I participated in the Bloomington Stake Trek last week as a Ma.
For those of you who are not acquainted with what a Trek is....here's some enlightenment.
Because it is such a huge endeavor, Treks are usually only held once every 4 years or so. In this case, it meant planning food, route, accommodations, provisions, health care, and logistics for over 300 people. Quite an endeavor.
A Stake, or congregation of several or more wards together, will plan and execute a pioneer trail reenactment. Youth ages 14-18 and adult leaders will push or pull handcarts, with provisions along a pre-determined trail for several days. The youth will be divided into "families" of 5-10, depending on the number participating. And a Ma and Pa will be assigned to each family. I was a Ma. We dress and act the part. We wear pioneer clothing and sleep under the stars. Rain or shine, snow or heat...we live like a pioneer.
As the early pioneers became low on funds to make their exodus to Utah and couldn't afford wagons and teams of oxen, they invented handcarts that could be manually pushed or pulled with limited weight capabilities. It was a physically arduous trip, as one could imagine. Only, truthfully we really can't imagine nor comprehend it. We trekked 4 days...they trekked 4 months. Many starved, froze and lost their lives.
The youth are encouraged to "Trek" in memory of the pioneer ancestors who sacrificed much to bring about their religious freedoms, as well as to teach them that they are pioneers in the world today....blazing their own trails through life. These Treks also teach them that they too, as the pioneers of old...can do hard things and how to apply that in their life today.
One of the questions we were asked to think about as we embarked on the steep mountainous terrain, 20 mile trail was, "What link will you be?"
As we are linked to our past heritage and legacy left for us, what legacy or pioneer heritage will we leave behind?
These pioneers built a foundation for us and we continue building upon that foundation. That makes us pioneers in our own day and age.
When I see the progress of the Kansas City Temple construction, I am reminded of the reason for building these Holy Houses to the Lord. Therein lies our ability to link generations. That is how we become a link to those who came before and those who will come after. We become the link in a chain that goes on forever.
"Our inborn yearnings for family connections are fulfilled when we are linked to our ancestors through sacred ordinances of the temple."
"Those links, welded through sacred ordinances, lead to the exaltation of our families."
~Elder Russell M. Nelson
Families can be forever. We are blessed to have temples built so close so that we can be the links in our eternal families.
I am forever grateful for those pioneers, some of whom were my own ancestors, who became the link that made it possible for me to love, appreciate and worship in my religion today. I want to leave that kind of legacy for those who come after me.
What link will you be?