In April Doug and I were asked to be Ma and Pa on this year Stake Trek. I will say we VERY reluctantly said yes. We knew we were in over our heads with the campaign and our church callings and our regular stuff we got going on- planting a garden, mowing's, prunings, watering, kids and so forth... So the more we got involved in the trek prep, the worse our attitude got- I am not kidding when I say for at LEAST 6 weeks I was not my best self!
We had just gotten back from an amazing family vacation to CA and we had one week to prep for the trek, we weren't prepared in anyway. BUT, Doug and I both agreed that our nasty, naughty, stinkin' attitude NEEDED to be checked at the door when we left. We KNEW that the kids that were assigned to our family DESERVED to have an awesome trek experience. Doug had an exam that was due the following week, for the Idaho State PLS. We hadn't been home long enough between vacation and trek to figure out if all our chores were caught or bills paid or what two teenage boys would be doing while we were away- ALL of this we bundled up and left it at the door. We had to, we didn't have a choice, we had to let the Lord take care of all the "STUFF" so we could do what we were supposed to do- what that was, we had NO idea! But went we did- On the bus ride there, I called my Mom because I thought I should at least have a personal pioneer story to share with my family or at least to reflect on while trekking.
She shared with me the story of my great, great, grandmother who at the age of 7, with her brother, age 6, crossed the plains by themselves. I still can't believe they lived through the experience. The Mom at Winter Quarters, decided to leave the family and head to California and the Dad was called to go ahead with Brigham Young's group to make way for the saints. A family was asked to take the kids, and really left them to fend for themselves. They made it and eventually the Father found his kids and were happily reunited.
So I had my story and some that we were provided with in our trek journals. We were assigned our family, our cart, our flag and off we went. It was long, hot, dusty... and the most amazing experience! First of all, we were assigned the most amazing kids in the entire Stake. We SO lucked out- that's my opinion! The spirit was so strong, one of Stake leaders commented that he felt the spirit was as strong out there in sage brush as strong as anywhere in the Temple. I agreed. When we would have our family devotionals the spirit was so strong, I couldn't help but think, here we are, in the middle of the dessert, stinky, filthy, sunburned, not one thing was without dust or dirt, not anything you would ever see enter the chapel, let alone the temple. Yet the spirit was so strong, the love felt for each other was so unexpected and so amazing. We watched the testimony of these kids grow right before our eyes, literally. I couldn't believe it.
After having this amazing trek experience and looking back on it from the very beginning, I realise now, that Satan had a very major part in trying to ruin the experience for not just us but for the kids that were in our family- Would I go again, ABSOLUTELY, would I recommend it for your kids, in a minute.
What did I learn about the pioneers? Honestly, not so much- it didn't matter, because what I learned was of our Saviors amazing love for each of us! I learned more fully of His atonement, of His service, of His gospel. I learned that we ALL are to stand as a witness for Him- ALWAYS.
And so I shall.