When he is not working as assistant to the mayor, working for an online education institution in his area, serving as branch president or spending time with his wife and daughter, Raul Hidalgo, a senior studying business, is taking online BYU-Idaho classes to further his education.
“I have lived in Mexico my whole life,” Hidalgo said. “Now, I live in Quecholac, Puebla, since September 2012.”
Hidalgo was baptized in 2002, a few months after his cousins had done the ordinance work for his recently deceased father in the temple.
“I felt the impression to learn more about the Church in 2001,” he said. “I know now it was because my father accepted the gospel in the other side of the veil, testifying to me that any promise made in this or in the other side of the veil will be fulfilled.”
Hidalgo said he first heard about BYU-I while serving in the Mexico Torreon Mission, and upon hearing about the school, he had the desire to attend.
“I earned my bachelor’s degree of Law from the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla,” Hidalgo said. “I began to study law before I served in the mission.”
He said he wanted to study business management as soon as he returned from his mission, but he had promised his mother he would finish his law degree so he returned to law for a few years.
“I was a legal assistant for two years while I was studying law; this was for the government of the town of Tecamachalco,” Hidalgo said. “Also, I worked for the office of the Government of the State of Puebla that is related with taxes.”
Hidalgo said he worked to improve his situation and eventually had a well-paying managerial position, which blessed him and his family when he made the decision to take part in the Pathways program.
“I work for the Instituto de Educación Digital del Estado de Puebla (Puebla State Institute of Digital Education),” Hidalgo said. “This is the school of the Government of the State of Puebla for online and part-time education.”
Hidalgo said he is the regional representative and works with the online and part-time schools.
“I am the adviser of the Mayor of the town of Quecholac, Puebla, Mexico,” he said. “This is for education policy and other issues related with general management.”
Hidalgo said he has been working for the mayor since 2014.
“I decided to participate in the Pathway program in 2010 when the pilot program for Puebla, Mexico, was announced,” he said. “When it began in 2011, I submitted the application, and I was accepted, knowing that this would be a blessing for my life.”
Hidalgo said one of the best things that has come from Pathway and his online classes was finding his wife.
“Talking with brother Rob Eaton for my Pathway graduation in April 2012, he told me that my wife was in Mexico,” Hidalgo said.
He said, though he worried that Mexico was pretty big, he trusted in the Lord and followed the counsel and future impressions he would receive.
“And, I found my wife, Rosa Elena Cruz Arreguín, because the Spirit guided me to find her,” he said. “I felt that I promised before we came to the Earth that I would find her and I did it.”
Hidalgo said he is happy and has peace because he trusted in the Holy Ghost.
“I found her in May 2012, I asked her to marry me in June 2012 in the Celestial Room of the Mexico City Temple, and we were married and sealed on September 2012,” he said. “The Pathway program helped me to find direction and keep doing what the Holy Ghost teaches me.”
Hidalgo said his experiences in his BYU-I classes have also given him the assurance and confidence that he can provide the necessities for his family.
“I learned about Family Search taking one class, and I and my wife did the work for some of my ancestors,” he said. “We felt how they were present and received the ordinances at the Holy Temple.”
Hidalgo said he feels blessed that he can share these things with his family and can feel the trust of Heavenly Father.
“He knows us and he is giving us the tools to build the Kingdom of God through BYU-Idaho and all the programs of the Church,” he said.
Raul Hidalgo’s wife, Rosa Hidalgo, said she was impressed by her husband’s work ethic.
“It was very funny, because he was always doing his homework, even in our dates,” she said.
Rosa Hidalgo said she feels the online learning is worth all of the effort Hidalgo is putting into it.
“It is an eternal investment in behalf of our little family,” she said.
She said her husband has been able to take on the role of a disciple leader as he continues to apply what he learns and serves in the community.
“My husband is our branch´s president, and his education is helping him not only to get a degree but to show the gospel standards everywhere he works, especially at Church,” Rosa Hidalgo said.
Rosa Hidalgo said Raul Hidalgo is always encouraging members of the branch to study, learn more about Heavenly Father’s plan and take advantage of educational opportunities.
Hidalgo said his experience in the pathways and online programs through BYU-I has been a faith-promoting experience and has taught him skills which have blessed his life.
“The experience has been a great way to strengthen my testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ and to help in His work,” he said. “I learned that all issues are spiritual and I have applied these principles.”
Hidalgo said he received his associates degree in 2014 and hopes to earn his bachelors in business management by July of this year.