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“I really like art and I really like being creative,” said Caitlyn Bonzo, a junior studying sociology, as she stands on a chair and reaches for a book about macramé, or intricate knot tying, on her top shelf.

Along with weaving, thrift shopping and learning pottery, Kentucky-native Bonzo expresses her creativity through macramé.

Bonzo served a mission in Salt Lake City and was no stranger to adversity during her time there.

On the fourth day in her mission, she called her president, telling him to send her home. “I had never struggled with anxiety or depression until I went into the mission field, and it hit me like a ton of bricks,” Bonzo said.

Bonzo also struggles with perfectionism. On her mission, Bonzo reached out and received help.

“It changed my life,” she said. “Now, thanks to counseling and other help, I can look at my life and be confident in the things I know that I’m not good at.”

Overcoming personal challenges was not all Bonzo achieved during her mission. She practiced showing the love of the Savior to those around her.

“It was so cool to be able to look at somebody that I didn’t even know on the street and be able to say, ‘Wow, I don’t even know you and you might kind of smell bad, and I can feel God’s love for you,” Bonzo said.

Coming home from a mission can prove spiritually challenging, as many returned missionaries are familiar with.

“Since coming home, I’ve been up and down spiritually,” she said. “This semester I’ve had my first soul-shaking trial of faith.” Bonzo said she thinks a lot of people struggle to feel like they fit in.

This missing sense of belonging, coupled with embarrassment or shame, made talking about her faith crisis difficult for Bonzo.

“I was so intimidated to tell one of my friends that I was having this faith struggle because I was afraid she would think less of me, but when I told her she didn’t think less of me. It was hard to say that because it became real.”

Despite the difficulties, Bonzo keeps a positive outlook and looks for ways to push through her trials.

“It’s really hard, but really good for me to have this trial right now,” Bonzo said. She said she is slowly figuring things out.

Weaving, macramé and working on ceramics provide therapeutic work for Bonzo.

“I’ve really been taking time to be mindful about what I do. I’m taking more time to show God that I’m grateful for what He has given me.”

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