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OREM — Two Utah Valley University students are finalists in a faith-promoting video contest and could win up to $20,000.
Austin Bagley and Hayden Manwaring, students in the digital media program, teamed up to create the video after Bagley saw the Faith Counts video contest advertised on Facebook.
According to Faith Counts, the video submissions were to be a maximum of two minutes and show how faith can change lives, relationships and communities for the better.
After brainstorming ideas for the video, Bagley thought of his close family friend, Prim, whom he thought could share her story "in a powerful way that would touch the hearts of everyone who watches the video," Bagley said.
Sixteen-year-old Prim was adopted from Zimbabwe when she was 5, she said in the two-minute video. Though she doesn't remember her birth father, who died when she was 2, she remembers her birth mother, who died from cancer.
I believe it can be a powerful influence on others who may be struggling with their faith or are searching to strengthen their faith.
"Even though I was 5, I was still given hope by Heavenly Father that I was still going to see her again, and life was going to be OK," Prim says in the video. "Praying helps me know that Heavenly Father is there for me and that is he watching over me, and I just love praying and reading my scriptures."
Prim adds that she sometimes forgets she is adopted because she feels like her mom has been her mom since they were in heaven.
Bagley, who filmed the video at Prim's home and at Stansbury Island, Utah, told KSL.com in an email that he thinks it's important to share stories about faith on social media "because it shows that real people have real stories of faith, and it connects with others well.
"I believe it can be a powerful influence on others who may be struggling with their faith or are searching to strengthen their faith," he said.
Manwaring, who did the audio and original music composition for the video, said they wanted to share their faith in the video to build others' faith.
"We were just hoping to give people some hope and shed some light on their lives and let them know that, you know, things aren't really as bad as they seem compared to others a lot of times," Manwaring said.
Many people across the nation submitted videos to the contest, and last week, the top 10 finalists were announced. The video that receives the most votes from fans will win a $10,000 prize and the video that wins the vote from the judges will win $20,000.
Two honorable-mention awards of $2,500 are also up for grabs.
Manwaring said he is unsure how many votes they have, but as of Wednesday morning, the video had more than 900 views, which means it is doing well, Manwaring said.
Voters have 19 days left to vote and can vote once per day. To vote for Bagley and Manwaring's video, visit the website and click "vote now" for the video "Turn On Your Light."
Manwaring, who is studying audio, said he and Bagley, who is studying Internet technologies, would like someday work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in its film department and that this is a great resume-builder.