“The Lord loves you and is counting on you to bring His light to everyone with whom you interact,” said Brother Milton da Rocha Camargo, first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, in a Tuesday, Feb. 28, devotional at Brigham Young University–Hawaii. “The Lord also expects you to bear testimony of His sacred mission on this earth.”
But Brother Camargo added a disclaimer for the congregation of college students preparing for midterms: “You may be thinking right now: ... ‘We’re busy studying to acquire knowledge. We have exams and research papers to worry about.’”
How can students both seek after education and bear testimony of the Savior? It’s because gaining education and serving God are intertwined, he said.
“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 we will have to overcome.”
Brother Camargo addressed students and faculty in a devotional on the Laie, Hawaii, campus, with his message centered around how gaining education can help students fulfill their earthly mission of bringing the Lord’s light to the world.
The purpose of education
“The Lord does not see education as separate and distinct from spirituality,” Brother Camargo said.
Doctrine and Covenants 88:78 encourages the reader to learn “all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God.” But this charge, according to Brother Camargo, expands deeper than gospel topics.
What pertains “unto the kingdom of God”? Brother Camargo pointed to verse 79: “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.”
This includes learning about heaven, from aviation to the planet’s atmosphere. It includes learning about earth, from agriculture to marine biology. It includes study of the past, present and future, from history to political science to financial projections. In short, learning about the kingdom of God could mean striving to learn what we can while here on earth.
“And why does He want us to learn all this?” asked Brother Camargo. “It is 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.”
He said God wants His children to become educated so that they can fulfill the mission He commissioned them to fulfill.
The mission after education
What’s that mission? It’s not a full-time mission, said Brother Camargo, but something much greater.
“If you served a full-time mission,” he said, “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.”
Brother Camargo said this God-given mission has three parts to it: “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.”
Learning about the past, present and future through education, said Brother Camargo, reveals the consequences of both obeying and disobeying God’s commandments throughout all of human history.
“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.”
Overcoming the world
But there’s an added difficulty to serving the people of the world: The challenge of living in the world. Brother Camargo said, “It is 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.”
To explain how to overcome this complicated world, Brother Camargo highlighted President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation for Saints to “overcome the world,” a plea from October 2022 general conference.
“What does it mean to overcome the world?” asked President Nelson last October. “It means overcoming the temptation to care more about the things of this world than the things of God.”
Although it won’t be easy, turning to God and “overcoming the world” will bring many more blessings than His children could find on their own.
“Deeper joy,” said Brother Camargo. “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. ... Honestly, does the world have anything that compares to what the Lord offers you?”
The world, he said, needs to know about these blessings, which are offered to those who follow Christ.
The Savior’s role in the Saints’ mission
So, a student’s mission is not only to gain an education but to use it to bless others. And while there are struggles, students have the Savior’s help.
“I have complete confidence that you and I can accomplish this mission,” said Brother Camargo, “because Jesus Christ 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.”
According to Brother Camargo, the Savior’s mission “prepared the way for us to fulfill our purpose in life” by solving four problems no mortal could overcome: Physical death, trials, spiritual death and imperfect nature.
“Make it known ... even unto the end of the world,” said Brother Camargo. “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.”