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60,000 Miles, 160 Buses, 2 Students

Two students in Peru share what they had to sacrifice to receive the blessings they prayed for

This is the first piece in a two-part series on Eduardo and Miriam , PathwayConnect students in Peru who went to extraordinary lengths to further their education.

Eduardo Quispe and Miriam Navarrete saw an opportunity to follow their dreams and decided to do whatever it took to reach their goals. For them, that meant finding a way from their rural hometown of Ayacucho, Peru, to the distant capital city of Lima every Thursday for PathwayConnect gatherings.

The only travel option was by bus — a bumpy journey nearly nine hours long one way. Eduardo and Miriam had to make tremendous sacrifices to attend, such as taking out loans and quitting a job, but in the end, they were grateful that they did. This two-part series shares their stories, their sacrifices, and their blessings.

Eduardo’s Dream Education

Eduardo had always wanted to obtain a Church-based education, but he thought his educational opportunities were restricted by money and language barriers to local universities.

Eduardo and his wife in Ayacucho, Peru

“About five years ago, I was thinking about the possibility of studying in different local universities,” he said. “It was always my dream to study at a BYU school, but it seemed a difficult goal to achieve because of the high cost of travel, the language barrier, and the process to get a visa.”

So when Pathway announced its expansion to Peru, Eduardo was overjoyed. He saw his educational opportunities broadening.

He recollected, “That same year, the Church announced the opening of PathwayConnect in Peru, and I was so happy because my dream to enroll in a church school was possible. I applied to PathwayConnect and then waited anxiously; then PathwayConnect called me and told me that I was admitted to study. That was one of the happiest days of my life: I could feel the blessings of my Heavenly Father.”

Excited to enroll in PathwayConnect, Eduardo was determined to do whatever it took to study. Then he found out that his weekly PathwayConnect gatherings would be in Lima, over 550 kilometers away from his rural hometown of Ayacucho.

Meeting Obstacles Head-on

Undeterred, Eduardo planned to stay in PathwayConnect, even though attending his gatherings required large amounts of money and time.

He shared this experience: “There were some challenges along the way. One of them was the constant travel to Lima to attend gatherings. Since I am from Ayacucho, a city about eight hours by bus from Lima, meeting this challenge involved great physical effort and financial sacrifice. Every week I had to buy my tickets to travel. And I had to apply for loans to finance the travel expenses, such as tickets, housing, and food.”

With the knowledge that I acquire, I can be a better person and provide for my family.

For Eduardo, PathwayConnect was worth the cost, and his sacrifices brought great rewards. He finally achieved his dream of gaining college education with a Church-based, spiritual foundation. And PathwayConnect helped him become a successful entrepreneur.

“I really like how my teachers link eternal principles to classes. And I also like that with the knowledge that I acquire, I can be a better person. Through using the confidence, writing, and budgeting skills I learned at PathwayConnect, I now have my own business, an art school, which helps me provide for my family,” he said.

PathwayConnect strengthened Eduardo’s faith and confidence. He gives credit to God for these generous blessings and knows that God will always help him face the future: “Thanks to my Heavenly Father, I have overcome all the challenges in my career so far, and I know that with His help I can keep overcoming all future challenges.”

Eduardo completed PathwayConnect and is now a BYU-Idaho online student studying entrepreneurial management .

Was attending PathwayConnect difficult for you? How did you overcome your obstacles?