So a year ago, when I found out that not only were we going, but we we had a chance to go on the real National Historic Trail, and push handcarts up this historically notorious place:
I was IN. Which was good, because The Brain and I were also in Charge.
Anyway - It was amazing. There's no way to do an event like this without a crazy supportive ward -- and our ward jumped in right from the start. Then the committee, the support crew, the leaders, and the kids were all beyond wonderful - which really made it so we could do and see a LOT of cool things.
Silent River Crossings
Noisy River Crossings
and of course
Rock Creek Hollow
And through the week, even through all the
And seemingly endless walking...
...every single kid made it the whole 47 miles. And some of us even walked an extra 3 so we could have bragging rights to 50 miles.
We had a blast! We learned a ton about the pioneers, and why they did what they did. But that wasn't really the point of the experience. We never wanted anyone to have a testimony of the pioneers, or the trek. We wanted them to have a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
I was so proud of the youth for making the connection that Heavenly Father loves ALL his children, and he asks all of them to do hard things. The hard things in our lives are different from the hard things the pioneers did, but that doesn't mean he loves any of us better or worse. He just wants us all to know that we can do hard things with His help. And that is the key -- to ask for His help. Because with Him, we can and will get through all life's mud, wind, and rainstorms, and we will come through the other side more devoted to Him and to the gospel, and to our families, and to serving others.
I think they got it, because we had a special testimony meeting in Sacrament Meeting last Sunday after we got home. And the bishop didn't want to cut the kids off, so he kept extending the time, and extending the time, until finally he had to cut it off at 2 1/2 hours because the next ward needed the chapel. So basically I think we all understood a little better after last week, that when we do hard things, it becomes an opportunity to get closer to the Lord.
And that was really the point.
incidentally - -MY hardest thing of the week?
the absence of THESE along the trail.
I mean, srsly - how did people survive?
luckily I have amazing people in my life who kept me hooked up to civilization.