On April 27, Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong, the First Counselor in the North America Central Area Seventy Presidency, and his wife, Sister Carol Wong, gave their devotional addresses through the BYU-Idaho website.
In her talk, “Testimony,” Sister Wong reflected on her time as a young college student and offered encouragement.
“My dear young friends if you are struggling now, be patient, and be faithful,” Sister Wong said. “Then one day, very soon, you will look back and be grateful for all the experiences and trainings you have today. You will realize you were under the care of our Lord all along the way.”
She stressed the importance of general conference messages and invited students to make a study plan.
“You need to have a plan to learn the talks for yourselves and intentionally incorporate what you have learned into your life,” Sister Wong said. “You need to learn all you can because you are not only our future leaders, you are actually our leaders now. If you haven’t made up your mind to do better and be better yet, do it now.”
Sister Wong then shared her own study plan. During the month of conference, she goes over every talk at least one time. Then, for the next five months, she studies a session every month.
She studies the talks in both Chinese and English to help her more deeply understand them. She also shares what she learns with others to reinforce her own learning.
Sister Wong testified of the divine calling held by church leaders and expressed gratitude for their love and devotion.
“I’m grateful for the blessings of the Christ-like love our church leaders have for us,” Sister Wong said. “I hope we are all big fans of them and pay attention to their teachings, especially to our 15 living prophets, seers and revelators. They are truly called of God to be our guides on our path going back to our dear Heavenly Father and His only begotten son, our Savior Jesus Christ.”
In his talk, “22 Stones,” Elder Wong discussed how the gospel can aid in the planning, preparation and endurance of life.
He told the story of the brother of Jared, who was called by the Lord to build barges and to embark to a promised land. He connected this story to students’ experiences with planning their futures.
“As students each day you are learning and plotting the course for your future,” Elder Wong said. “Whether that is in your educational pursuits or career decisions, the Lord can provide you with guidance. He is especially interested in the course you are taking to the promised land.”
Because the brother of Jared didn’t want to travel in darkness, he called on God and asked for help. Elder Wong encouraged students to do the same as they seek guidance in their own lives.
“As the brother of Jared asked for the Lord’s help in lighting the stones, can He not also provide you with the light to shine in the darkness of doubts? Receiving the Lord’s guidance through the Spirit is like being touched by the finger of God, giving you the power and spiritual light to guide your family to the promised land.”
He also told the story of David and Goliath. David killed Goliath with one stone, yet he gathered five. Elder Wong described this not as a lack of faith but as successful preparation.
“We must prepare well for our future,” Elder Wong said. “We may not be able to change all of what is coming, but we can choose how we prepare for what is coming. It is just like what you are doing now at BYU-Idaho. You are seeking your education to learn, to better equip yourself for your uncertain future career and uncharted future life. You may use only one stone, or two, or three, or four, or even maybe all five stones. It is so advantageous to prepare as much as possible now for what you will be facing in your future. Trust the Lord and prepare well for yourself.”
Regarding endurance, Elder Wong stressed the importance of a strong foundation and referenced the story of the wise man who built his house upon a rock.
“The wise man built his house upon the rock and the house stood still, whereas the foolish man built his house upon the sand and his house washed away,” Elder Wong said. “Therefore, where our foundation is really matters, and this has a decisive effect on the outcome ultimately and eternally.”
He reminded students to build their foundations on Jesus Christ and His gospel.
“Our entire lives should be filled with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Elder Wong said. “The gospel is not part of our life, but our life is actually part of the gospel of Jesus Christ . . . God is our Heavenly Father. He loves all of us. He knows our potential way better than we know ourselves. He knows not only the details of our lives. God knows the details of the details of the details of our lives.”
He ended by inviting students to consider the 22 stones he discussed as they plan, prepare and endure through life.
“As you continue to chart your future consider these 22 stones,” Elder Wong said. “Sixteen stones of planning, like the brother of Jared. Five stones of preparation as evidenced by David. The most important stone, our foundation stone, our rock, our Savior Jesus Christ.”