Liahona’s parents were both converts to the Church. Their families had rejected them when they got baptized, but the two had served missions and loved them. When Liahona’s mother met her father, she asked how she could know if he would ever leave the Church. He said humbly, “The gospel is all I have. I have nothing else.” Their devotion shaped family life over the years.
Liahona eventually came to the United States to serve a mission in Temple Square. Two times, she became sick and was sent home to recover. She felt like a failure, like “the worst person ever.” After much prayer, Liahona realized she needed to learn from her situation and heal.
“I was able to see that I had done my best,” she said. “If you truly ask God, He will let you know He loves you. It doesn’t matter how long you served or why you came home early. You just keep going, and you don’t give up.”
When Liahona returned home, her parents encouraged her to apply to BYU. Liahona applied, but she was not accepted. She applied to BYU–Idaho and was turned down. Next, she applied to BYU–Hawaii. Still no luck.
“I became aware of the online courses offered by LDS Business College,” she said. “I thought, ‘I don’t want to do business.’ Upon further research I found the school provided a medical assistant degree. That was perfect for my interests. I applied, and I wasn’t accepted!”
Discouraged, Liahona came to Utah on a student visa for three months to learn English. Her brother had been accepted at LDSBC for that semester, so the two of them came to the campus to look around. While there, they ran into someone they knew who worked at the school. “He was there at the exact moment I needed him,” said Liahona. “He helped me get accepted to the College.”
Her next challenge was finances. Liahona had difficulty finding a job to earn money. Much to her surprise, a family she had met in the temple while receiving her endowments emailed her in France and said, “We don’t know what you are planning, but if you would like to come and study here in Utah, we would love to have you live with us.”
“The email was an answer I needed,” said Liahona. “There was nothing I wanted to study in France, and I didn’t know what to expect from my life there. I said yes to their offer. I found a job, was able to save some money, and my parents helped me get a ticket and a visa. I left France not knowing what I was going to do, but I just felt my decision was right and it worked out.”
When Liahona arrived in Salt Lake City and stepped onto campus, she was reminded again of how totally different it was from school in France. “I thought, ‘Whoa, I’ve never attended a school like this,’ ” she said. “It’s clean, people say hi that don’t even know you, and there’s a spirit that makes you feel at home.” She had heard the College was dedicated as a temple of learning, and Liahona felt that on campus. Teachers taught by the Spirit and referred to the scriptures, and she could see and feel the difference.
Another big plus was the instant rapport she felt with students and faculty. “As a Latter-day Saint, I was not judged by others,” she said. “They actually understood where I came from. They were friendly and accepted me. While I was growing up, I was never popular in school and my only friends were my family. I just wanted to meet people I could hang out with, people who would understand me. I was actually praying for that.”
Today, Liahona is enjoying her chosen path to become a medical assistant. “When I got sick during my mission, I realized how much I wanted to help people heal and feel better,” she said. “Right now I can do that by sharing my story. Soon I will be able to do that as a medical assistant. Someday I would like to be a doctor specializing in women’s health. For now, I can step into this world without jumping into a super-long commitment. My training is a lot of work, but I love it!”