BYU education is about more than just acquiring information, it is about helping students reach the full realization of human potential. The ultimate goal is to help members of the community discover their ultimate divine identity, and gathering together is the best way to accomplish that goal.

When the BYU community gathers together, there is strength on campus. Worthen discussed four ways BYU’s gathering opportunities can make members of its community better disciples of Jesus Christ.

  1. Faculty

The gathering of faculty is a strength to the BYU community. They are uniquely at the forefront in their field of expertise and solid in their faith in Jesus Christ. Worthen advised students to take advantage of the opportunity to work with them.
2. Fellow Students

Student wards are only made possible because of the unique gathering in Provo. Wards bring built-in support systems and opportunities to be in close proximity with others and build a Christ-like character. Worthen advised students to take the time to serve others in their communities.

3. Temples

When members in a community take the time to gather together in the House of the Lord, the community is blessed with instruction. Worthen invited students to take advantage of the close proximity of temples and gather in the name of the Lord.

4. Devotionals

When students, faculty and staff take the time to physically gather to hear the words of a member of the campus community or a Church leader, they are blessed. Worthen recognized the unique spirit that is present at these physical gatherings each week on campus.

The process of improving and becoming better disciples of Christ is enhanced by gathering together. There is strength found when members of a community come together and collectively refine themselves. Worthen emphasized the importance of each individual involved in the gathering of this unique BYU community.

“You are not here by accident,” he said. “You have been gathered here by God. Whatever your background, whatever your talents, whatever your challenges or perceived weaknesses, you are a vital part of this gathering, who has something to gain — and something to offer — from your interactions with those around you.”

Next Devotional: President Russell M. Nelson

President Russell M. Nelson, Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will deliver the Devotional on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.

His remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv,, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM and BYUradio.

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