Kim Jenkins encourages BYU students to ‘bring light into your life’

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Kim Jenkins, the communications manager for the BYU College of Computational, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, urged students to find the light of Christ in times of darkness during her devotional address on Tuesday, June 25.  

Jenkins recalled a time during midterms of her freshman year at BYU when she had set herself up with a heavy workload. In one of her general education classes, her professor asked her and the hundreds of other students in her class to stand up and stay standing if they had at least two midterms that week, leaving most of the students in the room on their feet. He then asked for those with three midterms to remain standing — then four, five, finally reducing the number of students left standing to just her with her six midterms that week.

The professor, in what Jenkins supposed was an attempt to comfort the other students in the class, pointed to her and said, “See? No matter how bad your week is, her life is worse.”

Jenkins said she remembers feeling overwhelmed and intense pressure in that moment, and began to wonder if she was going to make it through her experience at BYU. 

“With prestige also comes the pressure and self-expectation that push us to be our very best,” Jenkins said. “In some situations, it can also cause us to doubt if we are enough.”

She posited that the healing light of Christ is what can help individuals to find purpose and meaning during these dark times of overwhelming stress and self-doubt. 

Kim Jenkins delivers her devotional address in the BYU Marriott Center on Tuesday, June 25. She discussed the importance of letting the light of Christ into one’s life. (Megan Sibley)

In order to find this light, according to Jenkins, one must be willing to work to find it, learn to recognize miracles in one’s life and serve others. 

Miracles often require work 

Jenkins alluded to the words of Elder M. Russel Ballard when she said one must do more than just pray. 

“Praying for justice, peace, the poor and the sick is often not enough,” Jenkins said, quoting Elder Ballard. “After we kneel in prayer, we need to get up from our knees and do what we can to help — to help both ourselves and others.” 

To illustrate her point, Jenkins told the story of a group of BYU physics students who were given the opportunity to run an acoustic experiment during the Artemis I launch by NASA — the biggest rocket to ever be sent into orbit. 

The experiment required the students to set up computers and recording equipment in 14 different sites within a 100-mile radius of the rocket’s takeoff site to measure the sounds coming from the rocket’s launch. However, because they were required to install the equipment 24 hours before the launch and their batteries only lasted them 12, they had to come up with an alternative power source.

They tried using solar panels and tested them with their equipment on the roof of the Eyring Science Center, confident because of their experience with these panels that this solution would work. Unfortunately, they found if even one cloud came between the sun’s rays and the solar panels for even a moment, the entire system would shut down and leave their equipment dead.  

The students and faculty involved in the project searched for another solution fervently with only four weeks between themselves and the launch, but they kept coming up empty. They began to wonder if such a small hangup would actually impact their experiment, as the launch site was in Florida, “the sunshine state,” and would likely have the sunny weather and clear skies needed to use the solar panels. 

“After weeks of testing everything they could,” Jenkins said, “the team found the miracle they’d been looking for, but it would require an immense amount of work.” 

The team worked through the night for weeks to rebuild the equipment’s power system from scratch, finally finishing within hours of the time when they needed to send the equipment to Florida. When the launch day came, their equipment made 100% perfect data collection in all 14 sites with a the sky full of clouds. 

Jenkins said the unusually cloudy days in Provo that alerted the team of a weakness in their experiment was, in itself, a miracle. 

“Sometimes the way we let light shine in our lives isn’t how we might have initially planned,” Jenkins said. “Often, the Lord requires us to take action.”

Recognizing miracles 

Jenkins said often miracles are not obvious, and individuals are often oblivious to the miracles Heavenly Father works because of the world’s distractions. 

She likened this experience to an individual’s usual state of being which allows one to filter out the sounds of bodily operations such as a heartbeat or stomach gurgling. However, once one steps into an anechoic chamber, which is designed to minimize echoes and noise pollution, all of these subtle sounds become loud as the ambient noise of the world is filtered out.

She urged audience members to pay attention to the miracles in their lives and eliminate the noise which prevents them from recognizing those miracles.

Finding oneself through service

Jenkins went on to share a very personal story where, after years of infertility, she finally became pregnant. However, she soon had a miscarriage and developed a condition that caused tumors to grow in her body. She had surgery to get them removed, but was ultimately still required to undergo chemotherapy. 

During Jenkins’ chemo treatment, she was supposed to go on a humanitarian trip to American Samoa to provide health clinics for children at risk for rheumatic heart disease. As a communications director, her role was to capture the meaning of the trip through interviews and photography, but also to assist the medical team and provide emotional support to the people they served as well. 

Her doctors initially advised against it, but after her insistence that she needed to go and “do some good in the world,” they cleared her for the trip. 

“Through serving, I finally received the perspective I needed to begin healing and stop feeling so lost,” Jenkins said. “It was a real testament to the Savior’s promise in Matthew 16:25: ‘whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.’” 

She closed her remarks by reminding audience members to look to God and to those who are struggling when feeling overwhelmed with the challenges of the world, and to bring the light of Jesus into their own lives. 

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