April 22, 2014
"I believe that being educated is the best thing that can happen to anyone."
Elvis Aruhor of Accra, Ghana, never thought that he would join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Life has turned out differently than Elvis ever expected, and he has found that he wouldn’t want it any other way.
When Elvis first heard about a 14-year-old boy who saw God, he laughed. Two years after Elvis graduated from high school, he was at a friend’s house when he met two young men who introduced themselves as missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We chatted for a while and scheduled an appointment. My intention for accepting to listen to them was not because I was interested in their message, but I thought it was a good opportunity to find fault with them and to possibly tell them they needed to stop preaching lies,” he said.
Over the next three years, Elvis met with many sets of Latter-day Saint elders. “I argued and contended with each of them until one fateful Monday evening when I visited my friend who lived in the same neighborhood as the missionaries. One of the missionaries and I started a conversation, only this time it was not about religion. We talked about education, sports, and every other area of life that we both had interest in. From then onward, the missionary became my friend. He would visit me and not talk about his church or Joseph Smith. Then, one day he invited me to a baptismal service, and I accepted.”
That simple invitation changed Elvis’s life forever.
“That baptismal service had a profound effect on me; I felt the Spirit. I went to church the next week and continued to do so until I was baptized.”
Elvis was baptized on January 30, 2005, and has since served as a full-time missionary in the Nigeria Lagos Mission. It was during his mission that Elvis first learned about PathwayConnect. He knew that furthering his education was important because it would help him to become more self-reliant and able to support his family. After his mission, Elvis relocated from Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to Accra, Ghana —over 720 miles (1,158 km) away — so that he could participate in the program.
The PathwayConnect instructors are awesome! I love how they gave constructive feedback on my homework.
Elvis is grateful for the opportunity he’s had to grow from PathwayConnect. Although he finds that he is busy working two jobs, teaching seminary, and fulfilling his calling as Sunday School president, he still manages to get his homework assignments done.
“I believe that being educated is the best thing that can happen to anyone,” he said. “Education does not only guarantee one a better life, it helps people to acquire knowledge, eliminate illiteracy and ignorance, and puts a person in a better position to contribute meaningfully to the development and advancement of humanity.”
Elvis is able to do just that through his work at the Accra Latter-day Saint Perpetual Education Fund and Self-Reliance Center as a volunteer facilitator and an administrative assistant. The center provides career and self-employment workshops for people in the community, while volunteers contact members of the Church who have registered on lds.org to help them create a profile that can be viewed by potential employers. Because there are thousands of members in West Africa who are unable to provide the basic necessities of life, the Self-Reliance Center identifies specific needs of the members and assists them with education, job placement, or self-employment.
Elvis’s determination and eagerness to learn continues to enrich his life as he pursues his education.
I am grateful to the leaders and all who planned and made sacrifices.
Although the Internet connection can be fickle and the time zone difference between Ghana and the U.S. presents challenges from time to time, Elvis does not let it get him down. He remains dedicated to his schoolwork and is determined to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. “Coming to BYU-Idaho would be a dream come true. I will continue with BYU-Idaho’s Online Degree Program until I am financially buoyant enough to transfer to campus,” Elvis said. He is interested in growing his own business someday and is particularly interested in agro-business.
Elvis feels that PathwayConnect has been a wonderful experience. “The program has tremendously blessed my life and the lives of so many others,” he said. “Every student I have interacted with says they are grateful for the privilege and opportunity PathwayConnect affords them. Many students thought they were never going to be able to acquire a college degree, but this program has restored their hope. I am one of these students. I will forever remain grateful to the leaders and all those who planned and made sacrifices to ensure that this program is made available to millions of people across the globe, especially those of us in West Africa.”