When doubts or challenges arise, don’t back up, Sister Craven tells BYU–Hawaii students

‘You are strong enough to hold firm and move forward, closer to Jesus Christ and His glorious promises,’ Sister Craven says during BYU–Hawaii devotional

Last summer, Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, attended a Young Women camp on Catalina Island off the coast of California. 

A chartered ferry transported Sister Craven and a 150 young women and their leaders across the channel to a pier on a small beach where they would camp. 

As the ferry got closer, a thick rope was used to pull the boat toward the pier. Suddenly, however, the rope snapped. For some reason the ferry had backed up, and the pressure had caused the rope to break.

With no way to dock, they were ferried to the main harbor 45 minutes away. They found a small pontoon boat that could carry 20 girls at a time to the camp, a round trip that took roughly two hours. 

Finally, after 10 p.m., all the girls had been ferried to the camp, with supplies and gear arriving late into the night.

They had lost a day of activities but found a valuable lesson, Sister Craven told BYU–Hawaii students during a devotional on Tuesday, May 9. “Don’t back up.”

Sister Rebecca L. Craven of the Young Women general presidency speaks during a campus devotional at BYU–Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii, on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. | Monique Saenz, BYU–Hawaii

Each day, individuals strive to push forward. Sometimes they might feel like they are making progress and have a clear view of the landing. “There may be times, however, when difficulties, doubts, questions, fears or other challenges cause us to stall, back up or even back out, leaving us to flounder in a sea of confusion and unfamiliar paths. My dear young friends, you are enough, you know enough, you are strong enough to hold firm and move forward, closer to Jesus Christ and His glorious promises,” Sister Craven said.

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Trust in the Lord

Sister Craven spoke of a 14-year-old young woman named Preslee who, because of cerebral palsy, has difficulty walking. 

In a video, Preslee shared her testimony and how she tries to show trust in the Lord. “I love how Preslee boldly testifies that even with the uncertainty of her future, she has nothing to worry about,” Sister Craven said. “She has not quit. She has not backed up. She continues to move forward in her faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement by placing her trust in Him.”

Everyone faces an uncertain future. Challenges will arise. Doubts may surface. Anxieties may persist. Worldly temptations might seem appealing. “But we, like Preslee, can find direction, courage, stability, power, peace, and joy when we place our trust in the Lord,” Sister Craven promised.

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In the Grand Council in Heaven, Sister Craven told listeners, they all chose to follow Jesus Christ and trust He would do exactly what He said He would do — provide a way back to the presence of God. “We trusted Him then, and we must trust Him now.”

In her testimony, Preslee shared Proverbs 3:5-6, last year’s youth theme: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding, In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

“‘Leaning not unto our own understanding,’ or the world’s understanding, means leaning into or unto the Lord,” Sister Craven explained. “It means allowing Him to prevail in our lives, even when we are unsure of some things. Leaning unto the Lord is an act of humility and an acknowledgement that He knows us better than we know ourselves.”

Sister Rebecca L. Craven of the Young Women general presidency and her husband, Brother Ronald Craven, pose for a photo with BYU–Hawaii President John S.K. Kauwe III and his wife, Monica Mortenson Kauwe, following a campus devotional in Laie, Hawaii, on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. | Monique Saenz, BYU–Hawaii

Spiritual guides

With so many new and diverse ways of gathering information, individuals must be on guard to not fall prey to the false information traps set by the adversary. “He packs the world with counterfeit messages, hoping that our choices follow the misguided philosophies of men. He has only one ambition ― to lead us away from righteousness,” Sister Craven said.

There is a reason the Lord, through the Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, is pleading for individuals to know His voice, what the Spirit feels and sounds like, and how to seek and act upon personal revelation.

“With the Holy Ghost as our constant companion, we can be protected from distraction and deceit. We can know the truth of all things necessary for our salvation. We will not stall, nor will we back up. We will move forward, trusting in the Lord,” Sister Craven promised.

The Lord also provides other guides to help travelers on their journey back to Him, such as commandments and the voice of His prophets.

“I have a love for and a testimony of the Lord’s living prophets,” Sister Craven said. “I have sat in council with many of them during the past five years. They are good men who love the Lord and love each of us. I know they hear the voice of the Lord. I do not pretend to know the exact ways this occurs. But this I do know with surety ― they hear His voice, and they are quick to respond to the direction they are given. I feel a great sense of confidence and security in following them as they follow the counsel of the Lord.”

Latter-day Saints can step out of the muddle and uncertainty of the world into a place of safety and assurance as they follow prophetic counsel, Sister Craven testified.

Sister Rebecca L. Craven of the Young Women general presidency interacts with a BYU–Hawaii student following a campus devotional in Laie, Hawaii, on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. | Camille Jovenes, BYU–Hawaii

To those who have strayed from the path or backed up, Sister Craven quoted President Nelson who said: “If you have stepped off the path, may I invite you, with all the hope in my heart, to please come back. Whatever your concerns, whatever your challenges, there is a place for you in this, the Lord’s Church.”

All make mistakes and need to repent, Sister Craven noted. “We cannot be perfect in mortality, but we can be headed in that direction. We can seek to improve each day, showing the Lord our effort to become a little better and more like Him.”

Sister Craven told students that they are part of a special generation. “We know, as a generalization, that you want to be part of the decisions, the discussion and part of the solution. You want to make a difference. These great attributes are needed in the Lord’s growing Church. You are needed.”

As challenges or doubts arise, “don’t back up,” Sister Craven declared. “Please stay the course. Keep moving forward, trusting in the Lord as you work to find answers.”

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