November 16, 2016
What does an immigrant from China, an entrepreneur from Albania, a man who didn’t make it past seventh grade in the United States, and a young father in Ecuador have in common? They all want more education and more job opportunities, but before PathwayConnect, they couldn’t find a way to obtain either.
Those who don’t have the time or money for school often face great challenges. Some face limited career prospects or struggle with unemployment, wondering how to make ends meet. Others face practical obstacles, such as adapting to a new culture and language. Still others lose hope of ever providing their children opportunities to succeed.
Access to quality education empowers many people to pursue solutions to their distress and unhappiness, and PathwayConnect aims to leverage worldwide Church resources to solve these problems head on. This four-part series contains the stories of four people, separated by thousands of miles, who found their own path to success through PathwayConnect.
New York City can be scary for an immigrant who doesn’t speak English. Hong Li felt this way when she moved to Manhattan, New York, from Fuzhou, China. She struggled to fit in at church, and she worried that the language barrier affected her job. So when she heard about PathwayConnect, she signed up to learn English.
“At first, I was very nervous,” Hong relates. “I was afraid my classmates could not understand me. I still remember the first gathering, when we introduced ourselves. I spoke in a trembling voice. But after talking to my classmates in the gathering, I felt better than before.”
Through the encouragement of classmates and her determination to study, Hong’s English began to improve.
“My classmates encouraged me to try my best. No one could understand me when I explained a math problem, but everyone encouraged me. A few weeks later, I had the courage to talk to a visitor at church in English. That moment was a turning point for my confidence, and my PathwayConnect gatherings played such a meaningful role in that — my classmates helped me a lot in class, and I felt their love as I improved.”
Hong credits much of this improvement to PathwayConnect’s unique gathering program, which allows for learning opportunities among students.
“Before joining PathwayConnect, I felt nervous whenever I spoke English, but [the program] helped my confidence grow. In class, we taught each other. By gathering and interacting with others, my learning was enhanced as I listened to my classmates share their opinions. I learned a lot from them.”
Hong is also thrilled to see the blessings from PathwayConnect extending to her job and faith as well.
“When I decided to join the PathwayConnect program last year, I only wanted to improve my English skills. However, not only was I able to complete all the assignments, I also did well in my job! Education is a lifelong process, and not limited to formal study. PathwayConnect gave me the faith to study. It lets me know that God cares about my education. I testify that the PathwayConnect program is the best gift Heavenly Father gave me.”
How did PathwayConnect help you overcome obstacles to education or career advancement?
Hong is now a deputy editor for the China-based newspaper The China Press. She continues to serve others in Manhattan using English and Chinese. Don’t forget to come back for next week’s entry, “Part 2: The Entrepreneur,” the inspiring story of an ambitious business owner in Albania.