I was gazing into her beautiful blue eyes when she asked me while we were on our way to Cumorah Academy: Tell me Julie, what do you think, why our Heavenly Father chose you and sent you here to the Cumorah Academy? I still think about this question!
My First Encounter with Jean Bingham
It was easy for me to feel their light, gentleness, and acceptance, the way Sister Bingham was talking with me made me feel loved and comprehended. I was amazed at how kind she was to me without knowing who I was or where I came from nor even that I was only an 18-year-old student. Her genuine, unwavering kindness inspired me to continue showing love to those around me despite our differences!
This experience and this short time with our lovely mentor reminded me to act just like the Savior did with everyone He encountered.
There was a lovely welcome prepared for them by all of the students. Sabrina, Abish, and Sarah, three of our wonderful students, were overjoyed when they heard that the Binghams would come to the Academy. So they were chosen to give the mentors a tour of the campus. The girls said that it was a pleasure for them to share the experiences they had so far at Cumorah. Thus, the mentors became eager to share their knowledge and life experiences with us during their Sunday devotional.
The Binghams’ Sunday Devotional
The Binghams’ Sunday devotional was different and memorable. There weren’t any slides or presentations. The mentors welcomed questions and were eager to have conversations with the students in order to get to know them better. The mentos paid close attention to each student and made them feel as if they were all part of their family too.
We all learned something significant at the end of the Sunday night devotional: “We acquired wisdom on how to care for love, and share the light of Christ with those around”. The Brighams made significant contributions to our Cumorah mission. They encouraged young adults to embrace love, hope, and acceptance not only toward others but also toward themselves as well.
The Classes with Jean and Bruce Bingham
On Monday we were all excited about leadership and business classes with them. In our first leadership classes, we were all divided into small groups. Each group had to imagine that we were all on an island, and we had to figure out how we could survive. This great activity taught us how to be flexible during hard times and work well in a team where there are many different ideas and perspectives.
The business classes were centered on how to deal with crises on a daily basis in the business field. After sharing a real crisis situation, they asked us how we would have reacted in that situation. The lesson broadened our perspectives and gave us a closer picture of the business reality.
Pedro, one of our Brazilian students, said: “I felt gratitude to the Lord because I got to meet the mentor of this week. Every time Jean Bingham started to talk about our prophet Russell M. Nelson, her face literally shined. She bore her testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ as much as she could during her time at Cumorah Academy. We were amazed at how much they loved and respect each other. “
Also, he asked our mentors during his one-on-one meeting with them to give them advice on how he could improve his CV. As they were giving him their point of view, he started to see things in a different way his future and potential. He added: “I like and admire that they live what they say, they live the restored Gospel. They truly are followers of Jesus Christ, true disciples.”
The Girls Night
During their stay at Cumorah Academy, sister Bingham was invited to join the girls’ night, in which many topics were touched such as education, marriage, family, children, career, how to make choices, and how to overcome challenges. That night we also discussed abusive behaviors towards women, and how we could protect ourselves and help and support other women.
When it was time to say goodbye to them I thought: “ Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” These precious moments with the Binghams will always stay in my heart, mind, and soul. All of us are so grateful for the opportunity we had to meet them.