June 19, 2017
For Psalm Serrano, providing for his family came first.
After returning from his full-time mission in 2012, Psalm and his girlfriend, Camille, felt the Lord wanted them to get married as soon as possible. Following that prompting, Psalm put off his education in order to provide for his family, not knowing when he would go back to school.
Four years later, when PathwayConnect became available in the Philippines, the opportunity to get an education arrived. As one of PathwayConnect’s Filipino pioneers, Psalm saw firsthand how PathwayConnect is inspiring hope and building confidence for students in the Philippines through affordable higher education.
Psalm always understood the importance of getting an education, but when he and Camille got married, he knew he would need to work hard to provide for his future family.
Worried about making enough money to support his marriage, Psalm stopped taking classes at the university he was attending and started working full-time. He always looked for a way to continue his education, though — he liked the idea of taking online classes. Unfortunately, he never found a program that fit his needs.
“None of the online programs I looked at offered the degree that I wanted,” said Psalm, “so after much counseling, I decided to postpone my education for awhile in order to dedicate my time to work and family.”
Two years later, as Camille prepared to graduate from university, Psalm thought his opportunity had arrived, but his plans were once again put aside when he learned Camille was pregnant with their first daughter. For Psalm, the great news also brought a greater sense of urgency to finish his education.
“I decided to postpone my education again until she was born,” Psalm said. “We had been waiting for a child for quite some time — it was such a big blessing. When my daughter was finally born, I promised myself I would go back to school and finish my studies, even if I had to do it while working full-time.”
Inspired by the birth of their daughter, Adira, Psalm enrolled in a local university and began working toward a degree.
PathwayConnect in the Philippines
PathwayConnect first came to students in the Philippines in fall 2016. Since then it has grown to six locations across the country. For more information about PathwayConnect in the Philippines, check out this article about the first PathwayConnect site in Manila.
Back to School
Getting back to school wasn’t easy. During the time leading up to Adira’s birth, Psalm had begun working two full-time jobs. Between work, his calling as a counselor in the bishopric, and his responsibilities as a husband and father, attending classes quickly became more than Psalm could handle.
“I began praying to the Lord for strength everyday,” he remembered. “I prayed for patience and discipline to manage my time wisely, and for a capable and relaxed mind to face the mental stress my duties gave me.”
The quality of the programs at his new university also disappointed him. To Psalm, it felt like being in secondary school again. “I was wasting my time. The only thing that motivated me was knowing I was obeying God’s counsel by getting an education,”1 said Psalm.
By the time PathwayConnect launched in the Philippines in 2016, Psalm was more than ready to try something new. As soon as he heard about the program, he knew he needed to enroll.
“PathwayConnect was an answer to my prayers. The curriculum is great, and I can go on to get the degree I want online from BYU-Idaho afterward,” said Psalm.
After discussing it with Camille, Psalm enrolled in the first-ever PathwayConnect group in the Philippines, taking a new step in his educational journey.
Preparing a Way
After years of struggling to get an education, Psalm finally found a program that worked for him. To him, PathwayConnect fulfills the Lord’s promise to “prepare a way”2 to obey His commandments.
“PathwayConnect is a confirmation that God knows my circumstances. He wanted me to take part in PathwayConnect,” said Psalm.
Psalm has seen many blessings come from PathwayConnect, but he is particularly grateful for the spiritual growth he has felt since starting PathwayConnect — to be able to learn professional skills with a spiritual perspective that prepares him to be a better disciple and leader in the world and in his family.
Psalm also feels blessed to have more quality time with his family. Between work and university, Psalm used to be gone for most the day. Now, thanks to PathwayConnect, he can be at home with his wife and daughter. “It has blessed my family tremendously knowing I can stay at home for my classes. I can study without having to spend time away from them.”
Choosing to Obey
Balancing work and education does not worry Psalm anymore. Because of PathwayConnect, he can work full-time and take online classes without sacrificing time with his family. After completing PathwayConnect in July 2017, he plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer information technology (CIT) online through BYU-Idaho.
“When Camille and I chose to obey the Lord’s prompting to establish our family, He knew our loyalty was with Him,” said Psalm. “When we as disciples make that decision to follow Him, we are entitled to His help. PathwayConnect has been God’s inspired way to help me and my family.”
Through PathwayConnect, Psalm learned that God will always provide a way to follow His counsel. In what ways have you seen the hand of the Lord help you during your education? Please share your experiences with us in the comment section!