BY BRAD OLSEN
"THAT'S A COOL NAME," I told Sasa Zibe. He thanked me. We then talked about his journey to Brigham Young University-Hawaii. He told me of his conversion and faith, of his education, and of the opportunities that await him after graduation.
Sasa said, "My dad [also Sasa Zibe, PNG’s minister of health] was always into education. 'Whatever [educational opportunity] you can get, go for it,' he'd say."
It has been said that education opens doors. For Sasa, education was his door to church membership. When a relative introduced the Zibe family to the church and its emphasis on education, they recognized a rare opportunity.
But Sasa was the only member of his family to join the church. He went on to graduate from the church's Liahona High School in Tonga, to serve a full-time mission in PNG and to enroll at BYU-Hawaii. He has been in Laie for three-and-a-half years and will graduate this April.
“I've learned a lot about the church organisation since being here,” Sasa told me. “I've learned how to look after the church, how to be an organised leader and why home teaching is important. I'm excited to go back and help build the church.”
Already Sasa has three job opportunities in PNG. “I've juggled work, school and church, and when I go back home, I'll do the same.”
Many people in PNG have an annual income that is less than one month's rent in the United States. If it were not for the donor-supported I-WORK program, a BYU-Hawaii education would be unobtainable for many of the university's international students.
“I'm just grateful that I got an education, Sasa said. “And I will always owe a lot to those who made a difference for me by paying for my education for the past three-and-a-half years.”
Source: Mormon Times. Brad Olsen is one of four bloggers for “Of One Heart,” which appears in MormonTimes.com each Wednesday. Email: email@example.com