February 22, 2017
Paula Lopez drew her pen across the thin paper. In the margins of holy scripture, ink began to bleed through the thin page; what was once empty space was now filled with thoughts and revelation.
Paula, a PathwayConnect student in Orem, Utah, had always enjoyed institute. But when she joined PathwayConnect in fall of 2015, the impact institute began to have on her life was transformative. She suddenly had new insights about the gospel and new inspiration in her daily life.
“After combining my spiritual education with academics, my life has been happier as I attend PathwayConnect and institute,” she said. “The friends and spiritual experiences I have gained make me want to be better.”
The Bigger Vision
For several years, the combination of PathwayConnect and institute has blessed the lives of many PathwayConnect students as those who have not had the opportunity, means, or desire to attend institute are provided the option. Then, like Paula and many others, they see and feel the gospel shape their lives.
Many already attending an institute course can see the lasting effect and influence it has in their lives. Ann-Marie Tate, a PathwayConnect student from Savanna-la-Mar, Jamaica, confirms, “Institute opens up your mind to so much more than PathwayConnect alone can offer.”
But the change does not happen spontaneously. Institute directors and instructors around the world work behind the scenes, creating lesson plans, contributing many hours to study, and attending meetings, all of which result in an effective classroom where the Spirit can dwell and students can learn.
Among the efforts of planning, studying, and teaching, Brother Jarom Price, an institute director in San Diego, California, is pulled to a responsibility he feels is much more important. “We, as institute directors, need to keep the bigger vision,” he said. “We are here for far more than teaching — we are here to help change the lives of the students.”
Personally witnessing the effects, Brother Price related the following experience: “I once received a text from a PathwayConnect student. It said: ‘Brother Price, today in class, when we were learning about Christ and the Atonement, I realized something that changed my life. I now have better strength and confidence to stay away from paths I don’t want to walk.’”
Brian Nelson, an institute director in Bellingham, Washington, has also seen changes in his students. He said, “I remember a young woman who enrolled in PathwayConnect. She has since become endowed, engaged to a returned missionary, and is currently planning on a temple marriage. All of this happened because she studied in PathwayConnect and institute. Together, the courses made the gospel sink deep into her heart.”
Many PathwayConnect students have never experienced that change of heart before, but as they work in institute and PathwayConnect, they begin to receive the blessings of the two programs. They work hard, dedicating hours to diligent study, remaining open in heart and mind, possessing a willingness to do and be better, and applying what is taught from both PathwayConnect and institute. And they feel the Holy Ghost in their lives, guiding them to new insights and daily inspiration.
Paula expanded on the positive effect that PathwayConnect and institute have on one another from a student’s perspective. She said, “Within these two programs, you can’t help but see your testimony grow. You get to see the blessings of both spiritual and secular education.”
Institute director Marin Iachimov of Bucharest, Romania, shared his opinion of the harmonious programs. “PathwayConnect gives the students the confidence and the skills,” he said. “Institute deepens the sense of purpose they find in PathwayConnect. Together, they form a wonderful program that equips the students with what they need to succeed.”
Successes gained from participation in both programs include increased spirituality, setting and achieving goals, learning to rely on Jesus Christ, working with peers, establishing healthy habits, and much more.
These results are evident in overwhelming statistics. A recent report indicates that 94% of PathwayConnect students experienced an increased testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ; 95% reported greater faith in the Lord’s ability to help them in their lives; 83% reported improved personal prayer; and 89% reported improved personal scripture study.
We are taught that the combination of spiritual and temporal learning is a commandment from the Lord. We must “seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”1 PathwayConnect is one of many organizations created to encourage just that. With effort and care, PathwayConnect and institute have become a medium for students around the world to raise their personal goals and expectations.
We are here for far more than teaching — we are here to help change the lives of the students.
It is because of these outcomes that Brother Price stated that “PathwayConnect is a tool to help strengthen testimonies, to help those who are struggling find hope, both temporally and spiritually. PathwayConnect is a part of the ministry.”
Linked in the purpose to enlighten and bring their students closer to the Savior, PathwayConnect and institute lift the common standard of education to that of the Lord’s — giving those involved a gateway to helpful and lasting skills, knowledge, and testimony.
Institute strengthens the spiritual learning of PathwayConnect students. To learn more about the academic learning process in PathwayConnect, check out Not a Typical Online Program.
How do you think PathwayConnect and institute complement each other? Comment your thoughts below!