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November 4, 2019

Miles of Faith

Oliver found something he wasn't looking for that would change his life forever

Oliver Toledo

In 2014, stressed with financial burdens and taking care of a young family, Oliver Toledo decided to attend the temple in his home country of Guatemala while on a business visit in the city. While in the temple, something unexpected happened that would change his life forever. “I felt the impression to talk to somebody else that was there,” he said. “… and for some reason, our conversation turned to [education], and that was the first time I heard about [BYU-Pathway].”

Because he was too far from the PathwayConnect gathering in Guatemala, Oliver decided not to pursue education through BYU-Pathway at the time. It wasn’t until years later when he, his wife, and their three children were living in Boston, Massachusetts, that he realized the program was now accessible to him.

Oliver and his PathwayConnect group

With such a busy life taking care of his young family, the program didn’t seem like a good fit. Shortly after, he had a dream where he heard these words: “The only way to success is through education.”Oliver knew that he needed to take the opportunity to receive an education, even though it would be a difficult road and would require sacrifice and faith. “I had three kids,” Oliver shared, “I was working in a warehouse, making nine dollars an hour, working 40 hours a week, and we didn’t even have an apartment.” But Oliver, following his impression, decided to pursue higher education through BYU-Pathway.

In his second semester of PathwayConnect, Oliver’s third daughter was born and he was working a full-time and part-time job. With added responsibilities, Oliver said there were many times he would fall asleep while doing homework. However, he understood the role of education in providing a better future for his family. “No doubt the Lord saw something that I could not see with this educational model.”

The Toledo family’s belongings packed into their U-haul

Once Oliver finished PathwayConnect, he and his family packed their things in a small van, rented the smallest moving trailer available, and threw out anything else that wouldn’t fit — all so Oliver could attend BYU-Idaho on campus. “We only took our clothes and our kids’ beds and some other personal things, and we started our journey to Idaho.”

Just two hours into their drive, their car broke down — a time which Oliver referred to as a “moment of decision.” The family could either turn back to Boston or try to move forward. 

Oliver expressed the emotions he and his wife felt in that moment: “What were we thinking? Now we cannot go back because everything is in the trash. We don’t have a place to go back to. What do we do? We have our kids in our car, we have our things, and we have 2,000 miles ahead. What do we do?”

He continued, “It took me a minute, while crying, then I told my wife, looking into her eyes, ‘We’re going to make it. We’re going to drive the car. I felt that we needed to go there, and we’re going to go there.’”

The Toledo family inside the van on their way to Rexburg

For six days, in a car that could only drive in first and third gears, pushing it to drive 40–70 miles per hour (64–112 kmph), the family made it across the country to Rexburg, Idaho. One week later, the car broke down completely.

Oliver said, “With common sense, the first thing anyone will do is go back and call a mechanic and do something with the vehicle. Nobody will take all of his family and say, ‘Okay, let’s keep driving.’ But that’s how we did it.” He and his family arrived in Rexburg in 2017.

Today, Oliver and his family are living in Boston while he does a temporary internship at the John Hancock Tower, which is one of the most famous buildings in Boston. “[BYU-Pathway] was the door to the future opportunities that I’m having.”

Oliver at BYU-Idaho

After he and his family return from Boston, Oliver will have just two semesters until he graduates with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. His favorite part of the program was seeing “people in the same circumstances that [he] was in, making a future, and trying not to quit.” He said he was surrounded by people who believed that education would be the difference in their lives, “knowing that something greater will come in the future if [they] continue.”

Oliver knows there is hope through BYU-Pathway. “We make our destiny,” he said. “The Church has provided everything that we need to be successful in terms of religion and in terms of the education of the world.”

The Toledo family’s first time in Salt Lake City, Utah

Oliver’s story of sacrifice, hard work, and faith is a story that many BYU-Pathway students share and it’s a testimony that with the Lord, all things are possible. He also attributes his success to his wife, Helen, who he says, “has been the greatest supporter of our dreams.”

Like Oliver, how have you overcome obstacles in your life to be able to reach your goals? Comment below!




Comments on "Miles of Faith"

Johannes Swartbooi says:

All the stories I read of former students are so true of every day struggles. How many times did I attempt to study but every time I look back I only see a pile of responsibilities waiting for me.

Walter Wisdom says:

Through prayer and focus I have been able to overcome obstacles in my life to be able to reach my goals.

Luis Robles says:

Thanks for the example and for setting a path for success that we all can follow!

Brian McGauley says:

Oliver, you truly are an inspiration. Keep on trekin, my dude.

Fabiola Carolina Valladares Arriola de Carrasco says:

Thank you Oliver for your amazing example of faith and sacrifice.

Samuel Ndubuisi says:

If there is anyone who needed to see this, it is I. I’m on a similar path as Oliver and I pray God grants me strength not to give up.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece.

Lauren Conrad says:

Samuel, God loves you and will help you overcome your challenges!

Heather Kearns says:

Wonderful story of faith, courage, and determination. I am an online student who began in Pathway.

Linda Simmons says:

What an inspirational story. I can visualize your precious young family and your perseverance in being steadfast despite all of your difficulties. You are truly a family of great faith and I know that Heavenly Father will bless you. Thank you for sharing your story.

Bandi Emmanuel says:

Brother Oliver’s story is so touching, for sure I do also have two kids and my family is young, and I decided to pursue my education in Pathway, but at the moment I have no job, I am just earning on day to day bread. It’s really a struggle for my family, and I reached a time when I wanted to withdraw from the program, but a friend told me to keep striving…and I am still striving because I don’t own a laptop for courses, I am just borrowing from a friend, which is stressful for me. For sure I don’t know what to do now.

Lauren Conrad says:

Emmanuel, the Lord is aware of you and your struggles. He understands your situation and will bless you for your efforts! Your example is very inspiring, and it’s clear that you’ve made many sacrifices to receive an education.

jaro14 says:

Inspiring! Moving forward is the key to reach a destination. whatever that destination we chose too. Like oliver the answer is always up to us, with our head gaze upon heaven we know we can make it.

Gisela Escobar says:

Thank you Brother Oliver for your example of not giving up! I know you did a great job!

TkTanner says:

Oliver, your story is one of total faith and perfect perseverance! Thank you for sharing! The scriptures teach that the Lord won’t give us anything we can’t handle and you are an example of not giving up. Maybe you look at your new problems or obstacles that come up and you scoff at them and say, “This is nothing! I can do anything now!”

Mark N. Geffie says:

This story is wonderful and exciting, very inspiring.

jwsipor says:

I am touched by Oliver’s story and it gives me some level of inspiration. I am not too far from Oliver’s situation; we both are treading the same path. But I am overwhelmed and so touched.

Lauren Conrad says:

The Lord will help and guide you, just like He did for Oliver!

Garmai Velecial Gaypue says:

Nice post and great experience of diligence and hard work for a successful life as well. Hope to become successful after my struggle at last.

Monica Manzo says:

Oliver you are an inspiration! Well done, I hope I can get my bachelor’s degree too one day.

Mel Ralph Philip says:

Thank you. I pray I could do the same in the Lord’s Way.

Alex Benitez says:

Great Story, thank you so much for sharing, thank you Oliver for the example of moving forward.

Oliver T says:

Thanks Alex!

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