'There is life after Yale,' apostle says
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NEW HAVEN, CONN.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, returned to New Haven, Conn., where they lived for more than two years while he pursued a Ph.D. at Yale University. During that time he served in the presidency of the Hartford Connecticut Stake and she served as Relief Society president of the New Haven Ward.
During their return visit on Sunday, March 18, they spoke to members of the New Haven Young Single Adults Branch, who were joined for this occasion by married students as well. In a separate devotional, they spoke to the New Haven Connecticut Stake's young men and young women of priests and Laurel age, along with their leaders and their parents. Both meetings were held in the New Haven Institute Building on the Yale University Campus, which Elder Holland had dedicated 10 years earlier.
Elder and Sister Holland shared many of their experiences and challenges from the period of their lives in New Haven when they faced heavy school and Church responsibilities, along with making a living and raising their children. They spoke words of encouragement to those who are going through similar challenging times in their lives. The students laughed when he said, "Trust us. There is life after Yale. In fact, if you keep your chin up there may actually be some life during Yale."
Speaking to the young adults, Elder Holland likened the event of the Savior and His disciples during a storm on the Sea of Galilee to the storms that everyone will experience in life. He said the lesson they can learn from this is that when the storms of life seem difficult and overpowering, if "we just stay in the boat, remain faithful in the Church, we can rely on the Savior to calm the storm and help us overcome discouragements."
The young adults related to this analogy as applying to their own lives. Several of them remarked that they will never forget Elder Holland's plea to just "stay in the boat because God knows your circumstances."
Todd Pope, a married student, stated, "I appreciated Elder Holland proclaiming simple truths with boldness."
"The message was very personal, relevant and tailored just for me," remarked Michael Escalante.
Jimmy Willis said he now realizes that going to school is not just for an education. "God has bigger plans for us," he said.
Alberto Rodriguez, a BYU-Idaho Pathway Institute student, commented on Elder Holland's discussion of the Savior's teachings at the temple in 3 Nephi and said, "It reinforced my feelings that because of the Atonement, mercy and compassion can override justice."
At the devotional for the youth, Elder Holland challenged the priests to go on a mission. He concluded the devotional with a blessing for the youth that they can have the best things in life and eternal life in the worlds to come, for dreams come true. He encouraged them to pray always.
Sister Holland addressed the Laurels with a theme of developing good self worth and learning that obedience brings happiness. She was particularly powerful in declaring to the youth that "God loves you right now, right here, exactly as you are. We must all repent and improve where necessary, but it is crucial to know that God does not 'wait' to love us."
She recounted many experiences she had with the youth during the Hollands' years in New Haven, noting how the gospel had changed young lives.
Many of the students commented that in response to Sister Holland's remarks they received an insightful perspective of the scriptures resulting in a greater desire to study, ponder and act upon their direction in their lives.
After the devotional, Travis Madore said, "Going on a mission is the right thing to do and he calmed my nerves about it."
Vanessa Tamariz commented, "This is the time in life we make the most decisions and we must be strong no matter how many mistakes we have made before."
Angie Bailey, a Laurel leader, stated, "Because Heavenly Father loves us so much, we can show our love for Him by living a life of obedience."