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Maikia Xiong Looks Outward to Lift and Bless Others

January 2014

After joining the Church in 2008, Maikia Xiong sank one year later to a low spiritual point. “I became inactive due to family issues and a job that required me to work on Sundays,” she said. “It took a month to realize how much I needed the gospel in my life.”

She quit her job and focused on becoming active again. Maikia told her visiting teachers and home teachers that she was debating where to attend college in Colorado. “They asked if I had ever considered applying to BYU or BYU-Idaho,” she said. “I said no. As a convert, I thought you had to be born into the Church or qualify in other ways I could not.”

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Much to her surprise, she was told that was not the case. After exploring options, she found herself drawn to BYU-Idaho. “I liked that the classes were smaller and not the auditorium-sized classes I might find at BYU,” she said. “I was told that the Spirit was extra strong there and each class was opened with a prayer. While the university might not offer as many majors as BYU, it still had more than other colleges offered.”

After spending a lot of time on her knees in prayer, Maikia asked her non-member parents if she could attend BYU-Idaho. “I was raised with traditional Hmong values,” she said, “and they included living with my parents until I was married. My parents hesitantly agreed as they had always encouraged me to get a higher education.”

Once Maikia had applied for BYU-Idaho and been accepted, the next hurdle was how to finance her education. Her parents could only help a little, and her savings were limited. She applied for scholarships and received enough to help cover some of her tuition costs. “The scholarships blessed me greatly,” Maikia said. “They testified to me that the Lord does provide when you have faith in him.”

Attending BYU-Idaho turned out to be an education in not only her major but herself. She said, “At first, I had the mindset of ‘What can the university, students and professors do for me?’ I felt inadequate. A bishop reminded me of my potential and the need to look outward and upward.” Soon Maikia was actively participating in class and happily connecting with classmates and professors.

“I was able to incorporate the Spirit into my studies in both secular and religious learning,” said Maikia. “I slowly began to understand my purpose as a student here, which is to become a true disciple of Christ and to prepare myself for the future and for God’s plan for me. I also developed a desire to help serve, uplift, and encourage others to recognize these things, too.”

The Health Science major hopes to someday be a resource for the Hmong community. “With my emphasis in Community Worksite and Wellness and a minor in Medical Assisting, I am gaining the medical knowledge I need,” she said. “I hope to educate people on the importance of health and wellness so they can live longer and healthier lives.”

Maikia would like to change the world by giving back to it. “Knowledge is power,” she said. “If I can help educate others - especially those in unfortunate circumstances - on how to change their lives and be healthier and happier, that would be a wonderful thing.”

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