April 17, 2017
I was on my way home from a trip visiting students and local Church leaders in Portland, Oregon, when I had an inspiring conversation with a young taxi driver that reminded me how special PathwayConnect is and how blessed we are to be a part of this wonderful program.
“You Can Do It”
During the 30-minute drive to the airport in the small cab, we started talking about education. It turns out this young man — though not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — had taken some independent study courses through Brigham Young University to help him graduate from secondary school. Although he knew very little about the Church, when I explained PathwayConnect to him, his face lit up with interest. “This program sounds great,” he told me. “I’m sold. Where do I sign up?”
He explained to me some of his life story. He used to live a life surrounded with money and people whom he thought were his friends. One day, he told me, he woke up and realized the people around him weren’t truly his friends and that he wasn’t happy with his life. He had tried to get a university education, but after struggling through some classes, he quit. He felt like a failure and believed he had lost his opportunity for a better life.
By that point in his story, we had arrived at the airport. As I watched him pull my bags out of his cab, I looked at him and felt the need to tell him something. “Listen,” I said, as I held out my business card, “I want you to know that you can do it — that you can go back to school. You can accomplish your goals; you can still change your life. I’ve seen it happen before, and I’ve experienced it for myself.” The man looked at me with surprise on his face as he listened. He tucked my card in his pocket as I took my bags and turned toward the airport.
At PathwayConnect, We Lift
Walking into the airport, I thought about the look on the taxi driver’s face as I spoke to him. It was a look that was hard to explain — as if nobody had ever said something like that to him before. I realized that perhaps no one had ever expressed to him that level of confidence — no one had ever believed in him. As I pondered on that, my thoughts turned to PathwayConnect, and I was reminded how lucky we are to be part of such an encouraging and hope-filled program.
PathwayConnect is a place where students can go to find people who care about their progress and believe it is possible to change their lives. Whether from Church-service missionaries or fellow students, many have felt their confidence increase as a result of love and encouragement.
You have it within your power to make a difference in the lives of other people — like the young man I met — who have never felt that support. You can use your experiences in PathwayConnect as a powerful source of encouragement and inspiration to build the confidence of those around you, helping them achieve their goals and change their lives, too.
I do not know if I will ever hear from that young man again, but I hope my words inspired him to continue working toward his goals. Let us all be more aware of opportunities we have in our lives to reach out to and uplift the people around us.