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The Pioneer’s Heart: BYU-Pathway Expands into Ethiopia

On April 17, 15 students became the very first BYU-Pathway class in Ethiopia, making them pioneers for their families and their country

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Thanks to his faith, Matewos explained, “when things get difficult, I don’t want to give up.”

At the beginning of 2023, about a year after returning from his mission, Matewos Rundasa received an unusual text message from his district president asking for his BYU-Pathway Worldwide account information. Matewos was confused because BYU-Pathway hadn’t arrived in their home country of Ethiopia yet;, however he had made an account in anticipation of its arrival.

When Matewos asked his branch president why he needed the information, he responded, because BYU-Pathway is starting in Ethiopia in two weeks. Matewos was stunned. He, along with many returned missionaries, had waited years for this news.

“I felt the Spirit so strongly. I couldn’t believe it. I was very, very happy, and I was excited. BYU-Pathway is a blessing for most of us because we need help, and it does help us — those who can’t help themselves.”

On April 17, Ethiopia became the newest of over 180 countries to be a part of BYU-Pathway. Matewos and his 14 classmates became pioneers for their families and their country.

BYU-Pathway is a blessing for most of us because we need help, and it does help us — those who can’t help themselves.

Answer to prayers

BYU-Pathway’s arrival in the country marks a exciting moment of hope, explained Tasara Makasi, BYU-Pathway’s international area manager of East and Central Africa.

“Many members of the Church have eagerly waited for this moment. I am so excited that members and friends of the Church in Ethiopia can now access the blessings of education through BYU-Pathway.” 1
Rachel Sterzer Gibson, “BYU-Pathway Worldwide expands to another African nation,” The Church News, June 9, 2023,
These students are modern-day pioneers for their communities.

Student Yenealem Debebe Hailu explained how much BYU-Pathway meant to her.

“Being part of the BYU-Pathway program has blessed me with the knowledge of how much Heavenly Father is thoughtful of His children and concerned about them getting an education. I have seen that [this program] is inspired by God.” 2

Both Matewos and Yenealem found the combination of spiritual and temporal learning at BYU-Pathway precious and uplifting. For Matewos, having the spirit is the key to making sense of any subject.

“If I only increase my physical knowledge, and I don’t know about spiritual things, then it won’t make sense. If I know where I am going spiritually then I can increase my faith and keep God’s commandments.”

Finally, Matewos's search was over. “Now, I have hope.”

Room enough

Everyone is entitled to the blessings that come from a gospel-centered education.
The Lord told the ancient prophet Malachi to tell the people to follow His commandment to see “if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” 3 Today, just as anciently, Heavenly Father still gives abundantly. When BYU-Pathway came to Ethiopia, it wasn’t limited to blessing just members of the Church. Ethiopians of different faiths and backgrounds have all come together to benefit from educational tools provided by BYU-Pathway. Of the 15 pioneering students, six of them belong to different faiths and are all associated with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Peace, a government organization designed to promote peace among Ethiopia’s diverse regions and peoples. 4
Gibson, "BYU-Pathway Worldwide expands to another African nation." See also “Ministry of Peace Ethiopia,” Development Aid, updated May 25, 2023,

The whole nation of Ethiopia now has access to the blessings of a divinely inspired and directed program designed to enable deep spiritual, personal, and financial growth. What has started as a small class of 15 students will begin to expand to all those who, like Matewos, are looking for hope.

The first Ethiopian PathwayConnect group — which includes Matewos, Yenealem, and their 13 classmates — just completed their first term in June, and they are currently completing their second term.

Ethiopia's First BYU-Pathway Gathering Group