News Release

BYU-Hawaii Recruiters come to the islands of Micronesia

BYU-Hawaii Recruiters form new alumni chapter and hope to have more students attend

BYU-Hawaii and BYU Pathways recruiters came to Micronesia Guam area to encourage and inspire students to attend and take advantage of the incentives they have to offer this area. The BYU Hawaii Mission statement says: “The mission of BYU-Hawaii is to prepare students of Oceania and the Asian Rim to be lifelong disciples of Jesus Christ and leaders in their families, communities, chosen fields, and in building the kingdom of God.”

James Faustino, the Dean of Students/Director of Ho’okele at BYU-Hawaii, was asked, “Why should students come to BYU-Hawaii?” He answered: “Because this is a campus specifically set up for individuals from this area/region.  They have special programs that cater to this area.  It is a small campus, and they want to keep it that way to give their students the individualized attention for guidance and success for this targeted area.”  Their hope is that the students will return to their homes with an education that will both benefit them and their homeland as well as becoming leaders in their chosen fields.  They’re hoping it will also be a great asset in the Church as they are called to serve and lead others in religious assignments. 

A unique opportunity is that most of their students are sponsored which makes it possible for them to be able to afford to attend BYU-Hawaii.  They have about 1200 sponsored spots available out of their 2800 students right now.   The sponsors find great joy in helping students achieve educational success while building leadership skills that will help to bless others the rest of their lives.  At the end of their schooling here, the students attend a conference and are interviewed to help find their “footing” as they seek career opportunities specifically on their islands.  It is not difficult for students desiring to attend BYU-Hawaii to get accepted if they live in their “targeted” areas.

Maurice Mo’o is the Admission’s Manager for BYU-Hawaii. Part of his job is to recruit students from their targeted Oceania and the Asian Rim.  He stated that, “Students from those geographic regions are given priority to admissions.”  They try to travel to most of the major islands in the Pacific and Asia areas.  BYU-Hawaii is also trying to pair themselves with Welfare/Self-Reliance which is great preparation for college.  This partnership took place about a year ago with BYU-Pathways and BYU-Pathways Connect programs.  Kenji Sugahara is the Asia North Area Education Specialists for BYU Pathway Worldwide.  When students go through these programs, they are given priority status within the admission process.   Students need to be proficient enough in speaking and understanding English to be able to attend.  This can also be accomplished through the Pathway-Connect programs.

Lei Cummings is the Alumni Relations Manager at BYU-Hawaii.  She says, “Part of our mission is to create leaders and we hope that our students will return to their homeland and contribute in some way, not only in their families and communities, but as leaders in their country and help to fulfill the mission and prophesy of David O. McKay*.  They have seen some of their alumni come back, contribute and pay it forward by teaching other students.”  In the Micronesia Guam area, we have several alumni who have done this.  Such as:  Elder Bill Davis (Church Area Seventy, Leader & Member Support Coordinator, Welfare & Self-Reliance Manager, President Fredivic Necerio (S&I Specialist in Micronesia Guam, Stake President of the Barrigada Stake, FSY Representative), President Masaru Okuda (Micronesia Guam Mission President), Melsihrer Hadley (Finance Secretary in the Church Service Center, Assistant Matron to the Yigo Guam Temple Matron).  Lei said Elder Davis stated in the meeting that he was amazed that the leadership in this area are all alumni from BYU-Hawaii.  Brother Faustino said he just received a text showing a picture with the caption, “Second ever stake organized in Mongolia”.  All those in the picture were BYU-Hawaii alumni including their wives.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is growing in these areas in part because of BYU-Hawaii and the alumni that return to their home regions.

A fireside (night meeting) was held on January 29, 2023 for all the youth and anyone thinking about going to BYU-Hawaii or doing the BYU Pathways program.  It was a well-attended meeting with many prospective new students.

BYU-Hawaii Alumni Testimonies:

Elisapeci Matuku Gittens (Talisay Ward, Guam Barrigada Stake) served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints among her own people on the island of Fiji.  She said, “It was hard because if people saw you carrying a Bible, they would make fun of you.  Going to BYU-Hawaii helped me to stand up for myself.  I was a ‘scaredy cat’ in my family.  Now I try to encourage the youth here to dare to be different.  When the Church gives you these programs like Pathway, Seminary, and Institute, The Lord is telling you He wants you.  This is the path to follow.  If you follow in this path, you’re going to reach in a good place.”

After high school, Kitaela Kalima, (Barrigada Ward, Guam Barrigada Stake)  went to BYU-Hawaii for two years before serving a Church mission.  After her mission, she never returned to BYU-Hawaii.  Instead, she came home, got married and had two children.  Years later, she found the BYU Pathway Connect program and decided to give it a try.  She worried that so much time had passed since she’d been in school if she could remember things like math.  It ended up being a lot of fun to learn again.  Because of the great resources provided to her through this program, even math ended up being fun!  She said, “When I had problems with math and I couldn’t really get it, they had a tutorial to look for other resources to learn.  For one of her math classes, some of them brought their husbands.  One of them happened to be a mathematician!  I took advantage of this and I wasn’t shy in asking him questions which led to another tutorial session!  Every Thursday was a gathering time where all the students would share thoughts and be edified and strengthened by each other.”  She became an English teacher where she goes to different schools teaching students who are learning English as a second language.  Talking about the spiritual part of the program, she said, “Another thing I really enjoyed was the spiritual aspects that is incorporated in the learning program.  I don’t think you can find this anywhere else in your learning, but it is there in Pathway.  The lessons I learned there each week strengthened her, helped her to organize and prioritize her time.  I loved the Pathway Connect.  I will start another semester soon.”

August 2000, Jan David Tison (Dededo Ward, Guam Barrigada Stake)  was a freshman at BYU-Hawaii.  He said, “BYU-Hawaii has perpetually blessed my life.”  He got a job there as an editor which helped him get a job back in Guam working as a reporter for the newspaper.  This enabled him to fund his two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Phillipines.  After his mission, BYU-Hawaii alumni called him to attend a career fair.  Through this he was able to get a job as a loan officer at the bank where he is able to support his family. 

Elder Bill Davis attended BYU-Hawaii and has fond memories of the instructors and professors that taught him.  He said, “It was an amazing experience.  Right on the gates of BYU-Hawaii, there is a sign that says, ‘Enter to learn.  Go forth to serve.’  You come to BYU-Hawaii to learn, but you’re not only learning academics.  You’re learning about life, how to lead and how to serve in the Church.”  It became a great way for him and his wife to do what they could to bring the light of Christ to others.  He also stated: “Take advantage of what BYU-Hawaii has to offer.  If you’re planning to go—go.  If you’re not planning to go, plan to go!  It’s a wonderful place.  You can’t go wrong if you go to BYU-Hawaii.  You’ll meet so many people.  I just remember meeting so many people, that afterwards in my life when I started working for the Church in 1999, I met many, many people I knew that went to BYU-Hawaii who are now leaders in communities, leaders in the Church, and leaders in their country.  That’s what BYU-Hawaii does; it creates leaders.”

President David O. McKay prophesied “that from this place…will go men and women whose influence will be felt for good towards the establishment of peace internationally, genuine gold.”

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