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BYU-Pathway Worldwide Devotional

“To Bear One Another's Burdens”

June 13, 2023
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Brothers and sisters, it is a privilege to speak to you today. In working for BYU-Pathway Worldwide over the past several years, I have witnessed great miracles as the Lord provides opportunities for His children all over the earth. One of the greatest blessings associated with BYU-Pathway is the opportunity to become more like Jesus Christ through education. I have noticed that our Heavenly Father provides personalized lessons to help us become more like our Savior. While these lessons surely come through the classes and curriculum, it’s important to recognize that critical lessons in disciple-leadership will also come through people we associate with in this experience. Today I wish to talk about the role we play in one another’s BYU-Pathway experience.As we’ve been reminded in recent general conference addresses, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of belonging and of community. We seek the Savior not only individually but also collectively by strengthening, supporting, and learning from one another. Mosiah chapter 18 of the Book of Mormon describes how Alma invited the people to be baptized because they were “desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people.” 1 Through his use of words like “the fold of God” and “his people,” we see that Alma was building a community of converts and not just a collection of individuals.

To become a disciple of Jesus Christ means to join with other believers on the covenant path and not to travel the path alone. Alma went on to explain the baptismal covenants to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light,” 2 “mourn with those that mourn,” and “comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” 3 Thus, covenanting to take upon ourselves the name of Christ at baptism means serving, loving, and lifting others; it also means counseling with, learning from, and being served by others. How we feel toward and interact with others plays a very significant role in our eternal progress in becoming like our Savior Jesus Christ. On the covenant path, our path back to Heavenly Parents, you and I are not mere strangers, giving a friendly nod as we pass by other travelers. We’re members of the same company, the same fold — sharing provisions, boosting morale, and even carrying one another at times. At baptism and in the temple, we covenant to be part of this company, this “fold of God.”

President Nelson recently said, “The covenant path is a path of love … that compassionate caring for and reaching out to each other. Feeling that love is liberating and uplifting. The greatest joy you will ever experience is when you are consumed with love for God and for all His children.” 4

Let me provide a few examples of these righteous associations that occur at BYU-Pathway. First, we have recently added peer mentors to the powerful force of service missionaries and instructors supporting BYU-Pathway students. It is inspiring to see these 500 new peer mentors from over 60 countries reach out to students with love and support each week, serving each student as the Savior would.

Franco, a peer mentor, said this about working with his students: “I help my students by connecting with them first. I do this by empathizing with them and finding things in common. Then I ask open-ended questions and try to find cues in their responses to see what their problems really are. Sometimes they just need to be heard, sometimes I offer some advice, and other times I share a gospel principle.”

Daslie, a student, said this about working with her mentor: “Having a peer mentor is a great step toward your goal in BYU-Pathway. Working alone is good, but working with someone that encourages you in your future endeavors and gives you advice with things that you might not understand is much better. I know that whatever happens, she has got my back and I can succeed.”

Another example of a community of disciples supporting one another is the hundreds of PathwayConnect gathering groups that congregate every year. As I have visited PathwayConnect gatherings across the world, I have been impressed by how meaningful the relationships are between students in their gatherings. They truly mourn, comfort, rejoice, and grow together. My sister, who just finished PathwayConnect last semester, told me that many tears were shed and contact information shared among students in her gathering group as their time together came to a close. The gathering is inspired of God to give students and missionaries an opportunity to “bear one another’s burdens that they may be light.” 5

I have personally been blessed by the many wonderful individuals I have known through BYU-Pathway. It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life to associate with the employees, volunteers, and students of BYU-Pathway Worldwide. Just one example of the many great people I’ve come to know through BYU-Pathway is my friend Hasina from Madagascar. I met Hasina when some members of my team and I visited Madagascar in January 2020. Hasina approached me and asked me if I would be willing to help him practice English. So we started sharing a WhatsApp call once a week. Now over three years later, Hasina and I have shared many, many calls. We have counseled together, taught one another, laughed together, cried together, and prayed together. I love my friend Hasina, and I am so grateful that he and all my BYU-Pathway friends are part of my mortal journey.

My friends, I am confident that Heavenly Father guided you to BYU-Pathway, not only to participate in the work of certificates and degrees but to participate in the lives of very specific people along the way. The teaching and learning you experience with these people will help you better understand and become like our Savior.

May I conclude with two invitations? First, I invite you to contemplate the specific associations you have had with people through BYU-Pathway, to convey gratitude to Heavenly Father for them, and to directly express thanks this week to at least one person who has impacted your life at BYU-Pathway. Second, I invite you to see your BYU-Pathway experience as a divinely-appointed opportunity to support and be supported by others — to “bear one another’s burdens that they may be light.” 6

In the coming days, you will have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone at BYU-Pathway, and I encourage you to make a special effort to look up and to reach out. I know that taking these opportunities moves you closer to becoming like our Savior Jesus Christ. May we all embrace the complete opportunity that is BYU-Pathway, to not only pursue certificates and degrees but to fulfill our covenants by lifting, strengthening, and supporting others wherever and whenever we can. This is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.