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September 6, 2017

Strengthening Ties in Europe

After his trip to Europe, BYU-Pathway vice president Jon Linford shares his experience meeting with Self-Reliance Services

In Europe, as everywhere, PathwayConnect is about hope.

Slow economies and low Church population are some of the difficulties that members of the Church face in Europe. BYU-Pathway is bringing hope to these Church members and making their dreams become a reality as the program partners with Self-Reliance Services (SRS) in Europe.

As the curriculum team lead for BYU-Pathway and the BYU-Idaho Online vice president, I had the chance to visit several countries in western Europe in May and June of 2017 with the goal of strengthening relationships with SRS personnel and introducing them to BYU-Pathway. But before I returned, I gained a deeper love for the European people and an increased vision of hope.

A Resource for Hope

Jon Linford (center) with missionaries at an institute building in Rome, Italy

In each city I visited, I was thrilled to find strong support for PathwayConnect from the SRS managers and local priesthood leaders. They understood BYU-Pathway well and how it prepares students for future employment and higher education.

BYU-Pathway is seen as a powerful resource, especially when partnered with SRS. Many SRS managers are able to help Church members overcome hard economic times to equip themselves with marketable job skills and certificates. Not only are Church members progressing temporally in their education and careers, they are progressing spiritually in their wards and stakes.

Because of BYU-Pathway’s gospel-based curriculum, there has been an increase in church attendance among students and increased confidence in accepting callings as they feel better prepared to serve those around them. Through the connections of the program, young single adults are building friendships while also strengthening their local institutes of religion.

In Europe and throughout the world, BYU-Pathway has brought members, local priesthood leaders, and SRS managers the hope of more educated members and more opportunities for them to succeed both professionally and spiritually.

Jon Linford (bottom right) enjoying lunch with SRS managers and missionaries.

Hope for a Better Future

During several presentations to SRS employees and local priesthood leaders around Europe, I was able to explain BYU-Pathway’s certificate-centered goals, specifically the Give-Me-Five campaign. As I presented the certificate program to them, I could see smiles on many faces and the room filled with much excitement and enthusiasm. One Self-Reliance specialist during a presentation in London graciously said, “This is brilliant. This is the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen!”

The certificates offered through BYU-Pathway Worldwide are exactly what members in Europe need because they are quick and easy to obtain, work-force based, and add value to those seeking employment. The hope for a better financial, educational, and successful future is being made possible through the partnership of BYU-Pathway Worldwide and Self-Reliance Services.

Jon Linford outside of a Church meetinghouse in Geneva, Switzerland

The Power of Hope

When I had some time in London and Paris, I was able to visit with the students and young adults there. Each student shared their hopes and dreams being made possible through PathwayConnect, and I could feel how much the program means to them.  As we spoke, I felt prompted to share the following scripture:

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”1

Hope is the power to change lives and transform the Church in Europe — and BYU-Pathway is working with SRS to refine that hope in the hearts of students around the world.

Jon Linford (back center) along with Self-Reliance Services managers visiting a PathwayConnect group of Young Single Adults in Paris, France

PathwayConnect students in Europe have found hope through the program and improved their employment opportunities. Find a PathwayConnect location near you!

  1. ^ 1 John 3:2-3

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