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The Education, the Mission, and the World

Dear brothers and sisters, it is a special blessing for me and my wife to be with you here at BYU–Hawaii for this devotional. We feel the Lord’s love for you, and we can see His hand upon you as you study at this unique and sacred institution of learning.

In preparing to speak to you, I have sought the Lord’s guidance and inspiration so that I could tell you what He would have you hear today. It is this:

The Lord loves you and is counting on you to bring His light to everyone with whom you interact. He wants your life to be a beacon to your friends and relatives. He expects you to bear testimony of the reality of our Heavenly Father—that we are all His spiritual children and, therefore, all humanity is our brothers and sisters. The Lord also expects you to bear testimony of His sacred mission on this earth—that He is the Son of the living God, that He was, that He is, and that He is to come. [1]

You may be thinking right now: Brother Camargo, we are at a university. We are busy studying to acquire knowledge. We have exams and research papers to worry about. In the future, we will have more time to do the things you are talking about. But right now, our focus is on getting an education.

In reality, my message to you has everything to do with the education you are pursuing, with the mission God has for you, and with the world and its challenges that you will have to overcome.

The Education

President Russell M. Nelson, our prophet, said to young adults last May: “Education is very important. I consider it a religious responsibility.” [2] As I’m sure you’ve discovered here at BYU–Hawaii, the Lord does not see education as separate and distinct from spirituality.

In fact, in Doctrine and Covenants section 88, verses 77–78, He gave us a commandment to “teach one another,” promising His grace to help us learn “all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God.” And what are those things that pertain to His kingdom? The list in verse 79 might surprise you, because it doesn’t include only gospel topics like faith and repentance. It includes:

“Things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms.”

What are the “things … in heaven” that we can study? The stars and planets? The earth’s atmosphere? Aviation? (I think Elder Uchtdorf would agree with me!)

What are the “things … in the earth”? Construction? Manufacturing? Industrial processes? Information technology? Health science and all its ramifications? Zoology? Biology? Biochemistry? Agriculture?

What about the “things … under the earth”? Could that be geology? Mineralogy? Oceanography? Marine biology?

“Things which have been” seems like a clear reference to the study of history.

And the “things which are”—perhaps that refers to current events. Could it also refer to political science, sociology, business, or public policy?

And what are the “things which must shortly come to pass”? Weather forecasting? Financial projections? Analysis of possible pandemics? Technological advancements?

What are the “things which are at home”? Would that refer to domestic affairs like education, taxes, law, local projects of urban development, and food production planning?

“Things which are abroad” sounds like foreign affairs, international relations, and diplomacy.

“The wars and the perplexities of the nations” and “a knowledge also of countries and kingdoms” seems to imply studying different forms of government, cultures, and languages that exist in this world we live in. I believe this would include a study of anthropology and the artistic and literary traditions around the world.

Wow! That’s much more than we could learn in a semester—or even in a lifetime! And if you didn’t hear your major in that list, don’t worry—I’m sure the Lord wants us to learn that too!

And why does He want us to learn all this?

It’s not just so you can get a good job—although that is important to Him. But His vision is broader than that, and His purpose has more eternal consequences. It’s described in verse 80:

“That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.”

The Mission

This, it seems, is the great purpose of education—to be prepared for the mission God has given us, to be ready when He sends us again.

Some of you may say, “Send me again? I already served a mission. Will I be sent again?”

In reality, there is one only mission. If you served a full-time mission, that was a marvelous period of focused service to the Lord. But it wasn’t the beginning nor the end of the mission He sent you here to fulfill. And what is that mission? Consider these descriptions from the scriptures:

“We will make an earth whereon [God’s children] may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” [3]

To Adam and Eve, an angel of the Lord said, “Thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.” And Adam and Eve “made all things known unto their sons and their daughters.” [4]

After His Resurrection, the Savior said to Peter, “Feed my sheep” [5] and to His disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” [6]

When He appeared in the Americas, He said, “The works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do.” [7]

In the days of Joseph Smith, He said: “Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work.” [8]

And today, through His living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, the Lord tells us: “The gathering of Israel is the most important work taking place on earth today. One crucial element of this gathering is preparing a people who are able, ready, and worthy to receive the Lord when He comes again, a people who have already chosen Jesus Christ over this fallen world, a people who rejoice in their agency to live the higher, holier laws of Jesus Christ. I call upon you, my dear brothers and sisters, to become this righteous people. Cherish and honor your covenants above all other commitments. … Let God prevail in your life.” [9]

If I could summarize our mission, then, I would say it is this:

  • To keep God’s commandments, His higher and holier law. 
  • To follow Jesus Christ with all our heart, doing everything in His name. 
  • And to make all of it known to God’s other children, gathering them back to Him in preparation for the Lord’s Second Coming. 

How can getting an education help you prepare for this mission? There are many possible answers to this question, but here are a few thoughts: Learning about the heaven and the earth can deepen our reverence for Jesus Christ, who created them. Learning about the past, present, and future can open our eyes to the consequences of obeying—and disobeying—God’s commandments throughout human history. Learning about the “perplexities of the nations, … countries and kingdoms” can make us more sensitive to cultural differences. The better we know the hearts of the people of the world—their needs, their values, and what matters to them—the better prepared we are to share the gospel with them in a way that they will understand, embrace, and cherish.

I have complete confidence that you and I can accomplish this mission, because Jesus Christ has accomplished His. Our success depends on Him, and He was true to the mission His Father gave Him—a mission that only He could fulfill.

Jesus Christ prepared the way for us to fulfill our purpose in life by solving four problems that no one else can solve in this world:

First, Christ solved the problem of death. Most of you are quite young, so perhaps this isn’t a problem you think about very much, but mankind has been trying to solve it for centuries. We try to extend life as long as we possibly can. We go to great lengths to stay young—or at least look young. Yet in spite of all our efforts, we are all going to die one day. Only Jesus Christ has ultimate power over the grave. By rising from the dead on the third day after His Crucifixion, Christ conquered death, and because of this we will all one day be resurrected. What a blessing!

The second problem that Christ came to solve is much more present in our daily life. It is the problem of the challenges, disappointments, illnesses, and sadness of various kinds that we encounter in life. He may not remove those difficulties—they are, after all, an essential part of mortality—but He does help us find joy even while facing such trials. He may not cancel your difficult courses and difficult exams, but He can help you learn from them what you need to learn. He told us: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [10] What a blessing!

The third problem that Christ came to solve is spiritual death, or the consequence of our mistakes and sins. We are helpless to solve this problem by ourselves. By taking our sins upon Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane, according to the words of the prophet Isaiah, Jesus Christ “was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” [11] This means that we no longer need to carry the weight of our sins if we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent, and covenant with Him to leave those sins behind us. We can be freed from this weight and live in peace because of the Atonement of Christ. What a blessing!

Finally, the fourth problem that Christ solved is our limited, imperfect natures. He doesn’t just erase our errors and make us innocent again. He changes our natures and puts us on an eternal trajectory toward perfection. Moroni said, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ.” [12] What a blessing!

Brothers and sisters, I testify that Jesus Christ accomplished His mission so that you can accomplish yours. “He marked the path and led the way.” [13] Now your mission is to follow His path—the covenant path—and make it known to everyone. As Lehi said, “How great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth.” [14] Make it known to your children, to your brothers and sisters, to the Lord’s sheep, to all nations—even unto the end of the world. Make it known by word and by example, sharing and living what you know about the Savior. Make it known by serving God and His children with all your heart, might, mind, and strength in this wonderful work of gathering Israel, of preparing a people who are able, ready, and worthy to receive the Lord when He returns.

The World

This is your mission, and it is indeed a wonderful mission. The world needs what you have to offer as a covenant follower of Christ. The challenge you will face is that you will have to live in that world, while also fulfilling your important mission. And it’s a complicated world, where the adversary uses subtle weapons, seeking to deceive you, making wrong seem right, or slowly twisting what was originally right until it becomes something wrong.

Elder David A. Bednar said at the October 2022 general conference, “In the busyness of our daily lives and in the commotion of the contemporary world in which we live, we may be distracted from the eternal things that matter the most by making pleasure, prosperity, popularity, and prominence our primary priorities.” [15]

How does this happen in our lives? It goes something like this:

  • We graduate, get a good-paying job, and start to receive more and more material blessings. We start to like those blessings so much that we forget Him who is the giver of the blessings. We buy a nice car, initially thinking, “I need something to drive my family to church.” Over time, the car grows in size and in power and in accessories, becoming the most important thing in our lives. We become so concerned with our car that we don’t let our children use it, because they will get it dirty. Eventually we decide to buy one car for the family and a sports car just for us! 
  • We buy a pair of blacks shoes for work. Over time, we need a brown pair for weekends. Then we need a blue pair to match the new outfit we just bought, but they won’t go with our favorite outfit—white shoes would look better with that. Soon we have 10 or 15 pairs of shoes. However, we still only have one pair of feet! 
  • With our spouse, we determine that spending time together as a family is an important priority. After all, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” says that “successful marriages and families are established and maintained on [among other things], wholesome recreational activities.” So we decide that each year our family will go on an exciting new outing. Over time, trips become longer. They extend over Sundays, in places where there is no chapel to attend Sunday meetings. They also become more expensive, and we end up spending everything we have—along with some things we don’t have! I think you’ve heard this phrase: “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like!” But we put all the photos on our social media page, and we hope for a lot of likes! 

President Nelson referred to this challenge when he said: “What does it mean to overcome the world? It means overcoming the temptation to care more about the things of this world than the things of God. It means trusting the doctrine of Christ more than the philosophies of men. It means delighting in truth, denouncing deception, and becoming ‘humble followers of Christ.’ It means choosing to refrain from anything that drives the Spirit away. It means being willing to ‘give away’ even our favorite sins.” [16]

Remember these words of our prophet. Write them down, and reread them when you are tempted by the cares of this world:

  • Care more about the things of God than the things of this world. 
  • Trust the doctrine of Christ more than the philosophies of men. 
  • Seek and delight yourself in eternal truth, as found in the scriptures and in the words of living prophets and apostles. 
  • Be a humble follower of Christ. 
  • Abstain from anything that drives the Spirit away. The Holy Spirit is real, and it is a wonderful gift in your lives. You can and should always seek the promptings of the Spirit. 
  • Abandon your favorite sins! 

President Nelson also quoted this promise from President Ezra Taft Benson:

“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, … lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace.” [17]

Honestly, does the world have anything that compares to what the Lord offers you?

  • Deeper joy. 
  • Expanded vision. 
  • A quicker mind. 
  • An elevated spirit. 
  • Multiplied blessings. 
  • Increased opportunities. 
  • Comfort for your soul. 
  • More—and truer—friends. 
  • And an outpouring of peace. 

The world needs to know what you know about the wonderful blessings Jesus Christ offers those who follow Him.


I conclude with what I told you at the beginning—the message I believe the Lord wants you to hear today:

The Lord loves you and is counting on you to bring His light to everyone with whom you interact. He wants your life to be a beacon to your friends and relatives. He expects you to bear testimony of the reality of our Heavenly Father—that we are all His spiritual children and, therefore, all humanity is our brothers and sisters. The Lord also expects you to bear testimony of His sacred mission on this earth—that He is the Son of the living God, that He was, that He is, and that He is to come. [18]

I hope you can see that this message is not separate and distinct from your current focus on getting an education. In reality, your education is crucial to your God-given mission. And your mission is crucial and desperately needed in the world today.

I bear you my solemn witness: I know that God lives and is Our Eternal Father. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He is my personal Savior and Redeemer. He lives today and directs His Church through prophets, seers, and revelators. I testify to you that the Lord will return, as He has promised. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

[1] Doctrine and Covenants 68:6
[2] Russell M. Nelson, “Choices for Eternity” (worldwide devotional for young adults, May 15, 2022)
[3] Abraham 3:24-25
[4] Moses 5:8, 12
[5] John 21:17
[6] Matthew 28:19–20
[7] 3 Nephi 27:21
[8] Doctrine and Covenants 4:1–3
[9] Russel M. Nelson, “Overcome the World and Find Rest,” Liahona, Nov. 2022, 98
[10] Matthew 11:28–30
[11] Isaiah 53:5
[12] Moroni 10:32
[13] “How Great the Wisdom and the Love,” Hymns, no. 195
[14] 2 Nephi 2:8
[15] David A. Bednar, “Put On Thy Strength, O Zion,” Liahona, Nov. 2022, 94
[16] Russell M. Nelson, “Overcome the World and Find Rest,” 96
[17] Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson (2014), 42–43; quoted in Russell M. Nelson, “Overcome the World and Find Rest,” 97
[18] Doctrine and Covenants 68:6