When Franz Arabia was nine years old his parents separated, and his father left. Franz’s mother struggled with depression, and Franz faced bullying at school. As he faced these challenges, he stopped participating in Church meetings and activities. However, his friends from Primary treated him with love and kindness, and they took Franz with them to seminary.
“I remember those precious days when I attended my seminary class and read the scriptures,” Franz said. “It brought back my eagerness and the feeling of joy to be active again in the Church.”
As Franz returned to Church, he became involved with the Church’s humanitarian efforts and eventually served a full-time mission. Now 25, Franz remembers and pays forward the kindness shown to him when he was young by blessing the lives of youth and others in his community. He has been involved in Self-Reliance Services initiatives since they launched in the Philippines in 2014—when he was 18. He served as a Self-Reliance Services specialist and class facilitator.
Franz’s life is centered on service and helping those around him to succeed. Though he had a difficult childhood, he has worked hard to become self-sufficient, which in turn has enabled him to help others on their journeys to self-reliance. He took principles he learned in the Self-Reliance Services “Starting and Growing My Business” course and launched a program that helps young entrepreneurs with free business coaching and seminars. When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world in 2020, Franz led adjustments to offer the program online.
“As I continue to step forward with faith in Christ, I find more joy in serving my fellow youth, both in and out of the Church,” he said. “Serving others took away the pains and remorse that I felt when my father left my mother and me.”
Besides helping with self-reliance initiatives, he has served as a counselor in his ward’s Young Men presidency, helped his community fight against illegal drugs, and participated in initiatives that offer food to those in need. Franz knows that as we work hard and trust in God, we will be blessed.
“I have witnessed, on many occasions, that this world is filled with joy and sorrow. … With God as our foundation, we can overcome everything,” he said.