June 2, 2017
Sitting in the back of PathwayConnect gatherings in London are the Richards, a set of full-time, senior missionaries quietly listening to discussions, answering questions, and joining in on class activities.
All throughout gatherings in Europe are dedicated missionary couples that serve in their hometowns or foreign countries. Like the Richards, some leave their friends, families, and homes in the United States to serve full-time service missions in international locations.
The Richards, the Winders, and the Abrahamsons share how serving as missionaries assigned to BYU-Pathway in Europe has blessed their lives in more ways than they imagined.
Elder and Sister Richards — London, England
“We are currently serving in the London, England mission where we were able to facilitate the first group of 19 students that finished PathwayConnect here in London in July 2016. It has been a pioneering effort for them as many were the first in their families to work toward a degree, and they are setting an example for so many of their family members.
While serving in London, we have been able to learn more about the country and see some fascinating places. It is so much fun learning about a society that is different than our own and being a part of their traditions.
As we watch our PathwayConnect students develop confidence, increase their testimonies, and learn self-reliance, we can’t help but feel our testimonies strengthen as well. What a blessing our mission is to us! We will always remember it as a sacred time that helped us come closer to Christ and to each other.”
Elder and Sister Winder — Tirana, Albania, and Bucharest, Romania
“We had the privilege of serving two full-time missions for BYU-Pathway in Europe. In 2012, we were called to help open a new PathwayConnect site in Tirana, Albania. After serving there for two years, we received another call in 2015 to serve in Bucharest, Romania.
To tell you the truth, we were homesick when leaving for our missions. We had never been away from our children for so long, but they are very supportive because they each served missions. If they are able to answer the Lord’s call, how could we not have the same faith as well? This made accepting our calls to serve easier.
Over the course of our two missions, we learned that we can do hard things, like leave our family for an extended time. We made friends in these countries that lived in such humble circumstances which helped us to have more compassion and gratitude. We learned about new cultures and their ways. We traveled to areas we would have never otherwise seen.
Let the Lord lead you where he wants you to go; serve where He wants you to serve. Let Him make of you what only He can. You are greatly needed! We loved both of our missions and cherish the memories we have. Everyone should have this great experience.”
Elder and Sister Abrahamson — Tirana, Albania
“Our experience as service missionaries in a foreign country was incredible. We feel it has been a great blessing to us and a gift from God. We were just beginning our third year as local part-time missionaries assigned to BYU-Pathway in Minnesota when we were asked to serve in Tirana, Albania.
Serving in a foreign country was an amazing experience, and we learned so much. We met church members with incredible faith and dedication amidst many challenges — these members are pioneers!
Whether you decide to serve abroad or are called locally, see the good that is there and love the people as they are. Seek the guidance of the spirit, find ways to use your talents, and be open to learning new skills. Whatever you have to give, no matter how small it may seem, will mean a lot to those you serve. Being an example to your students means more than you may realize.
The hardest part of our mission was the last two weeks when we were saying goodbye. We have made lifelong friends who have become family, and they have inspired us with their love of the Lord and dedication to building the Church in their country. This experience has changed us, and we will always treasure it.”
Serving One Another
Carrying out the Lord’s work is not always an easy task, but the rewards are beyond compare. Students in Europe and throughout the world continually express how grateful they are for the missionaries that serve them locally, and many form lasting friendships with one another.
Without dedicated missionaries like the Richards, the Winders, the Abrahamsons, and many others, PathwayConnect in Europe would not be what it is today.
If you or someone you know would be interested in serving a full-time service mission with BYU-Pathway, contact BYU-Pathway Missionary Support for more information!