This past week my two oldest children had the opportunity go on a trek that simulated the pioneer experience with adult leaders and the other youth from the stake. I did not have the opportunity to go, but on Sunday, many of them shared their testimonies on the experience. As I listened, I thought back to our pioneer ancestors that came across the plains, searching for religious freedom and Zion. As I contemplated, it suddenly hit me. The pioneers that endured so many hardships on their journey west left a lasting legacy and lesson that all of us should heed – perseverance.
I was amazed as I listened to the youth share their trek experience. Even though they knew the challenges they faced were simulated, they still experienced many of the emotions the pioneers faced. At one point in the trek, the young men were called away, simulating the call of the early Mormons who joined the Mormon Battalion. This left the young women and who remained of their female leaders to pull or push their handcarts up a steep hill. The young boys, along with the ones who had passed away in the simulation, had to watch from the top of the hill. Many of them sobbed tears of heartache as they watched their sisters struggle to pull the heavy handcarts up the mountainside. Many of the girls and women shared that they didn’t think that they would make it. But with the help of the Lord and perseverance they succeeded.
This is a lesson we should all take to heart. Who are we to complain about our circumstances? I know I have done plenty of my own whining, whether it was worrying about finances, or complaining about the political and moral turmoil our country faces today. But all of that pales in comparison to the challenges that our pioneer ancestors faced. Their perseverance was tested throughout. They faced disease, starvation, dehydration, and many other life threatening challenges. Yet, many of them came through and reached the promised land.
Now, whenever I have even the inkling to grumble about my circumstances, whether it is being stuck in traffic or waiting in a long line at the bank, I think back to those that sacrificed so much so that we could experience the abundance we enjoy today. The perseverance the pioneers demonstrated should be a shining example of the fortitude we can and must have in times of trial.
As John D. Rockefeller, the famous entrepreneur, once said:
I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.
What a true statement. Perseverance is the ability to push through any obstacle real or imagined. It is even powerful enough to conquer nature. After all, this is what the pioneers did. While many died in their trials, many persevered through the difficult journey.
As I learned from my children and the youth in my ward, we must persevere through the trials in our lives. When we do, we will come out stronger, our faith will be bolstered, and our fortitude to succeed will be renewed.
What did you think of this post? Has there been a time in your life when you have persevered and come out the victor? If so, how did that change you? Share in the comments below.