March 31, 2022
A special spirit of unity exists at BYU-Pathway Worldwide as students from all over the world gather together and participate in courses that incorporate the teachings of Jesus Christ. In an increasingly divisive world, BYU-Pathway values each student’s unique perspective and strives to build unity across religious, cultural, economic, and geographic boundaries.
While BYU-Pathway is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, students of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome. Enrico Occiano, a student from the Philippines, said, “Even if we live in different parts of the world, our needs remain the same. Different cultures and traditions make this world an exciting place to live.”
Regardless of location and circumstance, BYU-Pathway students are united by similar needs, including accessing higher education, supporting families, and becoming more self-reliant.
Finding faith and friendship
South African student Christiana Douglas was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, but BYU-Pathway was an answer to her prayers. She felt lonely and wanted to continue her education but didn’t know how. “I prayed every day about my situation, for the strength to change my life, and for my studies,” she said. “I think God also saw that I came to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and that I was repenting.”
A short while later, Christiana’s cousin invited her to join BYU-Pathway. “I saw from the beginning that this was all God’s plan,” said Christiana. “As I was attending my gatherings, the hospitality and the loving hearts of my classmates and instructor were most delightful.”
Christiana’s experience brought her everything she’d been searching for. “Enrolling in BYU-Pathway has been such a wonderful blessing to me,” she shared. “I have made really amazing friends. BYU-Pathway also showed me that I am a hard worker and a dedicated student. I will forever be grateful.”
In addition to new friendships, Christiana gained a desire to come closer to Jesus Christ. With the support of her gathering group, friends, and family, she decided to join the Church and was baptized in November 2021.
Strengthening a foundation
Leone Matavesi, a BYU-Pathway student from Fiji, is a faithful member of the Catholic church. His wife, Jocelyn, is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and introduced him to BYU-Pathway. Before Leone started the program, the service missionaries over his group contacted him and explained the spiritual nature of the program. Leone was excited by the idea of learning more about Jesus Christ.
Participating in BYU-Pathway was no small commitment — Leone traveled 24 hours each week since virtual gatherings were not available at the time. When asked what made it worth it, he said, “Meeting up with different people who had different experiences.”
Leone also enjoyed strengthening his own religious foundation. “Listening to people in my classes talking about Jesus Christ, it got to me,” he said. “It made me really want to know more. That interest made me keep trying and wanting to move forward.”1
Because of his experience, Leone makes an effort to share BYU-Pathway with friends and family. “After class I would come home, gather my friends around, and start sharing [what I was learning] with them,” he said. “I want them to learn about these good things I’ve experienced.”
United by education
BYU-Pathway students are regularly strengthened by the unique experiences of a diverse student body — a worldwide network of believers united in their efforts to further their education, strengthen their faith, and improve their homes, congregations, and communities.