Monday, July 25, 2011

Pioneer Trek

Yesterday Michael and I were asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting about our experiences on our Stake Trek. A few people have asked for a copy of our talks, and so I am posting them here, though it is more notes than talks. I may even put up some pictures if I can remember how.

This is a map of our Trek course.

A general view of the landscape. We were on a cattle ranch 10 miles from Evanston, Wy.

This was our camp one morning. We figured out how to join the three handcarts of our cooking group together to provide the most shade.

The Wright Family, as opposed to the Trek Wright Family. This was taken at the very end.

My daughters and I on the Women's Pull, just as we reached the top. I spent the whole time pushing with my left hand and reaching behind and pulling with my right. It was 1.2 mile, with a 310 ft elevation gain. Tough, but good.

My Trek daughters: Lauren, Me, Megan, Kaylinn, and Danielle, and a good picture of our flag. We were in the Orange Company, Yellow Family. There were 42 families in 7 companies. Each company was divided into 2 cooking groups that stayed together on the trail and at camp each night.

A picture of the family cart from behind.

Our Family the first morning before loading on the bus:

Nick, Noke', Shannon, Michael, Andrew, Kaylinn, Megan, Lauren, Danielle

Trek Sacrament Meeting Talk, July 24, 2011

As Pioneers had many hardships and joys on their journey, I would like to share some of my hardships and joys on my journey.


· Blisters

· Sunburns

· Bug bites

· Dust everywhere

· Heat

· Cuts and scrapes

· Sore legs

· Stinky potties

· Having our tent area by the stinky and loud potties

· Cold nights

· Hard sleeping ground

· A tent that was far too short and small for Michael and me

· No shade

· Listening to girls worry about how they would look walking through the guys a

t the end of the Women’s Pull instead of seeing the mountain we still had to climb

· Crazy, busyness of camping with 340(?) teenagers

· Knowing I had to give a talk in church the day after I got back

· Packing to get 6 people ready a week after girl’s camp---starting exhausted was hard

§ Read journal #1

“Evening of our first day. Camp is quiet at about 11:15. The thought of not having to get up until 7am is wonderful!”

· Walking miles and miles and miles

§ Read journal #2

“Walked 9.08 miles today. Brother Earl is sneaking in the extra miles left and right.” Our 22 mile Trek was 27.5 miles.

· Wondering Why I was there

§ Was I doing what I needed to do?

§ Was I being what I needed to be?


· Seeing all of the Ward leaders: Bishop, Mas and Pas, Stake leaders from our ward

· Tireless Brother Earl, whom I never saw sit, rest or eat, though he promised he did

· Seeing my old Webelos---(turns out that 20 of the 23 of our Ward boys were in my Webelos Dens). I especially like those who came and hung out with us around our camp)

· Getting discouraged and overwhelmed, and being tired enough that I was scared to sit down, then

walking through the camp and seeing my Ward daughters, especially my Laurels. I spoke with many of them, but saw others laughing and talking with their new families. That inspired me too.

· Having James in my Cooking group, which meant that he was with us the entire time, singing and

impressing me with his strength and endurance.

· Not seeing John much, meaning he had a great time, even though he is slightly embarrassed to admit he enjoyed camping.

· Seeing Katie and Ben around when they wandered by. Seeing my 2nd daughter, third daughter,

and again, all of my daughters from Young Women.

· Listening to Michael challenge the kids with riddles, and being happy when I finally could remember the solutions before they figured them out, especially because I have heard them all


· Finally figuring out how to work together as a cooking group to set up shade and camp, and getting to know people better.

· Seeing my trek daughter, who was battling the effects of a broken arm and homesickness, stick it out and help in the Women’s pull, and staying and finding joy in her experience.

· Singing hymns with my Trek family

· Waiting for the second group of the Women’s Pull so I could see Katie come up, and see her smiling and happy at the end

· Walking alone for 3 miles to catch up to my company after the Women’s Pull and having time to process things alone and in the quiet.

· Having a Trek family who wanted to go to bed at night

· Seeing 2 girls from our ward reach out to another from our ward sitting alone, and go sit with her, and then bring their whole trek family the next day to stand with her again.

· Increased testimony of the inspirations of our Bishop and previous Bishops, who helped me to stand and serve in the places I have, for reasons that I am only seeing now that I have time, increased wisdom, and spiritual maturity to focus and widen my previously cloudy and narrow view.

· Hearing words of encouragement from so many, especially the Young Men of our ward.

· Serving Michael in his time of need. Marriage is a partnership that is not always equal, and me doing more than him at this time just needed to happen for everything to work.

· Seeing my sons, my trek sons and my ward sons at the top of the Women’s Pull. Saying to many of them “When you find a girl who you think is THE GIRL, let me know and I will take her for a walk up this hill. If she makes it, marry her.” And saying to my girls, “Find a man who will look at you with the love and respect that these men showed and marry him. These men looked into your heart and soul, and did not care what you looked like.”

· Knowing why I went to Trek

§ Read Journal #3

“I know why I am here now. It was to see the good and potential of the kids in my ward. To see Dakota there to support me, to see Tanner bear his testimony, to see Jean Louise and Christine, to see Hannah shine, to see all the good of the youth of the Welby 1st Ward and to keep that with me as I continue to serve as Laurel Advisor, or as something else in the future. To know that as I walk the gauntlet of the hall in the church by the bathroom on Sundays, and these big, strapping, and intimidating Young Men, and these gorgeous and equally intimidating Young Women are on both sides, that they would stand for me and help me if I fall, and strengthen me in my efforts to serve the Lord and do his will, or would do even something as simple as pick up my pen if I dropped it. My love for these inspiring youth has increased tremendously. It is another connection with all my old Webelos, my Young Women Daughters, and the neighbors on my street and in the ward.”


Michael's Talk

On being the slowest person in a handcart company

First day lagging behind -- somewhat disheartening. Felt alone and not a part. Passed into the next company.

What about the person who is spiritually being left behind? Who looks "forward" at those "ahead" and doesn't feel like they are able or worthy to be a part of that, but long to be.

2 Nephi 4: Nephi states: Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins.

What does the rest of the Company do for them? What do we as quorums and classes do? Christ admonished Peter: When thou art converted, strengthen thy bretheren.

The Stake Presidency, The Bishopric, Brother Earl and other leaders on trek -- always lifting up, always looking for the good, always telling me that my contribution counted. Not patronizing

The power of a smiling face and an outstretched hand.

The first and most important thing for an individual to learn is we are worthy of God's love now. Period. Satan would have us believe differently, but it is a lie.

Easier to keep up if you keep a hand on the cart. Once I was detached from the cart I fell further and further behind. Sometimes you push the cart, sometimes the cart pushes you.

We all carry weights of different magnitudes.

Elder Neil A Maxwell: “We can...keep moving. Only the Lord can compare crosses, but all crosses are easier to carry when we keep moving.”

The problem with superlatives and the danger of comparisons

I wanted to be Eric Johnson – Strong and running along with the cart at the end of the day’s journey.

Advertising and the world teach us that unless something is the most, greatest, fastest, strongest, -est-est, it is of no value.

We cannot compare strengths, weaknesses, trials, gifts, talents, opportunities, or levels of service.

The only worthwhile comparison we can make is how far we have come on our own path to salvation.

Elder Maxwell: We can know that when we have truly given what we have, it is like paying a full tithe; it is, in that respect, all that was asked. The widow who cast in her two mites was neither self-conscious nor searching for mortal approval.

What do you call the person who had to repent of the most sins in order to obtain the Celestial Kingdom? -- Exalted

We can all make it to the Celestial Kingdom. In the end, we all made it to camp.

Last day, 3rd day without blood pressure medication.

Dizzy, lightheaded, labored breathing. Didn’t know what it was.

Prayed. Received a priesthood blessing. Carried forward.

Brother Arneson was very watchful of our cart. I started to protest, but then didn’t because I realized – That is what Christ does for us. But we must be willing to let him carry our load. Once we have repented of our sins, we must let them go and let Him carry our load. For only then can we move forward to our final goal.

Christ invited "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."


Megan said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I can't wait to talk in person and see more pictures... It sounds like it was a wonderful experience.

Karen said...

Trek is the best. Loved the handcart "tent." So awesome that your fam could do this together! You guys are the bomb!

Denise said...

Lots of great insight. I appreciate the scripture tie in and can see how those scriptures apply to my life without going on the trek.

Cordelia said...

Thank you for sharing this. It was most inspiring!

c solomon said...

what an amazing experience and thank you so much for sharing. I truly loved and was inspired by your husband's talk and I loved yours as well!