BYU-Idaho President Clark Gilbert and his wife Christine gave the opening BYU-Idaho Devotional of the Fall 2016 semester.
Sister Gilbert talked about knowing who you really are. She quoted Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, who said we live in a world full of distractions. Then she gave this insight, "Distractions can lead to casual actions and then to ignoring our identity and ultimately to forgetting who we are."
She taught that "when distractions or independence might lead to difficulty in recognizing who you really are" you can't give up. "Hold on to the things that you do know! You are a child of God! Look around and gain strength from prayer, scriptures, the temple, and righteous examples. Use the power of the Atonement to heal, repent, forgive, and remember whose child you are!"
President Gilbert focused on telling the students they have a great potential and are "children of promise." He shared stories about youth he met while living in Boston and how he began to teach them as if they were family, "A desire grew in me to teach them so that the gospel would sink deep into their hearts. Our conversations expanded to include plans for missions, how to be an effective missionary, college preparation, the importance of marriage, and early careers," he said.
He shared a video called "Fulfilling the Mission." It shares important messages delivered by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and of BYU-Idaho about the role and future of the school.
He also shared the story of former Church President Heber J. Grant who grew up in poverty to a single mother, but was promised in a blessing that one day he would become an apostle of the Church. "Like Heber J. Grant, the students of BYU-Idaho are children of promise; and while every one of us faces different challenges and constraints, we also have the same gifts Heber J. Grant had-supportive resources in the Church and the promise of a loving Heavenly Father who knows who we are and who we can become," he said.
He said students at BYU-Idaho need to learn three characteristics from Heber J. Grant: self-reliance, stewardship and replenishment. Under stewardship he said they have academic, spiritual, career, life skills and leadership stewardships. Then he made this comment and promise, "Now, some of you may be saying, 'Wow. That's a bit overwhelming, President Gilbert. Five stewardships, like five talents, is a lot of expectation.' Well, yes it is. But just get started, pick one area at a time, and work on it each semester. You will make mistakes, and that's okay. Just do your best; and, if you do, the Lord will multiply your efforts."
President Gilbert also taught students benefit from those who came before them at BYU-Idaho. They can also leave a legacy for those who come in the future, just like pioneers who would plant crops for saints who would later benefit from the harvest.
During an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, President and Sister Clark also talked about the phrase they think most captures the mission of BYU-Idaho. They both said "disciple leader."
"If you come to BYU-Idaho and you don't let it change who you are spiritually you've missed the point," President Gilbert said. "And if you don't grow as a leader - and a lot of people think, well, when they hear the word leader, they think they're going to be in charge or I'm going to be the boss or I'm going to be the bishop in the ward or the relief society president - I think if you understood Elder Clark used to refer to this as leadership with a small 'l' or President Eyring refers to it as natural leadership, you realize really true leadership is about building and growing other people and you don't have to be in charge to do that."
"We were just so lucky to be here for a time then go away and be in an area where we got to be the beneficiaries of BYU-Idaho students in a ward and then with my husband at Deseret Digital Media," Sister Gilbert said. "I tell you in that ward whenever we got a couple from BYU-Idaho, they did, they stood out. And I served with some young women, I served with in Young Womens with some BYU-Idaho students. I helped a young mother who was having twins that had been a student at BYU-Idaho. I was just amazed by their character and the way they were able to be disciple-leaders in their own homes in our ward and in their work place. It was really beneficial for me to see that in practice and it's so neat to know that there are so many more that will be going out into the world in the years to come to affect places all over."
You can listen to their full interview by clicking here.