September 13, 2013
"PathwayConnect helps us progress in spirit, knowledge, family life, church service, job performance, basically everything. Simply put, I know that what I've learned through PathwayConnect will just help me live a better life." ~Marsel Pane
After a long day’s work in Tirana, Albania, Marsel Pane strolls through the door of his home and is greeted by his loving wife, Nevila, and energetic son, Joel. He embraces Nevila, lovingly ruffles Joel’s hair, and the young family spends the next hour or so sharing a meal and enjoying one anothers’ company. Once settled in and comfortable, Marsel flips on the computer and diligently starts to work on his PathwayConnect assignments for the week.
Marsel’s journey in PathwayConnect started in early 2013 through a friend’s simple invitation. Upon arriving at the church building, he was warmly welcomed by the students and service missionaries, the Winders. With little knowledge of the English language and no formal education since high school, Marsel was hesitant to commit to such an important decision. In stepped Elder and Sister Winder. They kindly took Marsel aside and encouraged him to embark on the PathwayConnect experience, promising him that he would find great success if he exercised faith and worked hard to learn English.
“Everything started with faith and desire,” said Marsel. “If you have faith and also act, you can progress every day. That is the process: show faith, learn, work hard, and repeat.”
Marsel’s journey has not been taken alone. He has received many different forms of help throughout his PathwayConnect experience. In their wisdom, Elder and Sister Winder introduced Marsel to Altin Galonxhi, a local branch member and BYU-Idaho alumnus who taught in the United States for 18 years. Altin graciously accepted to tutor Marsel in English and demonstrate the technical computer aspects of PathwayConnect. This act of service has now created a deep bond of friendship. Marsel’s wife, Nevila, also handles the English language quite well. While at home, they frequently converse in English to help develop speaking skills. “Four months ago, I was very down on myself. I didn’t speak very well,” said Marsel. “But, I started to work very hard with my wife, the missionaries, and Altin. I also started to read the Book of Mormon and Liahona in English.”
Marsel works full-time in marketing for a construction company. His primary responsibilities are to keep professional contact with and give presentations to potential contractors. He also works as a clothing vendor. Marsel is confident that as he continues with his education through PathwayConnect and a BYU-Idaho online degree program, presented and coordinated through BYU-Pathway, many doors of employment opportunity will open for him.
Marsel has also discovered a spiritual benefit to PathwayConnect. As Sunday School president of his branch, Marsel agrees that the principles of PathwayConnect translate to Church service.
“When I started, I had to use faith and open my heart. PathwayConnect helps me learn from the Spirit and feel that I can accomplish anything with the help of God,” he said.
Everyone involved in PathwayConnect can progress and feel the love of God.
Although he hasn’t been involved in the program long, Marsel is always eager to share advice with new students. “Don’t be afraid to have questions or ask for help,” Marsel said. “Without questions, we cannot learn. Also, it’s the Church; we are supposed to help each other. That’s what Heavenly Father and the Savior do for us, so we should do the same.” He also stresses that constantly practicing English will help those who are struggling with the language.
When asked about his plans for continuing on to receive his degree, Marsel typically answers, “Of course I want to pursue a degree, and I hope others can too because it opens up doors of opportunity. But it’s not only about the degree. PathwayConnect helps us progress in Spirit, knowledge, family life, Church service, job performance, basically everything. Simply put, I know that what I’ve learned through PathwayConnect will just help me live a better life.”
After completing PathwayConnect, Marsel began taking online courses through BYU-Idaho. He is studying to get a degree in business management with an emphasis in entrepreneurial management.