Sunday, July 25, 2010

Zion or Bust...


Friday for some of our last minute preparations to our Wyoming Handcart Trek, Jim and I went to the Temple. I really needed it, it was very peaceful and calm. I have been wound up pretty tight trying to prepare for this trek. It seems like even though we have been before, the preparation mode still filled me with much anxiety and fear.
At the temple I can let go of those worldly stresses and I am able to remember the important things in my life.


Saturday morning we took our tents and sleeping bags and equipment to the church and loaded up the trailers.
It began to feel real. It's finally here.
Once some of my gear was on the trailer, somehow another level of anxiety lifted from my shoulders.







Here is Jacob and some of the youth leaders going with us. There are a total of 50 youth going from our ward, and like 200 from our entire stake not including the adults.





We were given a list of items to take with us... these items are to be put in a 5 gallon bucket. No ipods or cell phones. And no extra clothing. Just the basics!
The Mormons that came across in the handcarts in the 1850's were given weight limits of 17lbs. After days of packing my bucket (who knew it would take so much thought and time to pack such a small amount of stuff!!) I put mine on the scale and it weighs exactly 17.0! So even though we were not give weight restrictions, only to bring the items on the list and no more and it had to fit into your bucket... it was interesting to know that I had the same weight. The extra bucket is for emergency clothing and girly gear since I have a responsibility in our ward over the young women. So I have permission for some extra items. And Jim and I will have a family of 10 under us, so we had to make up a first aid kit as well. Thankfully, I may only have to administer bandaids or sunscreen... we have a fully staffed medical team and their gear going with us (I heard someone call out for the defribilator when we were loading yesterday... so I am confident they are prepared for ANYTHING), because, well I am definately among the squeemish when it comes to administering anything medical... yikes!
Today in our sacrament meeting Jacob was asked by our Bishop to talk about the pioneer he was going to portrait on the Trek. He spoke of James Dayley, his 5th great grandpa. He too was an only child. His father served in the revolutionary war under the direction of George Washington. His father drowned by accident about a month before James was born. James was taught the gospel by Joseph Smith and was baptized in 1834 at age 23, it was said they had to cut a hole in the ice to baptize him. He knew and associated with the prophet Joseph Smith, and later became a body guard to him along with Orin P. Rockwell. He went through all of the persecutions of Ohio, Illinois and Missouri and received his patriarchal blessing from the prophet Joseph Smith. In his blessing he was promised that if he was faithful in keeping the commandments, he would live until he was satisfied with days, and also that bullets would fly around him like hail. This was fulled at the Hauns Mill Massacre, the bullets pierced his hat, passed through his coat between his arm and body and through his pant legs. But he was not harmed. James came across the plains with the 14th company and was a captain of ten wagons until they reached and wintered in a place they called Winters Quarters, where he stayed to make wagons for the emigrants, as they traveled across the plains, as he was a wheel right by trade. He served as a 70, High Priest and a Patriarch of the church; and also a Bishop for 2 years at Council Bluffs Iowa. He had 11 children with his 1st wife Isabelle McBride and after he death re-married to Carolyn Hardy and had 14 more children for a total of 25. He was one of the first to settle in Idaho in 1879. He lived to be 94 years old. He was hardworking and a very honest man. James had said that the great hope of his life was that no descendant of his would ever deny that God lived and that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God.
Then after hearing these and many more wonderful things about his grandfather, Jacob shared his testimony of the Gospel. He has a beautiful testimony and his Dad and I were both in tears. He was chocked up but made it through. I know he will be able to influence and touch the lives of those youth under his care on our handcart trek. I am so excited for his little family as much as anything.
Tonight, we will put on our period clothing meet at the church at 11pm, check in our buckets and gather in the chapel for a fireside and load up on the buses for a long drive to Wyoming. We will arrive Monday early afternoon at Sixth Crossing.
There will be a short trek of 4 miles with a women's
pull. Where they re-enact a time they pulled the men to fight the Mexican army in what is known as the Mormon Battalion... leaving their women and children on their trek across the plains alone.
Then we will camp and in the evening have square dancing and a fireside.

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Tuesday we will pack up camp and ride the buses to Sage Campground and begin our 15 mile hike over Rocky Ridge
We will end up at Rock Creek Hollow which is actually a burial gravesite for many pioneers.
It is a very special place on hollowed ground.

Wednesday we break camp once again and ride the busses to Martins Cove, where there is a visitors center we will hear from some missionaries and then trek to Dan Jones Cove and hear a spiritual message there and then trek on to Martins Cove. After we leave Martins Cove on our trek back to cherry creek campground, we will cross the
Sweetwater River, and re-inact the brave actions of a few 19 year old boys who carried each of the pioneers in the Willie and Martin handcart companies across icy frozen water. (I don't know how this will play out, but I hope Jacob gets to experience carrying some of the girls across and will hold in his heart that selfless act of those boys that suffered and later died from injuries from that act to serve God).
That evening we will have our final fireside at camp in Wyoming.
Thursday morning we break camp and load up on the buses to drive to Salt Lake City, UT.
We will go to the hotel there and get cleaned up and visit Temple Square and have activities. Then we will get up Friday morning and go to the Jordan River Temple to do baptisms for our ancestors who are dead. Then a very special concluding program under the direction of authority of the church in Salt Lake City. and leave for home late afternoon to arrive back home around 11pm.

I am very excited and the anxiety is lessening now. We will drop off our dogs at the sitter, I hope they get along okay. Taylor woke up at 5am this morning and has gotten into the jerkey and dried treats we were taking with us, and Morgan is not eating already because she seems to know the difference between packing in a bucket and a suitcase... it all means we are leaving her.
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I know we will have an experience that we will remember for a lifetime. And that the youth in our stake will be blessed and strengthened in ways that will continue to bless their lives for much time to come. After our trek in 2006, we saw several young men who were either not planning or heading in a direction to be worthy to serve missions, change and grow and serve full time missions for the church. It has not only blessed their lives, but the lives of their families.
The Spirit and Love of God is good. As we are faithful he help protect us and keep us safe, and if we will keep His commandments and follow His will, it will help us descern good from evil and not be decieved. His love and grace is a protection to us in our lives. He will never lead us astray. I hope that I can one day have the faith in God that the pioneers did. To know that I would sacrafice so much to have even more... to return to live with Him again.

1 comment:

Robert and Kristen said...

I am so jealous that you get to experience this again! I have always wanted to do something like this!

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