June 14, 2017
After a 19-year struggle with addictions, Kahala felt lost and unsure whether her life was worth continuing. With the help of PathwayConnect and loving parents, Kahala repaired her path to Christ and found the strength to follow Him again.
Reaching for Help
Kahala grew up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Maui, Hawaii. At age 15, she found herself heading down a destructive road of alcohol and drug abuse, which bound her for nearly two decades.
The weight of poor choices eventually became too much for Kahala to bear. “One night, I was so tired of the life I was living that I prayed for the first time in a long time,” Kahala said. “I then felt the impression to call my parents, who I had pushed away for many years. I pleaded for help and told them I had a problem that was literally going to kill me. I told them I was ready to change.”
“I am sure my parents were waiting for this call for many heartbreaking years.”
With the help and support of her parents, Kahala found a rehabilitation center in Louisiana. Within the next 24 hours, she was on her way to reclaiming her life.
Through rehab, Kahala found refuge from her addictions. During this time, she met her future husband, Justin Jennings, and the two began dating as soon as they both completed their recovery. They were married three months later and began attending a local Christian church.
“Although I was born and raised in the Church,” Kahala said. “I was just grateful to have God in my life once again.”
Renewing the Faith of Her Youth
Years later, the couple visited Kahala’s family in Hawaii, where they attended meetings for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with her parents. She once again felt the Spirit and wanted her husband to feel it as well.
Kahala and her husband immediately began meeting with the missionaries. Although tentative at first, Justin felt the Spirit and was baptized while still in Hawaii.
Shortly after Justin was baptized, Kahala’s parents were called as service missionaries for BYU-Pathway. As she asked them about the program, she was thrilled — this could be her opportunity to get an education.
The Jennings had lost so much of their lives to addictions and never thought school would be an option for them. After much study and consideration, they found a PathwayConnect location in Knoxville, Tennessee, and decided to enroll — a choice that would change their lives forever.
Experimenting on the Word of the Lord
“When my husband and I first enrolled in PathwayConnect, we were not looking for friendships. We just wanted to learn,” Kahala said. “But we gained those friendships anyway.”
During PathwayConnect, they learned many new concepts that they had not previously known about Church doctrine. They promised each other that whatever they learned in the gospel, they would follow the teachings and commandments with exactness.1
One day, while reading the scriptures, Kahala and Justin learned about the commandment of keeping the Sabbath day holy. They prayed to know of its truthfulness and put it to the test.
Justin worked at a factory that was normally open on weekends, and there was a possibility that he would have to start working on Sundays. He spoke with his managers about his religious beliefs regarding the Sabbath day. His managers not only honored his request, but they closed that department of the factory on Sundays indefinitely and gave Justin a promotion because of his integrity.
By keeping Christ as their focus on Sundays, Kahala and Justin have strengthened their testimonies of the gospel and seen tremendous growth in their relationship since applying each commandment in their lives.
“Because we are new to the gospel, we continue to do everything we can so we can learn, grow, and come closer to Christ,” Kahala said.
Building a Foundation for the Future
As Justin and Kahala make these worthy choices now, they are building a strong foundation for their future. They have already seen so many blessings from following the commandments, and as they continue to do so they feel God’s love for them overflow.
“If you build a foundation and knowledge of Christ, you will be able to get through anything,” Kahala testified. “Even the hardest days of schooling and life.”
If you find yourself stuck on a downward path, there is hope and happiness ahead. PathwayConnect has blessed the lives of the Jennings, and if you allow it, it can bless your life as well.
Justin and Kahala have been able to see the Lord’s hand in their lives as they have experimented on the words of the Lord and followed His commandments. When have you been able to see the Lord’s hand in your life when following His commandments? Share your story in the comment section below.