the other day, in one of my classes, i heard a girl complain about the fact that utah celebrates pioneer day. maybe i thought she was being ridiculous because pioneer day gives us the day off. or maybe it was because my cute little hometown/home stake + my parents and grandparents taught me the importance of the story of the pioneers & to be grateful for their sacrifice.
even though we probably won't ever be called to pull a handcart across the country, we are asked to sacrifice things of the world every day.
i saw this post about the pioneers from the mormon newsroom and quickly looked at it because IT HAS PICTURES FROM THE PIONEER'S TREK WEST. real. live. pictures. i thought all of these years that we only had artists' renditions in paintings. but NO. real pictures. i read through the whole article and then just stared at the pictures for a while.
the pictures reminded me vaguely of the pioneer trek reenactment that i was able to go on. [i only remember it vaguely because it was like 8 years ago, but i had also had my whole teeth debacle of 2008 happened just two weeks before and i was on some major pain killers as well.... you can read about it here BUT be warned... the photos are... well... gross...] we were out in the bunkerville mountains for a week. it was the end of june and HOT. we pulled our handcart through a sandy wash, pulled it over multiple hills, carefully pulled it through the seeps, and pulled it home. the food we ate was, well, less than stellar. the night of the women's pull my family lucked out because while everyone else had broth with maybe a potato peel or carrot, we got to have chili (they ran out of broth... perks of being the last in line). we got to a hill that has forever been dubbed "Angel Hill" because all of the angels in our lives (our teachers, leaders, bishops, aunts and uncles, etc.) pulled us up the biggest hill we came to on the trek that only minutes before we went up we all watched as a 4 wheel drive truck struggled to make it up. i don't think words will ever be able to do justice to the feeling of gratitude and hope that i felt as we watched (what looked like, i don't really know the actual number) 100 people who i knew loved me walk over the top of that hill dressed in white to come help pull all of us up that hill. i still get chills & a little emotional thinking about it.
i can't imagine the struggle of the pioneers. to be honest, i don't ever want to be able to imagine the struggles they had. but i do know that Heaven was cheering them on. and Heaven cheers us on every day because even though we don't have to pull a handcart in 100+ or -45 degree weather in this day and age, we still have to struggle. and i think that's what it's all about; trying to gain strong faith through the struggle.
"you don't have to push a handcart, or leave your family dear. or walk a thousand miles or more to be a pioneer. you DO have to have great courage, faith to conquer fear, and work with might for a cause that's right to be a pioneer!" [to be a pioneer, children's hymnbook, number 218]
these videos aren't from the trek that i went on, but the one my little brother went on four years later. it was very similar to the one i went on and gives you the gist of it all. shout out to Brian Bingham for the videos.