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September 13, 2016

United in an Inspired Cause

Pathway missionaries united in purpose after attending Missionary Conference at BYU-Idaho

A Pathway Missionary Conference held on the BYU-Idaho campus provided an exciting and historic opportunity for all who attended.

Being involved in some of the planning for the three-day event gave me a deeper appreciation for the conference when it took place. As the date grew near, I had two main questions in mind:

  1. Will the missionaries come?
  2. What kind of experience will they have?

I think I can speak for everyone involved when I say that the missionaries had a meaningful experience of learning, growing, and uniting in a single purpose. That purpose is blessing the lives of members through education.

A Conference of Learning

BYU-Idaho I-Center with 15,000 seats.

BYU-Idaho I-Center with 15,000 seats

To begin the conference, employees and missionaries gathered on the BYU-Idaho Center stage with 15,000 empty seats playing as a backdrop for the speakers. It was symbolic to me of the thousands of students which these missionaries would be seeking out and finding themselves.

Service missionaries assigned to BYU-Pathway have the unique opportunity to watch students as they connect with spiritual and secular concepts at their gatherings. Throughout the conference, I saw missionaries make connections between the work they do each week and the influence they have on the students.

Pathway missionaries and employees gathered on the stage.

Missionaries and employees gathered on the BYU-Idaho Center stage

Quick to Sacrifice and Serve

Missionaries assigned to BYU-Pathway are amazing. When Pathway began in 2009, we had a total of four service missionaries. For Fall Semester 2016, we have more than 2,000. The missionary force is truly an inspiring example of faith, dedication, and service.

It is a humbling experience to see the sacrifices these missionaries made to join us at this conference. They sacrificed their time, their summer, and their own money to join us in Rexburg.

Pathway missionaries learning from one another during a breakout session.

Service missionaries learning from one another during a breakout session

I loved seeing service missionaries from California to North Carolina gather just as students do. The sense of unity from this meeting became tangible as the conference progressed. I have no doubt that these missionaries will be eternally blessed for their sacrifices and trust in the Lord.

Missionaries build a family in each gathering group they have, and my hope is that every missionary who attended this conference left with a greater feeling of unity with the other missionaries and  home office employees, just as they do with their students. Each companionship is a piece in a larger, much brighter picture of a truly inspired program.

Benefiting the Employees

Missionaries are not the only ones to have benefited from this inspired conference. Preparing and presenting this conference was a humbling and testimony-building experience for myself and for each home office employee.

Jon Phister speaking with a Pathway missionary.

Jon Phister speaking with a service missionary

As BYU-Pathway employees, it was beneficial for us to see how much our service missionaries love their students. It gives our employees a greater sense of duty and a longing to deliver even greater material and service for the missionaries and students.

I recognize that many of our missionaries will not be able to join us. My hope is that the missionaries who are able to have the opportunity to experience the sense of unity and purpose that was felt during this first conference.

I know the missionaries assigned to BYU-Pathway are blessed for their efforts and that this program is inspired by the Lord Himself. May we continue to unite our efforts throughout this year, just as we did at this Pathway Missionary Conference.

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