February 9, 2018
Friends and family sat in anticipation as Wendy Flores opened the large white envelope. Tears of joy and excitement filled her eyes as she began to read the words on the paper.
“Hermana Flores,” the letter began. “You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Colombia Medellin Mission.” Wendy felt an immediate love for the people of Colombia wash over her.
Months prior, Wendy concluded a year of studies with PathwayConnect — an opportunity that not only inspired and prepared her to serve a mission, but led her to continue learning English and pursue her love of teaching by earning a certificate in teaching English as a second language.
Sacrifice led Wendy to new opportunities
“I didn’t know much about English when I started PathwayConnect,” Wendy said.
When she began her courses in PathwayConnect, she had been studying at an English learning center in Lima, Peru, but she never had the opportunity to speak with native English speakers. Hoping to develop her skills in the language, Wendy enrolled in PathwayConnect and worked hard with her speaking partner to reach her goals.
“I can now understand everything that everyone tells me,” she said.
Along with learning the English language, Wendy gained a deeper understanding of the gospel and the callings she would fulfill in the years to come. The time and money Wendy sacrificed to travel an hour to and from her PathwayConnect gathering each week led to an important, life-changing decision.
“While I was in PathwayConnect, my desire to go on a mission began to grow,” Wendy explained. “One day while I was studying the scriptures for one of my courses, I felt a strong desire in my heart to serve a mission. I had always loved serving and sharing my testimony with others — with the way I felt and the confidence I was gaining in my studies, I decided to serve a mission.”
PathwayConnect prepared Wendy to serve
Leaving her home in Peru, Wendy felt prepared to apply the talents she had developed while in PathwayConnect as a missionary. The scripture study, goal-setting, and time management skills she learned in PathwayConnect prepared her to serve and teach the people of Colombia.
“PathwayConnect helped me apply all that I needed to serve a mission. I became more self-sufficient and responsible — I was able to not only serve the people I taught, but other missionaries as well,” Wendy explained.
When Wendy was assigned as a lead sister missionary, she often reflected on her time as a lead student in PathwayConnect to help her prepare and conduct trainings and other meetings. These experiences gave her the confidence to lead discussions and meetings as she led and served her fellow missionaries.
“PathwayConnect not only prepared me to set goals for myself,” Wendy said. “It helped me in my leadership position to be an example to the sisters in my mission.”
Wendy found direction for her life
In serving others, Wendy felt her passion for teaching growing even stronger. She had enjoyed teaching; in fact, prior to her mission, she was called to teach in the primary at church. But her service in the mission field confirmed her love for the work and guided her educational goals.
“My mission president told me that teaching was a gift my Heavenly Father gave me,” Wendy recalled. “When I found the TESOL certificate program through BYU-Idaho online, I said to myself, ‘This is a program that speaks to me.’ I just love teaching people!”
Soon after returning from her mission, Wendy prayerfully applied to BYU-Idaho online to start pursuing a certificate and her dream.
A start to the rest of her life
Wendy sat at her computer with heart pounding and great anticipation as she opened the email from BYU-Idaho Admissions. To her relief and excitement, the email read, “Congratulations! You have been accepted into Brigham Young University-Idaho.”
As she has witnessed her dreams come true, Wendy has often thought back on her time in PathwayConnect as a preparation for the life she is now living.
“PathwayConnect and BYU-Idaho Online are beautiful programs. They help so many students develop talents and English skills,” Wendy explained. “I am so blessed. These programs give opportunities to so many students around the world — like me! I am here in Peru, but I am learning so much!”
Wendy is currently pursuing a TESOL certificate online through BYU-Idaho, presented and coordinated by BYU-Pathway. After completing the certificate, she hopes to continue her education locally or on BYU-Idaho’s campus with a degree in international studies.
PathwayConnect helped Wendy develop important skills and find her direction in life. Visit byupathway.lds.org to learn what PathwayConnect can do for you!