Thursday, August 18, 2011

Their Legacy. My Heritage.

A couple months ago, us missionaries here in the Tennessee Nashville Mission had the opportunity to hear The Nashville Tribute Band perform a concert for the members and nonmembers in the area. During this concert, they played a song called American Dreams, about how a young man comes to America to find his place in God's kingdom.

Now, although this song isn't about the pioneers that crossed the plains, it reminded me of an experience that I'll never forget.

I was just about to turn the big 16. The age that every teenager looks forward to because it means one thing, driving. BUT, unlike other newly 16 year olds, I wasn't getting ready to take a driving test, or stand in long lines at the DMV to get a new, shiny license. I was out on the plains of Wyoming, walking in the footsteps of the pioneers at Martin's Cove, about 50 miles from Casper. We spent 3 days pulling wooden handcarts through the hills and rivers around the area, getting just a taste of what the pioneers went through. Although we were doing it in 95 degree weather, not driving blizzards and sub-freezing temperatures, it was still very difficult. We had our own unique challenges, and many people "died" (got to ride in the Gator to camp).

Now, this experience was very personal. Not just because I was spending my sweet 16 in the middle of nowhere with a giant group of friends, but because my ancestors were some of the members of the Willie handcart company. They found refuge in the coves and hills around Martin's Cove, taking shelter from the snow and wind under handcarts and trees, waiting and hoping for help. Because of the faith of Lars Mortensen, and the Spirit filled promise that if he went to America, to the Great Salt Lake Valley, that he would make it in good health and that every member of his family would soon join him, I'm here. Sharing that same Gospel message that brought many to the untamed frontier of the US to the people of Tennessee and Kentucky.

I learned many things in those 3 days. All of them have helped my faith grow and my testimony that God and Jesus Christ live and love us.

So, Thanks Jason, for bringing back all those awesome memories, and thanks for all you do for us missionaries!

If you want to learn more about the Martin and Willie handcart companies, visit the Mormon Historical Site Foundation's website or the Wyoming pioneer trail website.

No comments:

Post a Comment