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With God, All Things Are Possible: The Power of Education, Culture, Music, and the Gospel

Angelica Maria “Mia” Malit-Cruz, a BYUH graduate from Quezon City, Philippines, with a bachelor’s degree in music and an emphasis on vocal performance, shares how her learnings broke the barriers of music within cultures. Now interning on campus as a Music Program arts administration assistant, she encourages all to follow the covenant path and enjoy the blessings of BYU–Hawaii.

Portrait of Mia.
Photo by Douglas Ferreira

The Greatest Academic and Professional Decision

Growing up, Malit-Cruz’s father encouraged her to apply to BYU–Hawaii. Her initial desire to pursue studies at BYUH was there, but “as the years went on, I felt like it wasn’t really in the cards for me. I had already done two years in a university with an engineering course and two more years of a music course,” Malit-Cruz said. After serving in the Philippines Iloilo Mission, she decided to enroll in BYU–Pathway Worldwide.

However, after experiencing eighteen life-changing months as a missionary in the Lord’s vineyard, Malit-Cruz was transformed and returned to her original plan of studying at BYUH. “After my mission, my feelings toward my traditional schooling changed. I wanted to go to a university that valued the same values that I have. I wanted to be in a gospel-centered, family-loving community,” Malit-Cruz said, desiring to feel the gospel of Jesus Christ within her education. Regarding encouragement, she adds, “My boyfriend at the time—now husband—encouraged me to transfer to BYU–Hawaii, and I did. It’s been so far the greatest academic and professional decision that I made in my life.”

Portrait of Mia, her husband and her son.
Photo by Bilguun Enkhbaatar

Standing on Sacred Ground

“What I love most about BYU–Hawaii is how synonymous the spirit of aloha is to the Spirit of the Lord,” Malit-Cruz said, highlighting the university’s blend of Hawaiian culture and Christ-centered learning. She adds, “I see God and His influence in everyone; like my classmates, my professors, and my workmates. I know I am standing on sacred ground because of it.”

Although the majority of classes at BYUH are secular and typical of what can be found in a university setting, most of the professors are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which influences the way they teach, magnifying the classes on a spiritual level. Malit-Cruz testifies of this, saying, “Even though they teach stuff like math, arts, writing, and computing, there’s always a bit of spiritual knowledge sprouting from their secular teachings.”

This method of learning has also influenced Malit-Cruz’s family, especially her husband, John, and their three-year-old son Levin, saying, “Raising Levin in an environment where everyone is so Christlike, loving, and understanding was very important for me. I don’t think I would’ve survived the four years of having a child without the people around me.”

A Voice for Music

Hailing from the Philippines, a country that values education, coming to BYU–Hawaii has made Malit-Cruz recognize that “education doesn’t have to be boring, scary, or just a way to receive a degree.” This realization had amplified her four years in the university, particularly as she navigated as a music major.”

Portrait of Mia
Photo by Bilguun Enkhbaatar

“With my music professors, I learned that my ideas matter, everyone is unique, and I have my own strengths,” Malit-Cruz said, signifying how diversity in BYUH influenced the diversity in music. Speaking about her vocal performances, she adds, “They helped me find my voice—literally and figuratively—for the world. I have a lot of teachers to thank for that, especially professors Melissa Walker Glenn and Erica Glenn. Both of them encouraged me to bring my culture into my music.” Malit-Cruz followed their advice and so far has been composing music in English, Tagalog (her native language), and Hiligaynon (her mission language).

An Ambassador of Peace

Regarding her plans on giving back to BYUH, Malit-Cruz prioritizes the Lord’s covenant path as a huge part of being an example to others, saying, “One thing that my dad told me shortly before I arrived in BYU–Hawaii was that ‘after [I] leave, [I’m] expected to become an ambassador of peace.’ Because of gaining an education here, I’ve become just that.”

Being a student at BYUH meant living gospel principles while gaining a quality education, narrowing the gap between secular and spiritual learning. Malit-Cruz delights in this fact, stating, “I was always myself everywhere in this place. I didn’t have to live multiple lives.”

Mia Malit-Cruz’s tenure at BYU–Hawaii has been nothing short of amazing as she continually contributed to the landscape of music at this university. The impact of this school on her life has given her wonderful insights on learning because “as a lifetime learner,” Malit-Cruz states, “the biggest impact that BYUH had on me is telling me that I can do anything.” Her statement recalls the plan of our Heavenly Father and the words of the Savior Jesus Christ in the New Testament proclaiming that “with God, all things are possible.”

Portrait of Mia, her husband, and her son.
Photo by Bilguun Enkhbaatar