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Modern Pioneers

An inside look at the pioneer spirit of BYU-Pathway Worldwide


Many times in my life, I have heard cliché comments about how someone wishes he or she was alive in a past generation to experience a life different from their own. One of the most common comments I have heard is, “I would have rather lived in the time of the Church pioneers.”

Just like the early Saints, BYU-Pathway employees are having to make tough decisions.

The phrase, “The grass is greener on the other side,” comes to mind, but it is as if they are saying, “the grass seems less dead on the other side.” Comparing hardships is never fair; every trial in life is tailored to what an individual can handle, and this is not the same for everyone. In addition, there are still members of the Church today that must leave everything behind as they make decisions that can alter the path of their lives.

The Church pioneers had it rough by anyone’s standards, yet modern-day pioneers face similar difficult decisions and struggles.

BYU-Pathway Pioneers

With the announcement of BYU-Pathway Worldwide (BYU-PW), all Pathway employees (excluding student staff) located at the home office on the BYU-Idaho campus are invited to move with the organization down to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Clark Gilbert
On May 1st, Clark Gilbert will become the president of BYU-Pathway Worldwide.

Once again, members of the Church are being asked to discover for themselves, and their families, if this is the path God intends for them. Does God wish for them to leave behind life as they know it? Do they feel it is best to leave Rexburg and follow BYU-PW to Utah, or do they feel directed to stay in Rexburg, Idaho, as part of the Lord’s plan?

President Clark Gilbert made it clear that all employees were invited to come if they choose, and he recognizes the sacrifices that will be made by many. He truly cares about each of his employees, and he wants them to make the best choice for themselves and their families. “I invite you to be praying about your role here,” said President Gilbert. “There is an invitation to everyone to be a part of this organization.”

A Fly on the Wall

I currently work as a full-time, temporary employee with BYU-Pathway, and I have a truly unique opportunity to see what these Saints are feeling up close. They have questions about the new company, about the move, and about the work. They strive to seek help and guidance from one another. I see that each employee takes this decision home to his or her family every night, seeking revelation from God to discover what path is best for them.

Every individual is having their own experience with this announcement. For some, the decision is taking longer, and more information is required to know how this will affect them. A few have spouses who work in the area. Many have children they want to consider and involve in the decision process. Others have been able to see how the Lord has been preparing them for this change over time. Every individual is having a different experience with this announcement.

Seeing the many reactions to this momentous change has taught me several lessons:

  1. We must seek revelation for ourselves, and we cannot accept another’s answer as our own.
  2. The Lord speaks to each of us in unique ways, and His timing to answer and give direction varies.
  3. There are thousands of people praying for BYU-Pathway Worldwide to succeed.
  4. There are hundreds of people praying for Pathway employees with their decision.
  5. Pathway employees genuinely care about one another. Each day they check on one another to offer support and encouragement.
  6. Change is HARD to handle, but it is easier with faith in God and in His plan.

Not many people get to witness faithful Saints seeking to follow God, as I now see it in this position. Although each individual must choose what they will do, employees have chosen to support one another. They have chosen to encourage each other in whatever God wants for them. Many are going to make the journey to Salt Lake, others are undecided, and some will stay in Rexburg. All of these Saints are examples of faith to me. All are modern pioneers acting in faith to follow the will of God.

Pathway’s full-time employees are an example of modern-day pioneers.

Onward to New Paths

Regardless of what happens to me in this transition, I will thank God for the chance I had to see so many of His children seeking to know what He would have them do. I will always be grateful for the outstanding mentors I had and their example to me while I have been a part of Pathway.

BYU-Pathway Worldwide will be in great hands with President Gilbert leading the way, and with a family of Pathway employees moving from Rexburg to Salt Lake City. They bring with them a pioneer spirit. God is working another great and mighty miracle on the face of the earth for His children, and He has several wonderful people making sacrifices to bring this work to pass.

Mark Johnson works as a temporary, full-time employee for BYU-Pathway as an operations specialist. If you would like to read more of Mark’s articles, check out his published work on LinkedIn!