College or Mission? Colin Knew He Couldn’t Afford Both
On the surface, Colin Haueter is your stereotypical BYU-Idaho student: a returned missionary with a big smile, a healthy sense of humor, and a strong testimony. If you don’t know him well, you might think that’s who he’s always been. But Colin will be the first to tell you that if it weren’t for his experience at BYU-Idaho, you’d be looking at a totally different person.
Colin was growing up on a farm near Boise when his father took a job as a nighttime driver for a delivery company. Without his dad at home, Colin filled his spare time with video games and friends.
“When I wasn’t at home, I just followed the crowd,” he admits. “I became completely disengaged from gospel principles - I was a bit of a wild child.”
When Colin graduated from high school, he saw BYU-Idaho as an opportunity to get away from home. Yet when Colin arrived in his new ward, his bishop saw potential.
“The bishop called me in on my first Sunday and called me to be his executive secretary,” Colin remembers. “He helped me feel needed, and he started teaching me. He’d ask me, ‘What did you do today?’ and I’d say, ‘Homework and video games.’ Then he’d say, ‘Don’t you feel like you could do something better with your time?’”
Bishop Smith tutored him in the doctrines and principles of the gospel. He gave him assignments and helped him study the scriptures more intensively. He helped him understand how repentance and faith could mold his character.
“He taught me that repentance isn’t just a change of behavior,” Colin says. “It’s a change of attitudes and desires. It’s recognizing our potential and wanting to be like Jesus Christ. And once I started wanting to change my life, I made a decision to serve a mission. Bishop Smith helped me start my mission papers, and he even went to the temple with me.”
There was just one problem: Colin, who’d saved dimes and quarters as an eight-year-old, had long since stopped saving for a mission. When he finally submitted his papers, he had the money for college or a mission, but not both.
The Windows of Heaven
Colin received his call, and three months later he was in New Mexico with a black name tag on his suit coat. As he shared the good news of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Colin saw the miracle of conversion, which only further solidified his faith.
Yet as the end of his mission loomed closer, Colin started thinking about his future. An old family friend had pitched in to help pay for his mission, but there wouldn’t be much left in the bank account when Colin finished.
“I prayed and asked if I needed to go to college, and the answer was yes,” he remembers. “Then I asked how, because I just didn’t have the means to do it. I didn’t get a clear answer. But I felt that I just needed to work hard.”
So when he arrived home, that’s exactly what he did. Within three days, he found a job and started saving his money. By the time the semester started, he’d saved a lot, but not enough to cover his expenses.
“I applied for a scholarship and received $500, so I had just enough for tuition and housing,” he says. “I came back to the same job I had, and if I can get all A’s this semester, I’ll qualify for an academic scholarship and get full tuition.”
Looking back, Colin points to Bishop Smith’s willingness to believe in him as the impetus for all of the good things that have happened since. “I was one of those who’d been raised in the Church and could give the Sunday School answers,” Colin says. “But my bishop took me under his wing and helped me really understand.”
Colin knows there are many more ways his BYU-Idaho experience can shape his life and character. And thanks to his hard work and the generosity of others, he now knows he can see that experience through to its end.