By Benjamin Carter
The International Students Club saw a preview of a new movie promoting the Perpetual Education Fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Thursday in the Varsity Theater.
Rex Allen, a member of the PEF Executive Board, spoke to the club about the importance of the PEF. He showed the first five minutes of the film, which includes excerpts from President Gordon B. Hinckley”s March 31, 2001, talk that introduced the program. President Hinckley described the impoverished conditions many returning missionaries live in when they return home.
“God has decided, brothers and sisters, that that”s no longer acceptable,” Allen said, comparing those conditions with the wealth of American missionaries.
The movie has not yet been approved for release by the church, and Allen said he does not know when it will happen. However, he said after the film is approved it will likely be shown between sessions of general conference.
Allen also discussed the progress made within the fund. He said 13,000 to 14,000 loans have been given. Most of them have been distributed to people living in Central and South America. The next phase of the program will take the fund to West Africa, India and Asia.
“It”s a big world,” Allen said. “It”s tough to try and reach out and start helping those people, but with the areas we”re in now we”re covering over 88 percent of all the young single adults in the church outside the U.S. and Canada.”
Allen told the audience their role in helping the PEF is mainly to keep in contact with returned missionaries they know, and encourage them to be faithful and to be patient if they cannot yet get a PEF loan. He also said students can contribute to the fund as much as they are able.
The lecture ended with pictures and stories of people who have received PEF loans and have been able to improve their lives as a result.
After the lecture, Adam Wride, a student who attended the lecture, told the audience he is trying to start a club at BYU that would participate in activities related to the PEF.
“What we”re also really interested in doing is advocating within the BYU community teaching people about (the PEF), and helping people develop right now a tradition of giving,” said Aaron Cummings, who is also involved in starting the club.