In his first address of 2023 to students of BYU–Idaho, university President Henry J. Eyring, spoke about the need to both nurture and be nurtured.
He began his message on Tuesday, Jan. 10, with the unconventional request that attendees join him in singing the Primary song “‘Give,’ Said the Little Stream.” Without a second of hesitation, the audience joined him in singing the first verse and chorus.
“Give,” said the little stream, “Give, oh! give, give, oh! give.”
“Give,” said the little stream, As it hurried down the hill;
“I’m small, I know, but wherever I go, The [grass] grows greener still.
Singing, singing all the day, “Give away, oh! give away,”
Singing, singing all the day, “Give, oh! give away.”
In his prepared remarks, President Eyring drew a comparison between the giving and nurturing done by a stream to plants and wildlife to the nurturing done at the university.
“At BYU–Idaho and online, the rivers of spiritual and temporal knowledge never cease to flow. And no student is left to flounder. Even as we focus on our studies and develop capabilities to lift ourselves and others, we can be nurturers.”
Sister Kelly Eyring, wife of President Henry J. Eyring, shared her own wish that she could nurture each student by sitting “with each of you over a cup of hot cocoa” to hear about their holiday break.
She testified of the Savior’s ability to nurture in a way only He can.
“Jesus is the answer to all of our questions, concerns, and the source of all that you and I really want,” she said.
She also promised students that they would feel the Savior’s love for them if they “are seeking and listening.”
Sister Eyring spoke before President Eyring and encouraged the school’s student body to find voices they could trust.
She said BYU–Idaho is “a great place to be able to be guided by the right voices.”
She reminded students that Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at the university’s graduation in April 2022. There he quoted Doctrine and Covenants 84:47, promising enlightenment to everyone “that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.”
Examples of nurturing
Having spent a lot of time on the school’s campus as a young man, President Eyring shared his memories of being on campus each day for lunch with his father, President Henry B. Eyring, now second counselor in the First Presidency, who was president of then-Ricks College from 1971 to 1977.
While some aspects of the school itself had changed between that time and his return to Rexburg in 2006, President Henry J. Eyring said the spirit of the university remained the same.
“Professors and other university leaders seemed to me like mission leaders, caring for the students and other employees with the same reverence and guiding hand of a mission president and his companion.
“And the students had a missionary quality, not just in the classroom but also on the campus at large,” he said.
He then invited Mattie Thomas, a student, and Bob Morley, a department of management faculty member, to share nurturing experiences they had at BYU–Idaho.
Thomas shared that she had been blessed by the love of others and had opportunities to serve and love others, as well, during her time as a student.
“May we show the Lord, through our dedicated efforts, that He may always rely on us to do His will and nurture as He does,” she said.
Morley shared the story of a bird that prevented him from acting in anger at a situation he sought to resolve. The time in which he paused because of the bird’s persistence allowed him to see the target of his anger in a more Christlike way.
After taking a few moments to study his scriptures, Morley said, “I felt humbled and moved to abandon my initial anger.”
He returned to the individual with whom he needed to speak and created what would become a long-term friendship that resulted in both individuals being nurtured.
Returning to the pulpit, President Eyring shared the story of the Widow of Nain from Luke 7.
“The faith, humility and nurturing of this one woman allowed our Savior Jesus Christ to work miracles and strengthen the Church,” he said.
President Eyring concluded by sharing that the Savior will help in each effort to nurture another person or group of people. And those moments of nurturing can lead to miracles.
“In going about doing good, you and I can be assured that we are in the Lord’s work. He will guide and strengthen us. We will have the capacity to work miracles in our own lives and in the lives of others.”