April 28, 2015
Struggles and challenges come in all shapes and sizes. Many PathwayConnect students experience everyday struggles of finances, scheduling, or not understanding course material. Others may face the challenge of overcoming self-doubt, shyness, or mental and physical disabilities. To some, more significant life changes may strike, such as unexpected job loss or the death of a loved one.
While each struggle is different, they are all difficult and personal. See how the following three women overcame a wide variety of challenges while participating in PathwayConnect.
SHELBY RICHINS | Mesa, Arizona
Like many students, Shelby Richins’ life during PathwayConnect was busy and full. She was sending her husband off to work every night, raising her two-year-old son, preparing to have another baby, serving in her Church calling, working part-time, and faithfully attending her PathwayConnect gatherings in Mesa, Arizona — whew!
“Many different factors made my time in PathwayConnect difficult,” Shelby said. “My husband was working graveyard shifts during most of the time I was in PathwayConnect. He left for work at 8 p.m., so I often hired a babysitter to watch my two-year-old. At the time, I was working as a nanny for a couple of families. It was also hard to be pregnant while in PathwayConnect. I was very tired and just wanted to sleep, but I didn’t want my grades to suffer from missing class.”
Even amidst difficult times, Shelby found the strength she needed to continue PathwayConnect.
“I prayed to have strength and endurance,” Shelby says. “I found comfort in knowing that I was where I was supposed to be. I also knew that it would help me by teaching me to prioritize and to cherish my time spent with my family and friends. PathwayConnect was definitely worth the struggle.”
Shelby experienced everyday challenges that made completing PathwayConnect difficult. Many students can relate to Shelby’s struggle of maintaining a home and family while staying on top of PathwayConnect assignments.
Despite her busy life, Shelby feels blessed and successful because of PathwayConnect. She is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marriage and family studies online through BYU-Idaho, presented and coordinated through BYU-Pathway.
“I am really happy that I can do my schooling at BYU-Idaho,” Shelby said. “I’m taking a class right now that is geared toward learning about ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’ I really like learning about marriage and the family at a school that uses conference talks as their material.”
BETH KIRBY | Fairfax, Virginia
After learning about PathwayConnect at a fireside in Fairfax, Virginia, Beth Kirby was excited to go back to college. Though Beth knew PathwayConnect was right for her, the program brought out many different insecurities and trials.
“I’m painfully shy,” Beth said. “I also experience social anxiety and have frequent panic attacks.”
When Beth realized she would have to be a lead student at one of her weekly gatherings, she was overwhelmed. However, as she continued in PathwayConnect, she found new strength that helped her overcome her challenges.
“As I started participating in the weekly gatherings, those things slowly started dissipating,” Beth said. “I was able to follow through as lead student and still go to every Thursday gathering because I relied heavily on the Lord. I knew He wanted me in the program, and I knew He wanted me to succeed. That thought helped me stay on top of my assignments. I couldn’t have done it without Him.”
PathwayConnect allows me to do what my mission is for Heavenly Father. I’ve gained faith and confidence.
Reflecting on her growth in PathwayConnect, Beth shared, “PathwayConnect is a program that allows me to do what my life mission is for Heavenly Father. I’ve gained increased faith and confidence. I wasn’t very confident before PathwayConnect. This is definitely an inspired program and what Heavenly Father wants me to be doing right now. I’m on the right path.”
Beth has started the BYU-Idaho Online Degree Program and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in web design and development.
SISTER CAMILLE PRICE | Kaysville, Utah
When called to serve as a service missionary assigned to PathwayConnect, Sister Camille Price experienced unexpected loss and heartbreak — her husband, Larry, previously diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, died unexpectedly from pneumonia. In the hospital intensive care unit and on a respirator, Elder Price scribbled on his slate that he wanted to be set apart as a missionary couple before his lungs failed completely.
“One of the last things my husband did in this life was put his hands on my head and give me a priesthood blessing,” Sister Price said. “He couldn’t speak, but when he was done, he lifted my head up and wrote on his slate, ‘You will have strength.’ So, I started my mission without my companion.”
The Lord blesses those who serve Him. Sister Price went on to assist the BYU-Pathway Home Office with multiple training and development projects and assisted the missionaries who set up the PathwayConnect site in Ogden, Utah.
“It was a little difficult when I saw other missionary couples while I was serving alone,” Sister Price said. “It was so tempting to just turn my face to the wall and not care anymore. So it was a blessing knowing there was a reason I needed to get up each morning.”
“I can’t say my challenges made me stronger, but I believe they made me softer,” Sister Price said.
Elaborating on how she has grown, Sister Price said, “I feel I am more compassionate now. My trials expanded my understanding of the atonement and our Savior’s great love for us.”
Sister Price’s time as a service missionary has now ended, and she has resumed her previous employment — giving her the opportunity to travel abroad. Her insights and contributions to PathwayConnect will impact the program well into the future.