President and Sister Kusch teach humility and representing Jesus Christ at Ensign College devotional

‘There is a great connection between a willingness to be obedient and opening the windows of heaven in your behalf,’ says Sister Alynda Kusch

In Ensign College’s first devotional of the fall 2023 semester, President Bruce C. Kusch and Sister Alynda Kusch related several stories — each from different circumstances but sharing several things in common.

Each story is more than just the surface-level problem at hand, explained President Kusch. Each story underscored humility and obedience — with the Ensign College leaders inviting students to apply the principles taught, including in following the college’s the honor code and dress and grooming standards.

Representing Jesus Christ

Beginning with a story from his mission service, President Kusch described one of his companions — Elder Jorge Arturo Solano, from San Jose, Costa Rica — as “a great teacher of the gospel.”

One particular situation with his companion taught President Kusch a valuable experience that not only changed his mission but also his life.

President Bruce C. Kusch gives the first Ensign College devotional address of the 2023 fall semester on campus.
Ensign College President Bruce C. Kusch gives the first devotional address of the fall semester at Ensign College in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 12, 2023. | Camila Caraveo, Ensign College

While both missionaries were preparing to go on a hike with their district, then-Elder Kusch dressed in hiking clothes while Elder Solano dressed in his missionary clothes.

They both explained their reasoning behind why they chose what to wear, but Elder Solano was unmoving about the importance of them wearing their missionary attire.

“I was at first neither humble nor obedient,” he said. “I lacked understanding. And initially, I was not meek or teachable.” 

Elder Solano then asked a “powerful, inspired question,” President Kusch said. “Elder Kusch, don’t you want to look like a representative and servant of Jesus Christ?”

With emotion, President Kusch then said, “I will never forget Elder Jorge Solano; and this one experience is forever etched deeply within my soul.” He added that he became a better missionary as a result of what he learned from his companion.

The college president quickly followed his mission story with an experience he had with Elder David A. Bednar during a family home evening.

When asked for advice about preparing for and serving a mission, Elder Bednar began by explaining the importance of becoming a missionary “long before entering the MTC,” President Kusch explained. 

Connecting to heaven through humility

Unable to attend due to a temporary medical situation, Sister Alynda Kusch provided her remarks through a pre-recorded message.

Sister Kusch spoke about a time when she and President Kusch served as mission leaders. She described an experience with a missionary who was reluctant to study English — the assigned language of his mission.

Sister Alynda Kusch of Ensign College, gives a devotional address on Sept. 12, 2023.
Sister Alynda Kusch of Ensign College, speaks during a devotional on Sept. 12, 2023. | Camila Caraveo, Ensign College

“They were not in trouble with me,” she said of this missionary and others. “But I was so disappointed because I knew from my own experience that their decision to not even try to follow was costing them spiritual knowledge and heavenly help.”

After speaking with and listening to the missionary, six weeks later, he came back to Sister Kusch with a changed heart. “My reluctant missionary, with a tear running down his face … could see the connection between an obedient attitude and receiving help from heaven.”

Part of the in honor code is being clean-shaven and wearing appropriate clothing to class. “These are outward symbols of an inward desire to do all that you can to feel the influence of the Holy Ghost in all areas of your life,” said Sister Kusch.

Students at Ensign college after President and Sister Kusch’s address, Sept. 12, 2023.
Students walk on the campus of Ensign College in Salt Lake City on Sept. 12, 2023. | Camila Caraveo, Ensign College

Sister Kusch promised, “There is a great connection between a willingness to be obedient and opening the windows of heaven on your behalf.”

Sharing a quote on a slide from President Russell M. Nelson, she read, “As you choose to let God prevail in your lives, you will experience for yourselves that our God is ‘a God of miracles’.”

Sister Kusch said that this was the difference for her reluctant missionary. When he was willing to try, he found “new connections to the help the Lord will give.” 

Sister Alynda Kusch gives remarks during Ensign College devotional, Sept. 12, 2023.
Sister Alynda Kusch gives remarks during an Ensign College devotional in Salt Lake City on Sept. 12, 2023. | Camila Caraveo, Ensign College

She added, “This is the difference between Ensign College students who are willing to live according to the honor code and dress and grooming standards, and in the process qualify themselves for the miracles President Nelson promised — and those who will not.”

Concluding, Sister Kusch said, “So my friends, give this a try. Show the Lord that you are willing to find Him by living what you have promised. 

“What do you have to lose in giving the Lord a chance to help and bless you? Nothing. But you have everything to gain.”

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