BUENA VISTA, VA.
Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, told Southern Virginia University students that they are living real life now — even if they think that real life begins after college, missions or marriage.
"I have a secret for you," Sister Beck told a capacity crowd in the Stoddard Activities Center at an SVU devotional on Friday, April 16. "You've been living (your life) all along. And the experiences you are having are part of your life's adventure. The older you get, the more you understand that those experiences are your life. And they have made you who you are."
She said she learned this lesson from her father, who told her that when he was young he thought his life would begin after serving a mission, but after his mission he joined the military. Following his military service during World War II, he thought his adventure would begin, but then he attended college on the G.I. Bill. When he was about to graduate from college, he realized he could never replicate the adventures he had already had — he had been living his life all along.
Sister Beck's father, emeritus General Authority Elder William Grant Bangerter, passed away at the age of 91 on Sunday, April 18.
In the preceding week, knowing that his health was rapidly declining, he had asked her, "What is your mission? What were you born to do?"
As if in answer to that question, Sister Beck made the long-planned trip to Virginia, knowing that her father likely would pass away while she was gone.
In addition to speaking at Southern Virginia University, she also conducted leadership training with priesthood and Relief Society leaders from the Buena Vista, Roanoke and Waynesboro stakes, and spoke at a women's conference for sisters from the stakes.
"Each of you has a mission that the Lord has sent you to the earth to fulfill," Sister Beck told students at the devotional. "And if you are sensitive to the Spirit and watchful of the direction He has given you, you won't go wrong."
She said that the size of Southern Virginia University reminded her of her time as a student at Dixie College in St. George, Utah. She broke away from her shy high school days and learned to play tennis, sang solos in a choir, was elected and served as a student body officer and was a gospel doctrine teacher in her ward. She said it was during her college experience that she began to gain confidence in her abilities.
Sister Beck reminded students of this unique and wonderful season that would be a base for the rest of their lives. She encouraged each to try to find his or her purpose in life.
"That's why you're here. That's why people are investing in you and your future, not so you can go be rich and famous and selfish. Our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ have said that their gospel would be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. And who is going to do that? You are."