June 12, 2018
When Ashley Ostheimer, a single mother from Montana, enrolled in PathwayConnect, she expected an easy, inexpensive way back into school. But what she didn’t expect was that, because of her time in PathwayConnect, she would find a new hope for the future, a better understanding of the Book of Mormon, and a renewed testimony of Jesus Christ.
After praying for direction, an opportunity presented itself
Despite having earned an associate degree in foundations of business from the University of Phoenix, Ashley felt lost and unsure of what path she should pursue. But as a single mother of three young children, she knew it was her responsibility to continue her education and provide for her family.
Instead of giving into confusion, Ashley trusted the Lord. She knew that if she prayed in faith, God would guide her to the opportunities she needed. And He did. A few months later, a PathwayConnect gathering location opened near her home.
“When I got word that PathwayConnect would open in my town, I knew my prayers had been answered. I quickly registered and encouraged others to do the same,” Ashley recalled. “I called the Pathway missionaries and told them that if they needed help recruiting, I was their girl.”
What Ashley did in PathwayConnect renewed her hope in her own life
Through Ashley’s efforts, just enough students enrolled in PathwayConnect to have the gathering location approved. When Ashley heard the news, she was overjoyed. As the first semester drew near, she felt anxious to begin her courses and by the end of the second week, the program had already exceeded her expectations.
“I cannot think of a better time in my life to have learned about disciple leadership, goal setting, and lifelong learning,” Ashley said. “In the Foundations of the Restoration course, the testimonies of the early Saints and their valiant efforts to succeed reminded me of how precious my testimony and my desire to learn is to me.”
The way Ashley studied her scriptures changed as she read the Book of Mormon. She began to see the stories in a new light and how they could apply to her life in that moment.
“The Book of Mormon was colorful,” Ashley recalled. “I could picture Lehi and his family in their struggles in the wilderness. I recognized Lehi as a man of God. The stories I had read for years touched my heart.”
For Ashley, PathwayConnect meant a change of heart
By the time Ashley completed PathwayConnect, her purpose for enrolling changed. She was still looking forward to the inexpensive schooling to come, but PathwayConnect now had a new purpose in her life.
For Ashley, it meant a new hope for her and her children. It meant a strengthened and renewed testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It meant becoming a better mother and woman of God. It meant a change of heart.
“I don’t think a change of heart happens only once or twice in our lives,” Ashley explained. “I hope it happens over and over again. And PathwayConnect helped me recognize one of those times in my life. It changed my heart to become more of the woman I am meant to be.”
PathwayConnect was Ashley’s compass on her roadmap to success
The change in perspective Ashley experienced came from persistent scripture study and a desire to succeed in the program. The word of God is the roadmap to success, and for Ashley, PathwayConnect was the compass that guided her toward the path she needed to take.
“BYU-Idaho Online has been such a blessing for me, and more than simply academically. The same spirit that I felt through my PathwayConnect courses has continued in my upper-level courses as well. I’ve formed great relationships with classmates that I keep in contact with and who have been a blessing in my life.”
As Ashley has progressed, she has seen PathwayConnect as one of the greatest choices she has made and encourages everyone to see for themselves.
“Spending a year in PathwayConnect is one of the best investments I have made for my future,” Ashley said. “I would encourage anyone who wants a better job to return to school or who just needs a direction in their life to seriously consider investing in the one-year program.”
Ashley is currently taking online courses and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in public health in July 2018. After graduation, Ashley plans on attending the University of Montana to earn a master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in community health and prevention sciences.
Through PathwayConnect, students have the opportunity to obtain a university degree at an affordable cost. Learn more at byupathway.lds.org.