July 4, 2022
Growing up, I didn’t have much support from my parents. My mom worked night shifts as a nurse, and my dad was addicted to alcohol. I was often left to take care of my three younger brothers. I absolutely love them! Even though this time in my life was very difficult, I’m forever grateful for the strong bond I was able to form with my brothers.
When I was nine years old, there was a brief period when my dad wanted to become an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints again, and he invited the missionaries to our home. Once the missionaries taught us about the Holy Ghost, I knew that I needed the companionship, peace, and guidance of the Holy Ghost in my life. I was baptized a month later. Even though my dad lost interest in the Church and became consumed in alcoholism once again, I walked to church alone every Sunday.
The summer after I graduated from high school, I got married. I soon discovered that my husband had an addiction that distanced us from each other. This was a trying time in my life.
So when my best friend, Katrina, and her mom, Sonia, told me about BYU-Pathway Worldwide, I was ready. She explained that it was a low-cost, spiritually-centered path to an online degree from BYU-Idaho or Ensign College. Being fresh out of high school and not having a lot of money, the affordable price appealed to me.
After enrolling, I turned to my institute classes and the weekly spiritual messages from my instructors whenever my marriage felt isolated and lonely. They motivated me to keep reaching toward my goals, including becoming a marriage and family therapist so I can help unite families.
“The light from my institute classes and academic gatherings gave me hope for the future.”
I completed the first and second terms on my first try, but the emotional and verbal abuse in my marriage continued to grow. I failed my third semester, during which my husband filed for a divorce, and I prayed more than I ever had before.
I enrolled in the third semester a second time. The weight of our divorce made me physically and emotionally unable to do school work, and I failed a second time.
But I didn’t give up. On my third try, I took two institute classes (even though only one was required). I learned about the importance of faith and marrying a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ in the temple and being sealed for eternity. The light from my institute classes and academic gatherings gave me hope for the future.
But even with this new hope, I had fallen behind on my assignments and found myself doubting whether I could catch up. When my service missionaries, Sister Olenslager and Sister Taylor, asked how I was doing, I was honest. They encouraged me to email my instructors, who ended up being eager to help. They even made time to call me and open previous assignments.
After studying hard for two weeks and praying (a lot!), I caught up and passed my last semester with Bs. I plan on continuing my degree online through BYU-Idaho.
A few days after completing PathwayConnect, Sister Olenslager and Sister Taylor joined me as I received my endowment in the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple. Knowing my infinite potential as a daughter of God and the promises learned in the temple, I’ve gained more confidence in my capabilities and eternal future.
BYU-Pathway has taught me how to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ and lead in the way the Savior does. My instructors and service missionaries are great examples to me. Their determination to accomplish their goals and their resolve to do good inspires me. I’m so grateful for the Lord’s hand in my life, guiding me to His gospel and to BYU-Pathway.
Gabby Marz is from Utah, USA. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, singing, dancing, and spending time with her friends and family.