BYU-Hawaii Alumni eNewsletter May 2006

Malo e lelei,

The May 2006 BYU-Hawaii Alumni eNewsletter contains the following:

  • President Shumway stresses personal revelation, gift of the temple
  • News Bytes
    • Elder Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy praises President Hinckley
    • Elder Kikuchi of the Seventy addresses international Japanese, Korean students
    • Prestigious professional society approves BYU-Hawaii student chapter
    • Women's tennis team recaptures national NCAA II title, other honors
    • Petra Gaspar ('02) named 'most outstanding student athlete' of the past 25 years
    • New coaches named
  • Other Association & Chapter News
    • President Shumway explains returnability to international Student Alumni Association members
    • Volunteer chapter leaders sought
    • Reminders of upcoming events
  • Personal Updates


President Shumway stresses the need
for personal revelation, attending the temple

BYU-Hawaii President Eric B. Shumway

As he often does at the beginning of school terms, BYU-Hawaii President Eric B. Shumway delivered the first Spring Term devotional, May 4, 2006, on the need for personal revelation and attending the temple.

"Aloha. I am deeply grateful to be here with you, especially with our new students. I love this university beyond words. I admire the faculty and staff. I feel deep regard for each and every student. That is because I have a profound testimony of who you are and your worth to Heavenly Father who has created this university to prepare you for uncommon service in his kingdom," he said.

President Shumway then quoted the counsel Elder Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve, gave in last December's graduation address: "You are going out into a world that is different from the world I faced when I was your age... You won't survive spiritually unless you know how to receive revelation."

"As I have pondered President Packer's talk, I have realized that as a learning institution, an institution of higher learning in the Church, if you students learn everything else and not learn this — how to receive personal revelation — then we have failed in a significant way. Without this ability, a person will leave crippled and vulnerable in a world of many strident, often mocking voices; a world of moral confusion, a world consumed by forces that destroy the soul — pride, violence, lust, greed, ambition for power, celebrity, ease, and competing demands for your time, your energy, and commitments," President Shumway continued.

He defined personal revelation as "divine communication from a personal, loving, and literal Heavenly Father to the individual by a power of the Holy Ghost. Through this communication Heavenly Father bestows understanding, knowledge, understanding, courage, and a deep sense of his love and caring. Sometimes this communication will come as a grace, a pure gift or a tender mercy, but generally it is something we must seek for earnestly.

"President Hinckley offered this insight, 'The trouble with most of our prayers is that we [offer] them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering groceries — we place our order and then hang up. We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for, and then speak to the Lord as one [person] speaketh to another.'"

"That requires a fairly intense involvement of the imagination to visualize Heavenly Father actually present in the room with us and our speaking to him, and interacting with him, and listening as we would in any reverent conversation with another person. President Hunter taught: "If prayer is only a spasmodic cry in the time of crisis, then it is utterly selfish, and we come to think of God as a repairman or a service agency to help us only in our emergencies. We should remember the Most High day and night — always, not only in times when all other assistance has failed and we desperately need help."

Sometimes the voice of the Lord will come in the form of deep throbbing of the heart, a warm and abiding sensation of love and gratitude. It may come in the middle of a meeting while you are pondering, during the sacrament; it may come in the form of a testimony of someone in Relief Society, or in an answer to a question in the Sunday School class. As President Packer points out, it may frequently come in the middle of the night. It may be words in your mind, an idea, a picture, sometimes it's just a sensation of comfort and peace."

President Shumway stressed "Heavenly Father's eagerness and willingness to answer our prayers, to give revelation and guidance," but added this is often blocked by barriers, including:

  • Noise. "As President Packer points out, we live noisy lives, the pounding of rock music, the blare of the TV, preoccupation with entertainment of all kinds. It is a kind of brain clutter. Even Christ left the company of his disciples and the multitudes to seek quiet and reverence in the hills of Judea or in quiet gardens."
  • Sin. "Often secret sin gnaws at us and nags us into feeling that we can't pray. Sexual sins especially will distance us immediately. Pornography will drive the spirit from one's life instantaneously. It is more than a barrier, it's a black hole."
  • Anger, smoldering resentment, refusing to reconcile or make right with a person who has offended you or whom you have offended. "I have seen individuals consumed by this kind of resentment that, if not corrected, will lead to loathing and hatred and apostasy
  • Waiting to pray "until we are too tired. We don't feel like it. Nephi, in his last sermon, warned that the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray."
  • Intense sorrow "will paralyze one's feelings against prayer. We're too sad to pray. 'My heart's not in it,' one person was heard to say. What an irony, rejecting the very way and the very person who can bring healing and comfort."
  • Pride. "I can handle this, I have brains, I'll figure it out, I don't need a blessing, we say."
  • Worry. "We start praying about our problems then our problems take over our minds and we forget who we're talking to. Sometimes, it is clichés and generalities that we can rattle off to cover everybody and everything. I have found it very useful to target specifically special needs, exact issues and specific persons by name. Something wonderful happens when we mention someone's name before Heavenly Father. You feel better about that person. Especially if that person is less than perfect. Prayer and revelation sometimes changes our perspective and attitude toward even an enemy."
  • A lack of faith in Christ or confidence in ourselves that becomes the barrier.
  • Not dwelling enough on "the thankful side of things in our prayers. I remember one speaker at this podium bear testimony to the power of offering thank you prayers in which you just say thank you and don't ask for anything, where you simply count your blessings before the Lord, naming them one by one."
  • Quickness to ask for help, "then not listening for the answer. We forget that prayer is a two-way conversation...[or] as President Hunter suggests, we treat Heavenly Father as some service agency to call on when we need help."

"One of the greatest truths about the formula for sincere prayer and personal revelation, that is, to seek with all of our heart, to ask, to knock — is that it is similar to the formula we use in the pursuit of our education and truth in general."

Laie Hawaii Temple
Photo by Monique Saenz ('02, Art)

"I've seen revelation in the quiet but humble prayer of a tender wife seeking to know how to manage a family of energetic children and a busy husband. I've witnessed revelation in the calling of stake presidents, in the blessings of babies, in the administration of the sick," President Shumway continued. "Many times, in just the fervent and yearning utterance of his name, Heavenly Father, we sense an immediate warm reassurance of His love and His eagerness to bless. Sometimes the answer or revelation comes before we even ask."

President Shumway also pointed out the university and community is blessed "with the inimitable gift of the holy temple which, by definition, is a house of prayer, and therefore a house of revelation. One of my biggest heartaches is the number of endowed people on this campus, and in this community, including returned missionaries, who do not regularly attend the temple. They fill their lives and their calendars with study and entertainment, but neglect this opportunity to encounter Heavenly Father in a special way in His house dedicated for the salvation of the living and the dead."

"By the same token, one of my greatest joys is to meet students in the temple, sometimes as temple workers, sometimes sitting quietly with bowed head in the celestial room. I bear solemn testimony that you are in the presence of God there."

"Prayer and revelation are at the core of temple worship," he continued. "Of course, we don't need a temple to pray. Wherever we are, prayer hallows the spot like unto a temple. But the temple does provide a priesthood-dedicated place of reverence. It is a house of learning, a house of order, a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of glory, a house of God [D&C 88:119]."

President Shumway noted that Elder John A. Widstoe spoke of "the wonderful pedagogy of the temple," where "the endowment is so richly is packed full of revelation...[it] is given by revelation [and] can best be understood by revelation and to those who seek most vigorously with pure hearts, will the revelation be the greatest."

"Brothers and Sisters, you who have been endowed but have not been back to the temple, my plea is for you to prepare yourself to become worthy to return," he said. "Let your prayers generate the revelation that you need to put your life in order. Don't wait. Don't risk the heartache and the remorse that comes from violating temple covenants. Go back to the temple, but go back worthily."

"I ask Heavenly Father sincerely to bless us all with the ability, the meekness and the persistence to get revelation; to be tender and patient with one another, for none of us knows the burdens each of us carries. I pray the temple will become and continue to be the focus of our worship, and that our ability to receive revelation will continue throughout our lives."

Read the complete devotional address...


News Bytes

Elder Rasband of the Seventy opens BYU-Hawaii Women's Conference
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy paid tribute to President Gordon B. Hinckley as "the greatest temple builder of all mankind" in the May 19 keynote address at the BYU-Hawaii CITO Women's Conference.

Elder Kikuchi meets with Japanese, Korean students on campus
Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and a former president of the Hawaii Honolulu Mission and the Tokyo Temple, delivered a powerful message to the international Japanese and Korean students on campus during a special April 20 visit. Speaking first in English in a separate meeting for the Korean students, then in Japanese in another session for his compatriots, Elder Kikuchi encouraged them seek the Lord's help in learning English, to have their "own sacred grove" experiences, urged the single ones to get married, and return to their home countries to help build the Church. Read more...

Later in an email to BYU-Hawaii Vice President of Student Life Isileli Kongaika ('71), who organized the special meetings, Elder Kikuchi wrote "...many of the Korean and Japanese students said that they received answer to their prayers," and stressed that he wants them to "have a higher education before they come back. I want all of them to come back so they can serve as leaders in the Church." He cited several examples of those who have done this, including:

  • Seoul Stake President Yoon Hwan Choi('88, Information Systems),  who earned a master's degree from Utah State University before going to work for the largest export-import company in Korea. He is now the Church's PBO manager in Seoul.
  • Akihiko Tanaka ('89, Accounting) . After graduating from BYU-Hawaii, he earned a master's degree in California and then went to work for Texas Instruments in Japan. He is now president of Forever Living in Japan, managing a staff of about 250 and a network of approximately 150,000 dealerships.
  • Kouichi "James" Hayase ('89, Accounting), who has been a bishop and is now a counselor in the Machida Japan Stake presidency, has a successful consulting business with clients such as IBM, Microsoft and other large Japanese corporations. He is also a former Japan Alumni chapter chair.
  • Yoshikazu Yokoyama ('72, Business Management), currently president of the Japan Sapporo Mission and a former stake president who had a successful computer business in Tokyo. He was also recently selected as an Alumni "Genuine Gold" representative.
  • Akira Yafuso ('64), currently president of the Japan Hiroshima Mission and a former stake president with a very successful insurance business.

National ergonomics society approves BYU-Hawaii student chapter
The prestigious Human Factors and Ergonomics Society has recently named BYU-Hawaii as only its 40th student chapter in the U.S., based partially on the outstanding research and analyses BYU-Hawaii students have done for the university and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Read more...

Women's tennis team claims sixth NCAA II championship in past eight years, others honored
The BYU-Hawaii women's tennis team recaptured the NCAA II national championship on May 13 in Kansas City, Missouri, by defeating top-ranked Armstrong Atlantic University, 5-3. The Ladies' latest win brings their 2006 season to a perfect close, 27-0. This is the team's sixth NCAA II championship in the past eight years, and their tenth national title including NAIA championships. Congratulations players and coach, Dr. David Porter. Read all about it...

At the opening national tournament, individual Seasider players also singled out for honors:

  • Dillon Porter received the prestigious Arthur Ashe Award for sportsmanship and leadership in the West Region.
  • Jakub Huza was named West Region Player to Watch
  • Leon So'onalole received the West Region Senior Player of the Year award
  • Ramona Husaru was named West Region Rookie of the Year

Alumna tennis star named 'most outstanding student athlete' of the past 25 years
The NCAA has named Petra Gaspar ('02, Hospitality and Tourism Management) as the Division II Tennis Most Outstanding Student-Athlete as part of the organization's 25th anniversary of women's championships. Gaspar, who led the Lady Seasiders to national team titles in 1999, 2000 and 2002 (and runner-up in 2001), currently lives in Budapest, Hungary with her husband and two-year-old son. Read more...

Alumni named to coach new teams
Jeff Miller ('02, Biological Sciences), a former player and assistant coach, has been named to head the resurrected men's soccer team; and another former player, Justin Wagar ('99), has been named to coach the new women's soccer team. Both teams will take the field in the 2006-07 school year. For more BYU-Hawaii sports news...


Other Association & Chapter News

President Shumway explains returnability to international SAA members
Speaking at a special Student Alumni Association meeting for international students on May 16, BYU-Hawaii President Eric B. Shumway stressed that returnability after graduation is a two-way commitment: " have made a promise. The university has also made a promise to help you get connected back home..." through internships, career placement and working with alumni. Read his message...

Alumni board seeks volunteer chapter leaders
Following a recent meeting of the Alumni Association board of directors, volunteers are being sought to serve as potential  chapter leaders in the following areas — some of which are current while others are newly proposed:

  • Los Angeles, California
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Tennessee-Georgia-Alabama
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Houston, Texas
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Provo, Utah
  • St. George, Utah
  • Thailand
  • Cook Islands
  • Marshall Islands

If you are willing to serve in any of these areas, please contact Rowena Reid ('76, Social Work), Alumni Association Executive Director, or call 808-293-3648.

In case you missed them in a previous issue, or you're new to our Alumni eNewsletter:

  • The New York chapter is planning a fireside meeting on June 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the new Harlem chapel featuring the BYU-Hawaii Concert Choir. The Choir and five other participating ensembles will also perform on Monday, June 5 at 8 p.m. in Carnegie Hall. For more information, contact chapter co-chair Katy Hyett Sutton ('90, English) at 203-798-9194.
  • The Alaska Chapter will hold a college scholarship fundraiser dinner and show, featuring Polynesian dancers, for Alaskan Seminary graduates on Saturday, June 3, from 5:30 p.m. at Wendler Jr. High at Northern Lights and Lake Otis in Anchorage. Tickets are now available by calling 332-2005 or 240-8382; or contact chapter chair Carolyn Fautanu ('89, Mathematics Education). The cost is $15 each for ages 14 and up, $10 each for ages 8-13, and children under 8 are free.


Personal Updates

1950s & 60s

David Keala Jr. ('57, Business) and his wife, Florence Kamauoha Keala ('57) recently said their "most memorable experience at CCH [where David was king of the Aloha Ball] was meeting each other." After graduating with an associate's degree, he earned a bachelor's degree in business from Provo, and then returned to Hawaii as a teacher and eventually became principal of Molokai High. Both are currently involved in the Native Hawaiian Island Council, and are especially proud of their alumni son, David Keala ('87, Travel, Hotel and Restaurant Management) — BYU-Hawaii Director of Food Services — and three granddaughters who are current students.

After leaving CCH, Helen Kuoha-Torco ('64) joined Sterling Mossman's Hawaiian group, and went on to become a flight attendant. She earned a master's degree from UH and later a doctorate in education in Florida. She's a retired professor from the UH Community College system where she taught for 30 years, and is currently a substitute teacher for the Honolulu School District. She is also currently a "double star" Mary Kay Cosmetics representative.

In Memoriam: Lela Dalton, who passed away on May 22. She served a teaching mission in Tonga in the 1950s with her husband, Pat, who later joined the original Church College of Hawaii faculty (he retired in 1988) while she worked in a variety of positions. In the 1960s the Daltons returned to Tonga where he was mission president, and in 1989 they were called as president and matron of the Tonga Temple. In 2000 the Daltons also served a senior mission at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

In Memoriam: Sunny Taosoga ('67) worked as an educator and held many Church positions in both Samoa and American Samoa. Two of his children — Edith ('99, Business Management) and Nathan Taosoga ('01, EXS) graduated from BYUH, and Agalelei is still enrolled.


Judge Bode Uale ('79, Political Science) earlier this month was a guest speaker at the American Samoa Community College 2006 commencement.


Brent Schwenke ('81, Business Management, and '82, Accounting) is general manager for Polynesian Airlines in American Samoa.

Cynthia Cowell ('82, Business Management and Accounting) recently helped organize a Pacific Islands festival in Foster City, California.

In Memoriam: Si'ilata Lokeni ('87), worked for the Church Education System in Samoa before coming to BYU-Hawaii. He also worked for the Polynesian Cultural Center.


In Memoriam: Nelson Tu'ua, who along with his wife, Lata, served as resident managers of Temple View Apartments until they retired. Originally from Samoa, Tu'ua moved to New Zealand where he met his wife, and the couple eventually moved to Hawaii. Four of their nine children have attended BYU-Hawaii.

Nnamdi Okonkwo ('93, Art), the former 6'9" Seasider basketball player originally from Nigeria, and his wife, Deidra Young Okonkwo ('90, Accounting), who went on to earn a master's in accounting from BYU, now live in Orem, Utah. He recently had one of his sculptures on display in an annual exhibit in Summerville, South Carolina, near Charleston.

Dr. William L. Phillips, chair of the Department of Special Education and Director of the International Teacher Education Program (ITEP) at BYU-Hawaii from 1994-99, has been named the new dean of the College of Education at Eastern Kentucky University. After leaving Laie, Dr. Phillips served as Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania.

Nick Parks ('96, International Business Management) and his wife, Lori Bishop Parks ('96, Accounting) recently moved from Denver, Colorado, to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he is vice president of marketing for Pulte Homes/Del Webb. He writes: "We love the desert! I have worked for Pulte Homes/Del Webb in Marketing for the past two years. Prior to Pulte I worked at Ford Motor Company in Detroit and Denver. We have two little girls, ages 5 and 2, and we are a happy little family. I miss Bill Neal and his compassion for his students. His example of humility, leadership and commitment to continuous improvement still guides me today."


Editor's Note: President Shumway is truly eloquent, and we are so fortunate to frequently hear and read his words. Normally in putting together newsletters and other publications, an editor would not lead off with the same speaker three months in a row, but President Shumway's words are so inspirational and timely that I hope you agree with our recent issue content management. We are also blessed to read messages in this issue from two General Authorities, Elders Rasband and Kikuchi of the Seventy, who recently visited our campus. Finally, as you can see, we only received a few "personal updates" from alumni this issue. I know it's a popular part of the newsletter, according to feedback, so if you want to read more...send in your comments. We also need your help in hearing about fellow alumni in your respective areas who have passed away. Aloha,

Mike Foley ('70, TESL), Editor


BYU-Hawaii medallion

The BYU-Hawaii Alumni Newsletter is published by the University Advancement office, under the direction of Napua Baker ['59-61 and '70-72], Vice President; Duane Roberts, Director of Communications & Public Relations; and Rowena Reid ['76, Social Work], Alumni Relations Executive Director. Brigham Young University Hawaii Campus is a four-year comprehensive undergraduate institution sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. About 2,400 students from over 70 nations are currently enrolled.

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