Stay on the path to a better future, Elder Valenzuela tells BYU–Pathway students

The General Authority Seventy’s unique educational path in Mexico shows the blessings of education

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela, a General Authority Seventy, knows from experience that the blessings from education are worth every effort.

“I wish I had BYU–Pathway when I was a returned missionary and going back to school,” Elder Valenzuela recalled to BYU–Pathway Worldwide students during a devotional broadcast on Tuesday, July 11.

Members of the Church are blessed to have resources to help them earn a degree and qualify for a job to enable them to provide for themselves, their loved ones and serve in the Church, Elder Valenzuela said. To illustrate, he shared his own unique path to education.

After serving a full-time mission, Elder Valenzuela moved from his home in Chihuahua, Mexico, to the United States to work and save money to attend Brigham Young University. However, he received a strong impression from the Spirit to return to Mexico to study.

He soon learned, however, that the colleges and universities in Mexico would not recognize his graduation from Juarez Stake Academy, a Church high school in Mexico. He was told he had two options: move back to the United States where his diploma was accepted or go back to high school.

Because of the strong impression from the Spirit to stay in Mexico, Elder Valenzuela decided to reenroll in high school. On the first day of school, he burst into tears at the back of the classroom. “Those moments were challenging,” Elder Valenzuela recalled, “as you can imagine.”

However, during this time he met Pilar Porras, the young woman who would become his wife. “The Lord helped me make the right decision,” Elder Valenzuela said of staying in Mexico. “I met my wife, one of the greatest blessings of my life. I had adequate academic preparation and got an excellent job that would allow me to raise a family in the gospel and provide them with everything they needed.”

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela and Pilar Valenzuela in Salt Lake City, Monday, April 8, 2013.
When they traveled from Mexico to marry in the Mesa Arizona Temple in 1982, Arnulfo Valenzuela and Pilar Porras Valenzuela never imagined their native Mexico would have many temples. | Ravell Call, Deseret News

All truth comes from Heavenly Father and is for the good of His children, Elder Valenzuela taught. “God wants us to educate our minds, improve our skills and perfect our abilities to be a better influence for good in the world.”

Those who become acquainted with truth of all kinds are better prepared to work in the world and serve in the kingdom of God, he said.

The Lord has given the assurance that “if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30).

“I commend to you to stay in the pathway of your covenants with the Lord, as well as BYU–Pathway, which will give you knowledge to take the many opportunities this life has for you,” Elder Valenzuela said.

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