“Coming Home,” Ensign, Jan. 2009, 57
I was living away from home for the first time when my parents separated. It was only my first month of college, and as my family life shifted, I struggled to understand the meaning of the word home. When my parents divorced and my family moved out of the home I had lived in for the last 18 years, I was especially confused. I knew I wasn’t homeless, but I certainly felt that way.
I have often heard the Church described as a “refuge from the storm” (D&C 115:6). Institute became that refuge for me as I battled this new storm in my life. I enrolled in institute, and while I don’t recall the exact words spoken in the lessons, I will never forget the feelings of peace and comfort that came to me as I listened. I began to discover the love my Heavenly Father has for me, and I became much more closely acquainted with the best counselor I have ever found: Jesus Christ.
I have to pay for my college education, yet I learn the most valuable lessons from institute classes, which are available to me for free. I see now that the definition of home isn’t necessarily the house in which you grow up but a place where life’s lessons are taught and love abounds. Because of what I learned and the Spirit I felt, institute has become a new home for me. It is wonderful having a place where I feel loved and welcome.