Today started off with the team walk-through at Bishop Gorman High School. It lasted for about half an hour. Afterwards, Duff Tittle, Mark Philbrick and I jumped in the van and waited for coach Mendenhall, Max Hall and David Nixon to change into their suits and ties before heading off to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the Las Vegas Bowl press conference. As soon as we reached the convention center we rushed upstairs to the press conference where the media was awaiting our arrival. Coach and the players were joined by Arizona head coach Bob Stoops, receiver Mike Thomas and linebacker Ronnie Palmer.
An hour later the rest of the team arrived for the traditional bowl luncheon. Holly Rowe hosted the event while former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann was the keynote speaker. Before the luncheon began, Duff and I were busy finding BYU players who speak foreign languages for ESPN who is putting together a short package for the bowl game about the 84 return missionaries on our team and the high number of them who speak other languages. The players were asked to share a holiday message in their chosen language. We had representatives who spoke Mandarin Chinese, Samoan, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Hawaiian.
Following the luncheon we all returned to the hotel to relax before the fireside at 7 p.m.
Walk-on defensive lineman Steven Fisher and running back Wayne Latu were the players who spoke at the fireside. Fisher started his talk by sharing the scripture Matthew 7:12, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."
"Christ always treated everyone with kindness," shared Fisher. "He spent his time seeking out the one and serving others despite being ridiculed and mocked by others. He truly was the perfect example of kindness."
He shared several examples of when others in his life showed kindness, including a friend he had in the fourth grade and his father.
"Because of my father's kindness I am a totally different man than I would have been otherwise," said Fisher.
Before he gave his talk, Latu joined Harvey Unga, Travis Uale and Michael Alisa to perform an a capella musical number, "Sweet Spirit".
Latu's message focused on the three ways we can become a living testimony of the Savior. First, we cannot represent Christ if we don't know him.
"We need to take an active part in making the Gospel a reality for us," he said.
Secondly, we must put the Lord first. Latu shared a recent personal experience when he and his wife had their second child back in August. Birth complications forced their daughter, Kina, to remain in the hospital for several weeks. Together with his wife, they spent many sleepless nights at their daughter's bedside.
"We love those of whom we serve, those we sacrifice for the most," said Latu. "That same principle is true with our relationship with the Lord. We love the Lord most when we put him first in our lives and sacrifice for him."
Lastly, Latu said we must forget ourselves and go forth and serve. After we apply these three principles, we can truly become living testimonies of the Savior.