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September 14, 2020

Beauty from the Ashes

Even after losing her home to a devastating fire, Twyla persisted and finished her education

Twyla Larman

When Twyla Larman learned about BYU-Pathway Worldwide, she knew she had to enroll. She remembered a promise from her patriarchal blessing: “The necessary means are within your reach.” Her determination was sparked from the beginning and carried on through several challenges.

A rebirth of confidence 

Previously, Twyla attended BYU for a couple of semesters. She met and married her husband, Lorin, and moved to Texas to be with him. They started a family together, had eight kids, and her life quickly became too busy for school. 

Many years later, Twyla discovered BYU-Pathway Worldwide while attending a fireside and knew it would be the perfect fit for her. However, beginning PathwayConnect wasn’t easy. “It was almost 30 years since I had been in a classroom, and I was terrified,” Twyla explained. “As much as I wanted to go back to college, I felt like I couldn’t do it. I thought I wasn’t smart enough, I had forgotten too much, and it was going to be too hard.” 

Twyla and Mckay doing gymnastics

Despite her doubts, Twyla knew she wanted to finish her education. Her supportive family made any necessary sacrifices for her to reach this goal. Twyla quickly learned that, by attending the gatherings, she would miss most of her son Mckay’s gymnastic meets. When Mckay learned this, he told her, “Mom, your schooling is important. I’m a freshman and have three more years. As long as you’re there for my senior year, it’s okay.” 

Even though she worried, once Twyla started attending the gatherings, her confidence grew and she knew it was worth it. “The gatherings gave me the confidence that I can do this,” she said. Twyla was able to complete the PathwayConnect program and continued on to pursue a BYU-Idaho online degree in professional studies, presented and coordinated through BYU-Pathway.

Courage in the face of fire

Twyla with her eight kids and two grandchildren

A few semesters into her journey, Twyla woke up to an odd smell of smoke. She tried to ignore it at first but had a bad feeling. “Soon, my eyes were burning. I got up, walked to the kitchen, flipped the light switch, and the whole house went dark again,” she recalled. “I was standing in pitch black because it was still dark outside. I was trying to feel my way back to my room to get a flashlight, when a stranger opened our back door and said, ‘Your house is on fire. You need to get out.’”

Twyla and her family left all their belongings and were able to get out of the house quickly so no one was harmed. However, the following months were brutal. She had to handle tearing down her home, building a new one, living in a hotel for a month, and struggling to find a temporary rental house large enough for her family. 

Additionally, almost all of her belongings were gone. “I had to use public computers at the library for weeks,” she said. “No clothes, no shoes — literally nothing. I still managed to stay on top of my school work. We completely knocked down the house and built a new one in its place. I was a little emotional watching the dump truck haul it off.” 

Twyla receiving her associate degree with her husband, Lorin

Twyla decided to get a priesthood blessing, hoping to receive guidance on what to do next. “‘Our house burned down about two or three days into the semester. It would have been easy to withdraw, drop out, and get all my money back, but I didn’t,” she said. “Some members from our church came over and gave me a blessing. It was one of the most powerful blessings I’ve ever had. They said, ‘Heavenly Father wants you to finish. If you continue, He will provide a way.’” Twyla knew that if she followed this counsel, she would make it. 

A message of hope 

Twyla plans to receive her bachelor’s in professional studies. She believes you receive blessings when your priorities are in the right order. “Heavenly Father blesses you when you put Him and your family first,” she said. “You just have to get your priorities right. For me, any time I put school above my family, the school work was hard. It took me longer, I had a lot of mistakes, and I didn’t get as good of grades. When I put my family and the gospel first, and my school work second, everything else worked out.”

What trials have you conquered while enrolled at BYU-Pathway? Share below!

Comments on "Beauty from the Ashes"

cristian says:

I identify with this history. I’m a seven kids, the moment to get time along for study are little. Sometimes I think that this is too big for me. But I never give up. I feel that the Lord answers my prayers, and I know that my Savior helps me.

tb47eled says:

What an inspiring story! Thank you Twyla for sharing your strengths through the challenging times after your house caught on fire. It is so impressive that you kept your grades up and didn’t let the fact that you had to forgo the ease and comfort of having a computer on hand stop you!
I am in my last semester of Pathways and I’m excited and hopeful that despite my health issues I will succeed also! 🙂
Tiffanie

Ukamaka Ozodinko says:

Wow, Twyla, you are a great woman, sorry for your loss. I also believe that Heavenly Father is mindful of us.

Walter Wisdom says:

Nice one Sis…

Cecilia Lafi says:

Greetings!! Thank you very much for sharing your experience. This has inspired me to carry on and do what Heavenly Father wants me to do.

Alaina Evans says:

Twyla, just starting here with BYU-Pathway. I have not had any major experiences saying, “Go back to school!” I just believe it’ll be a good thing so I’m doing it. It’ll be amazing to look back and see the blessings. I wanted to do it before but we have been out of our home for 5 years from our house fire. Many say it’d been easier if they’d just torn it down but we didn’t get to do that and have had to battle with insurance to get the monies to rebuild/restore. Now we are starting to rebuild/restore. I’ve spent the last year working on plans and this summer have begun working on our home. We are a family of 8 and so I get what you went through. I will remember your story and the sacrifices your family made to support you. They sound so incredible and I am so glad everyone was safe. Thank you for sharing!!

Samuel Udoma Jackson says:

This is one of the best encouraging stories I have heard of recent. You are strong and determined. I believe with this spirit, you’ll make it to your degree! Thanks for sharing!

Annette says:

I really love this inspired experience. Twyla you knew what you had wanted to achieve despite all the challenging moments you remained positive and immovable. I love your courage and determination.

mabelkallon says:

Thanks Sister Twyla and sorry for your lost and I know that God will see you through and always help us all.

Letta Mathe says:

Wow, Twyla – what an incredibly beautiful story of hope, encouragement, courage and trust in the Lord … You are one brave sister.

Thank your for sharing!

Walter Wisdom says:

I just have to get my priorities right to overcome my personal challenges.

Sahr Allieu Sellu says:

It’s really motivating, thank you for sharing this beautiful story

Christopher Dzowa says:

Such an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing with us, it makes great impact in my life to lean on the Lord.

Ema Faonelua says:

Wow, Twyla, what a beautiful inspiring story. This will encourage me on my journey with BYU-Pathway.

Genesis Jimenez says:

I really admire your sacrifice to not give up. Although all the falls that your family and you went through.
But I agree that putting faith, God and family first will make all else work out. I myself have 5 kids. I’m 30 years old. Had a lot to go through but when I knew about PathwayConnect I felt the inspiration of not giving up and enrolling.

God bless you

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