Sunday, June 3, 2012

Now It's Getting Personal

I think everyone who has ever been on a trek has a story to share.  In fact, they probably have many stories, some of them funny, some of them difficult, some of them inspiring.

Here is a piece of my trek story.

Four years ago I was serving in the young women when the stake held a meeting for leaders to announce that we would be doing a trek for youth conference.  I attended the meeting and listened intently, taking notes to pass on to other leaders and my girls.  I wanted to be sure I had everything I needed to encourage my girls to take part in this activity.  I knew it could change their lives.

Then those leading the meeting asked for volunteers to attend trek as ma's and pa's or in other capacities.  I sort of froze. 

You see, when I was 16 I participated in a pioneer trek.  This was way back when treks were new so no one really had much experience with them.  This was also one of those go without eating much treks.  We were given a can of beef broth for breakfast that day and then we had to drink water out of that can for the rest of the day (beef broth tainted water does NOT taste very refreshing in case you were wondering).  For lunch we had an apple and a piece of beef jerky.  I don't regret going on this trek; I learned a lot and my testimony definitely grew.  However, it was not an experience I was anxious to repeat (especially now that I am getting old and tired and lazy). 

The stake leaders passed around a sign up sheet and when it got to me I held it for a moment and then quietly passed it along. I didn't put my name down.

When I got home that night I got down on my knees for a chat with my Father in Heaven.  I told Him that I didn't want to go.  I told Him that trek is not my favorite thing in the world and that I would work hard to get my girls excited for it, but that I would rather not be there myself.  However, then I told Him that I trusted Him and if He wanted me to go, I would go.

Well, He obviously has a sense of humor because a few days later my husband and I got a call from the stake and we were asked to be a Ma and Pa for the trek.  My husband was THRILLED!  He could hardly wait.  Me, not so much.  But we both said yes and we started planning and preparing for youth conference.  And I started praying...some more.  I prayed that I would have a change of heart and that we would be able to help the kids in our assigned family feel the spirit and have a good experience (and maybe some fun too).

Fast forward two months into the summer and find us planted in nowheresville Wyoming with a family that wasn't really our family, but that really felt like it was for a few days.  There you will see us struggling and working as we push and pull and drag and force our handcart over rocks and rivers and through sand and mud.  There you will see me and my little group of daughters straining to maneuver our handcart up the steepest part of the trail for the "women's pull."  There you will see my husband giving blessings to our newly acquired teenage children and see me sneaking off behind the tent to chat with someone who is sad or homesick.  There you will witness our sons glued to the pulling bar as they joke and tell stories with their "father."  You will see tears in our eyes as we quietly walk through Martin's Cove and feel its tender spirit while we reverently talk about what happened there.  You will see water fights and fabulous food (no starving on this trek) and lack of fashion and oh so much Gold Bond (Don't forget your Gold Bond!!).  You will find us reading scriptures and sharing testimonies and laughing and playing pranks and feeling the sweet, deep spirit of the pioneers that settles over the trails they traveled and the places they passed.

(Our Trek Family 2008)

I will ever be grateful to a Heavenly Father who didn't give me what I wanted, but instead gave me what was best for me. 

And because of this experience I can tell you, very personally, that trek will change your life.  Trek will humble you and strengthen you and push you to your limits.  But more importantly, trek will bring you closer to your Father in Heaven and will lead you toward His vision of what your life can be.

Whether you are thrilled to walk these pioneer paths or you are apprehensive and maybe a little bit scared to plunge into this adventure I am telling you to go.  But don't do it for me (like you even know me), do it for you and for your relationship with Heavenly Father.  Pray for strength, pray for peace, but go...and expect your life to be changed for the better.   

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