March 2, 2016
Just as BYU-Pathway continues to grow in deep and meaningful ways across the world, so too can we — through the PathwayConnect experience — grow in understanding and in becoming who our Father in Heaven would have us be.
BYU-Pathway’s growth is amazing to think about. My mind is immediately drawn to the growth from the first 50 students at a handful of U.S. locations when BYU-Pathway was launched in the fall of 2009, to the 11,716 students this winter semester at 371 sites throughout the world.
I also think of the growth of BYU-Idaho’s online degrees and programs available to students after they complete PathwayConnect, presented and coordinated through BYU-Pathway, as well as the partnerships BYU-Pathway is establishing throughout the globe to help students find local educational options and jobs after PathwayConnect.
These examples of growth are exciting to witness, and it is amazing to see the number of people who are benefiting from PathwayConnect’s unique offerings.
I believe, however, there are even more exciting areas of growth within BYU-Pathway. Two of these areas are 1) growth in understanding things as our Father in Heaven would have us understand them, and 2), growth toward becoming who our Father in Heaven would have us be.
These types of growth are not measured by ever increasing numbers, but by personal — and sometimes deeply spiritual — experiences. Each of us has likely experienced one or more of these types of growth. If you have, I invite you to reflect on your experiences with me. If you have not, I invite you to seek such growth as a part of your PathwayConnect experience.
Growth in Understanding
The Lord has counseled us to seek learning “of things both in heaven and in the earth.”1 In PathwayConnect, this includes the study of religious doctrine along with temporal subjects — oftentimes together in the same class. Why? “That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.”2
Growth becomes easier as we seek knowledge ‘even by study and also by faith.’
I remember meeting with a PathwayConnect group in a Primary room surrounded by pictures of the Savior, temples, and modern-day prophets — while studying algebra. I felt the influence of the Holy Spirit in a very real way, just as I have when studying more traditional gospel topics in similar settings. I felt the love of the Lord for each of us as we were striving to learn and grow. As tears filled my eyes, I gained a better understanding of how His love and the power of the Holy Spirit can help us in all aspects of our life. I began to grow in my understanding of learning.
Growth Toward Becoming
We are all learning and growing as we seek to gain knowledge in the Lord’s way for the Lord’s purposes. Through PathwayConnect’s design, this growth becomes easier as we seek knowledge “even by study and also by faith.”3 It is an opportunity to use the spiritual gifts granted to us by the Lord to both understand what He would have us to do in this life, as well as gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become who He needs us to be.
For many, this may mean pursuing a certificate or degree online from BYU-Idaho after PathwayConnect. For others, it may mean going to a local trade school, college, or university. And for some, PathwayConnect may be the end of their formal educational journey as they pursue employment or other personal goals. No matter where PathwayConnect takes us, it will likely be the start of a lifelong journey in more attentive listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and growing in knowledge and skill as we serve the Lord and our families in the way He asks of us. This is the growth I find most exciting and of most value.
I hope we all will consider the following promise from the Lord as we continue to take challenging steps into the future. Speaking to us as friends, our Savior invites us, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”4
I leave you my witness that His promises are real, and He will support you in your efforts. He will give you growth in very personal and powerful ways.