February 8, 2021
I was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan. I was an excellent student in school — after every midterm and final exam, I was listed among the top students. I was even fortunate enough to study abroad in Utah for a year during my junior year of high school. However, by the time I graduated, I wasn’t personally prepared or financially ready to apply to college. Because I was old enough to serve a mission, I submitted my papers and served in the Japan Sendai Mission.
After returning home, I worked for my uncle’s company and slowly prepared to pursue higher education. At that time, I met a wonderful woman. As our relationship became more serious, I asked if she would be willing to accompany me to attend a Church university in the United States someday, like I had always planned. She readily agreed. I felt that everything was falling into place!
However, about two months into our marriage, we found out that my wife was pregnant with twins. After praying hard about the matter, we decided to give up on going to college and instead prioritize their safety. I resolved to work hard and provide for my family.
When my wife was five months pregnant, the doctor at the hospital told us that one of the twins was not able to take in nutrients as well as the other and had stopped growing. This meant she would likely die in the womb and the surviving twin would potentially have a significant disability. My wife was so shocked by this announcement that she burst into tears. I was strangely able to remain calm, and now I believe it was the peace that comes from the Spirit. I told my wife not to worry, and I fasted and gave a blessing to her and the children. The twins grew normally after that, and on their expected due date, my wife delivered two healthy baby girls.
We had some challenging times after that, but the Lord blessed my family abundantly. I was able to get a good job and provide for my family even though I was not highly educated. However, deep within, I continued to have the desire to study in college. I was very happy to find out that it would be possible to take online courses through BYU‑Pathway Worldwide here in Yokohama, Japan.
Nonetheless, I had some concerns. At the time, I often had to work late and was also serving as the bishop of our ward. I prayed and discussed the matter with my wife and decided to try my best to pave the way for my dream of earning a degree by signing up for BYU‑Pathway courses. I also wanted to set a good example for my daughters and son, so that they would understand the importance of getting an education.
I have since completed BYU‑Pathway Worldwide’s PathwayConnect and am now pursuing a bachelor’s degree online in applied business management. It’s amazing!
I’ve received blessings from the practical skills learned through BYU‑Pathway. The COVID-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on the company I worked for, and I was laid off along with many fellow employees. I began looking for a new job. Much to my surprise, one of my course lessons at that time was called “Finding a Better Job,” which gave specific information about how to write an effective resume in English, how to promote myself, how to use LinkedIn, etc. I immediately applied the skills I learned and was able to find a great new company to work for.
I started learning with BYU‑Pathway in the hope of setting a good example and having a positive impact on those around me, but I have actually found that I am the one who has received the most blessings. The Lord is preparing the way for all of His children — regardless of age — to receive a higher education.
To learn more about BYU‑Pathway Worldwide, visit byupathway.org.