Next week is a big deal...it is our stake's youth conference. But not just a regular youth conference, but a handcart trek. And I am thankful. Because i have two grandkids that will participate this time, and i know that despite the heat and hard work and the wearing of old style clothes, they will feel the Spirit.
Four years ago our stake had it's first handcart trek. I was blessed to serve in the stake YW presidency at that time. We planned the trek for 9 straight months. It was uncharted territory for our stake. Handcarts were built, routes were planned, leaders were selected, food was planned, youth were motivated. It was hard, hard work, and i spent HOURS in communication with the other leaders pouring over details and last minute issues. (I could write another post all about how thankful i am for email.) I didn't sleep at all the last couple nights before the trek, out of nervousness.
Then, it happened. That magical moment when the assembled youth, leaders, support vehicles, and even the port-a-potties took their first steps forward onto the trek route. Much of the next 3 days still stands out vividly in my memory, and i will never forget the fun, tears, agony, hard work, sights and sounds of those sacred three days. It was collectively one of the most spiritual times in my life, as i could see the Lord's hand during the entire venture. At the final testimony meeting at Far West, we openly wept as we listened to the youths' comments and testimonies, and felt the Spirit burn inside our own hearts.
Knowing the huge amount of work it is, I am thankful for leaders of youth who will do this for my grandkids, nd for their spouses who will stay home and allow them to participate. I am thankful for my grandchildren who are pioneers in their own way, and that they have chosen to participate in the trek. My heart is full of thankfulness that we live in an area of church history, and that we have a pioneer legacy to live up to. And thankful for the restored Gospel, which makes all this possible.