Months ago we heard that the youth were attending a pioneer trek in Martin's Cove this summer. I wanted desperately to go and was thrilled when they asked Tyler and I to serve as a Ma & Pa for a family of 8 teenagers during the trek.
As we prepared for trek we were asked to find the names of pioneers who crossed the plains and learn about them. The names we chose were Jens and Elsie Nielson. Their story is one of incredible sacrifice, faith, courage, loss and hope. We did a lot of preparation for the trek as well - both physical and spiritual and I ended up sewing most of our clothing. The wind was horrendous. I've never experienced such wind in my life - and I've been through some pretty windy days. I can only imagine how hard it would have been in the snow!
Probably one of the most impressive parts of the trek for me was the Woman's Pull. I am in pretty good shape and having heard a lot about the pull was fairly confident that it wouldn't be as hard as I'd heard it described. Our family had 4 very strong and capable young women in it and we had lightened our cart to prepare for the pull. When the men left the group I suddenly felt very vulnerable. About half way up the hill my confidence fled and was replaced by a heart-gripping sense of need. I started to cry. I'm not sure why the tears came - but when I looked up and saw the men standing on the hill I was overcome and I couldn't hold the tears back anymore. We did get to the top of the hill, but the desperate and reverent feeling that we had during the pull stayed with me for the rest of the day and into the next. I am so completely grateful that I do not have to "pull alone" during this life. I'm so thankful that my Savior is by my side through every hills and struggle and when I'm sure I'm not strong enough, he's there to help lift my load. I'm equally thankful to have Tyler pulling with me.
The trek truly changed our family. We met some amazing adults while we were there also, one couple who's parenting has inspired us to focus more on people than on projects - to spend more time watching and listening to our kids and less time instructing and pushing them.
The kids in our family were also amazing and so much fun! They were great sports about every obstacle. One morning for breakfast we were given nothing but a bag of flour - enough for 4 ounces per person. The kids mixed up some 'pancakes' and cooked them and then all gagged them down, trying to find positive things about the meal. Then they packed the extras with us in case they got hungry on the trail. I never would have thought that teenagers could be so diligent, so positive, so faithful! I'm not nearly so scared to have my kids become teenagers and hope that they will be like the kids in our trek family.
I'm so thankful that we were able to go and hope someday to go with our kids. On every trail along the way I kept imagining their faces right there with us - kept thinking what it would be like if I had my babies around me.