Even after losing her home to a devastating fire, Twyla persisted and finished her education
When Twyla Larman learned about BYU-Pathway Worldwide, she knew she had to enroll. She remembered a promise from her patriarchal blessing: “The necessary means are within your reach.” Her determination was sparked from the beginning and carried on through several challenges.
A rebirth of confidence
Previously, Twyla attended BYU for a couple of semesters. She met and married her husband, Lorin, and moved to Texas to be with him. They started a family together, had eight kids, and her life quickly became too busy for school.
Many years later, Twyla discovered BYU-Pathway Worldwide while attending a fireside and knew it would be the perfect fit for her. However, beginning PathwayConnect wasn’t easy. “It was almost 30 years since I had been in a classroom, and I was terrified,” Twyla explained. “As much as I wanted to go back to college, I felt like I couldn’t do it. I thought I wasn’t smart enough, I had forgotten too much, and it was going to be too hard.”
Despite her doubts, Twyla knew she wanted to finish her education. Her supportive family made any necessary sacrifices for her to reach this goal. Twyla quickly learned that, by attending the gatherings, she would miss most of her son Mckay’s gymnastic meets. When Mckay learned this, he told her, “Mom, your schooling is important. I’m a freshman and have three more years. As long as you’re there for my senior year, it’s okay.”
Even though she worried, once Twyla started attending the gatherings, her confidence grew and she knew it was worth it. “The gatherings gave me the confidence that I can do this,” she said. Twyla was able to complete the PathwayConnect program and continued on to pursue a BYU-Idaho online degree in professional studies, presented and coordinated through BYU-Pathway.
Courage in the face of fire
A few semesters into her journey, Twyla woke up to an odd smell of smoke. She tried to ignore it at first but had a bad feeling. “Soon, my eyes were burning. I got up, walked to the kitchen, flipped the light switch, and the whole house went dark again,” she recalled. “I was standing in pitch black because it was still dark outside. I was trying to feel my way back to my room to get a flashlight, when a stranger opened our back door and said, ‘Your house is on fire. You need to get out.’”
Twyla and her family left all their belongings and were able to get out of the house quickly so no one was harmed. However, the following months were brutal. She had to handle tearing down her home, building a new one, living in a hotel for a month, and struggling to find a temporary rental house large enough for her family.
Additionally, almost all of her belongings were gone. “I had to use public computers at the library for weeks,” she said. “No clothes, no shoes — literally nothing. I still managed to stay on top of my school work. We completely knocked down the house and built a new one in its place. I was a little emotional watching the dump truck haul it off.”
Twyla decided to get a priesthood blessing, hoping to receive guidance on what to do next. “‘Our house burned down about two or three days into the semester. It would have been easy to withdraw, drop out, and get all my money back, but I didn’t,” she said. “Some members from our church came over and gave me a blessing. It was one of the most powerful blessings I’ve ever had. They said, ‘Heavenly Father wants you to finish. If you continue, He will provide a way.’” Twyla knew that if she followed this counsel, she would make it.
A message of hope
Twyla plans to receive her bachelor’s in professional studies. She believes you receive blessings when your priorities are in the right order. “Heavenly Father blesses you when you put Him and your family first,” she said. “You just have to get your priorities right. For me, any time I put school above my family, the school work was hard. It took me longer, I had a lot of mistakes, and I didn’t get as good of grades. When I put my family and the gospel first, and my school work second, everything else worked out.”