March 6, 2017
Janis Blums finally feels empowered to achieve his lifelong dream of obtaining a university education. For nearly 10 years, Janis Blums has had to postpone this dream. After serving a mission in St. Petersburg, Russia, he returned home to Riga, Latvia, where he married, started his family, and became busy with his various jobs in sales, translation, and interior design.
Then Janis heard about PathwayConnect, and he excitedly signed up, hoping to finally have the chance to further his education.
“For years I have been hoping for opportunities to continue my studies and get a higher education, but I did not expect that this would come from the Church. So because I still had the desire to gain more education, I didn’t have to think too long about joining when PathwayConnect was presented,” he said.
As he began taking university classes through PathwayConnect, Janis was surprised by the broad range of benefits he gained from the program. He saved money through the financial skills he learned, saw real improvement in achieving his personal spiritual goals, and made new friends.
PathwayConnect infused Janis with passion for learning and personal improvement. It wasn’t always easy, but Janis felt satisfaction knowing that his life was taking a new direction.
“PathwayConnect provided exactly what I needed at this stage of my life — a start that opened the doors to something new and long desired. Even though it is hard to combine studies with work and family, PathwayConnect is worth it,” he said.
Janis has been blessed to see very specific temporal blessings in his life since joining PathwayConnect.
“PathwayConnect greatly increased my knowledge about money management and budgeting. The first important thing that PathwayConnect helped me with is understanding the right approach to personal finances. I am now more careful with my budget, what I need, and what I can afford.”
In addition to the practical benefits of saving money, this training has also helped Janis have a broader awareness of what his own ambitions are and how to achieve them.
“The other thing that changed is how I look at my job and my attitude. Since I have a better understanding and vision about what I need and want to accomplish, I am more patient and careful. I feel more successful and happy because of these changes.”
Janis particularly appreciated the spiritual strength he found in PathwayConnect.
“Though it is an academic program, I am very happy that it also emphasizes spiritual education, learning gospel principles, and applying them better in personal life, which is critical for successful future studies.”
Applying the spiritual lessons he learned in PathwayConnect, Janis set out to make real changes in his life.
“Within these few months I have learned valuable lessons, which have helped me rapidly change several of my characteristics that I have been working on for years. Since I joined PathwayConnect, some of my most significant changes are increased patience and a stronger testimony.”
Janis sees this spiritual education as indispensable to truly successful growth and learning.
He shared, “Only by growing spiritually and learning to use the Spirit in any situation in life can one truly succeed. With the Spirit we can expand our knowledge and understanding beyond what it would be otherwise. With the Spirit we can achieve our goals.”
A special part of PathwayConnect for Janis was the sense of security and optimism the program provided. He worries about the direction the world is heading. So for him, PathwayConnect was a tool to build a more stable life.
I have no doubt that with the completion of this program, I have achieved my goals.
“I believe I am heading to an even more happy future despite what happens and is expected to happen in the world,” he said. “Thanks to PathwayConnect, I am more determined than ever to keep out of any type of debts and live life as free as possible. PathwayConnect has given me confidence to shape my life in the way I want.”
As he progressed through PathwayConnect, Janis saw all these blessings and appreciated the real impact PathwayConnect had on his life: “I love this program. It is simple enough for me, and it turned out to be a great blessing and helped change certain things in my behavior and life perspective. The gatherings are what I will remember the longest. I have found new friends there.”
And Janis wants others to have the same uplifting experience that he had. He encourages others in Latvia to reap the rewards of PathwayConnect, which have brought him the satisfaction of achieving his own goals.
“Anyone who earnestly wants to learn and improve their life would greatly benefit doing this program,” he said. “PathwayConnect strengthens the testimonies of students as well as of those in students’ lives, teaches better understanding of finances, and improves English language skills and understanding.”
Now, after his three semesters of PathwayConnect, Janis can clearly see the rewards from his participation, and he is happy.
“I have no doubt that with the completion of this program, I have achieved my goals that I set years ago, and that I will have become a better person and a stronger disciple of Jesus Christ. I can already see the fruits of my labor, and I love it.”
Janis completed PathwayConnect in July 2016. Janis plans to use his new financial skills to start his own business in Riga, Latvia. He is also considering taking additional web design courses through BYU-Idaho online.