Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thinking ahead

As we slowly trudge closer to the dates for our youth conference trek (tomorrow there will be only 100 days until trek) there is a lot that you can do to prepare for the experience that lies ahead.

It is probably a good idea for you to stay physically active in the months preceding the trek so that your body isn't too shocked when you suddenly ask it to work really hard.

However, spiritually preparing for trek is important as well.  Just as exercise stretches and develops our physical muscles so that they are ready for the rigors of pulling a handcart over the miles, so our minds can be stretched and developed so that they become tuned and ready to focus on the blessings trek has in store for us. 

To help hone those spiritual muscles you might want to consider a few of the following activities.  These would be great to do as youth groups, family groups, friend groups or even on your own.  By keeping trek in the forefront of our minds we will be better prepared to welcome in the feelings and experiences that our Heavenly Father has in store for us.  It might also help you influence someone else and help them choose to be part of trek as well.


*Have an outdoor pioneer breakfast.  Consider cooking over a fire or in Dutch ovens.

*Go for a hike.  Carry a pack with supplies and take time to appreciate the world God has given you.  Be sure to sing "Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked" as you go.

*Take a group and go caroling but sing pioneer songs (like "Come, Come Ye Saints" or "The Spirit of God" or "They the Builders of the Nation") instead of Christmas songs.

*Get a group together to make or shop for pioneer clothing.

*Set aside a day and try to live with as few modern conveniences as possible.  Try not to use cell phones, televisions, hair dryers, or the car.  See if you could manage for just one day without some of these modern inventions.

*As part of your family home evening or opening exercises share a true pioneer experience from the original crossing of the plains.  Some stories can be found here and here.  It might be a good idea to share one story or experience each week from now until trek.  Get others involved and take turns. 

*Invite a group to come to your home to watch "Legacy" or "17 Miracles."  (You can watch the entire "Legacy" movie on YouTube at the link above so you could also pull it up as you ride on the bus, while you wait at the dentist, or just on a dull evening at home.)

*Work to memorize the hymn "Carry On" while you get ready in the morning.

*Make your own butter in a jar and eat it as a snack (not by itself, spread it on something first).  You can also make your own ice-cream (just like the pioneers did?).  Enjoy your ice-cream with a pioneer movie.

*Create and share a family home evening or mutual lesson around the talk "Faith in Every Footstep" by Elder Ballard.

*Learn more about the prophet Brigham Young who lead the saints to our Salt Lake Valley.

*Take a class on first aid so that you are able to help your trek family if the need arises.

*Invite a group to an outdoor fireside (around a fire if you can) and ask each person to share a story about their ancestors (whether they are Mormon pioneers or not).

*Put together a group to play pioneer games like these or these.

*Dress in pioneer clothing and then go out to dinner at a local restaurant.  Be prepared for some strange looks and some smiles and maybe even an opportunity to share your testimony.

*Make up your own pioneer song or video like this one or this one. (We'd love to show your appropriate creation on this blog or on our Facebook page.)

*Remember to include your trek family (even if you don't know them yet) in your daily prayers and remember to regularly thank your Heavenly Father for your ancestors, whoever they are, and for the pioneers who crossed the plains so long ago.

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