Endure in faith during times of hardship | Worship

By Gordon Nishimoto | Aug 31, 2016
Gordon Nishimoto

Some years ago, many youth from our community participated in a re-enactment to commemorate the Mormon pioneers trek from Iowa to Utah.

Historically, many pioneers had wagons and oxen to carry their goods and supplies, but there were 3,000 more who carried everything they had in 4-by-6 wooden handcarts.

This 1,300-mile journey was an incredibly daunting task, especially when an early winter brought snow and frigid temperatures.

Stories of what happened to these pioneers are filled with faith, courage and unselfishness.

So, these youth were able to revisit what happened to these pioneers in a place called Martin’s Cove, Wyo. The experience was powerful in reminding the youth of the sacrifices and determination of these early pioneers.

At a certain point during the re-enactment, all the young men were asked to leave the handcarts to the young women and to gather at the top of a prominent hill for a lecture.

The sky was blue and the weather was warm and pleasant. However, as the young men gathered together, suddenly the sky turned gray and a powerful wind howled across the hill top, followed by freezing rain.

It became very cold very quickly.

The stormy weather became so strong that the leaders could not be heard for the lecture, and so the young men were then asked to line both sides of this steep hill and to “not be moved.”

The young women proceeded to push and pull the carts up this steep, rocky and now muddy path. They all eventually succeeded in reaching the top of the hill.

Many of the young men stated later that they wanted terribly to step down to help the young women pull these heavy carts.

The young men learned lessons about respect for others. The young women learned about how faith and determination can see one through impossible difficulties.

The youth later visited Rock Creek Hollow, where a group of handcart pioneers stopped because they were frozen and exhausted. They had met the earliest Utah rescuers, but still had little food and had to keep moving forward to reach help.

Rock Creek Hollow was a sacred place, as several people died, and were buried in icy graves there.

Here, guides spoke to our youth. They told the youth that angels had helped those early pioneers. They explained that the youth today have their own trials, but that their burdens would be lightened by having faith in Jesus Christ.

After speaking of the pioneers, LDS leader Virginia Pearce said: “So what does all this have to do with us in our current world? I believe it has everything to do with us. Most of our lives are not a string of dramatic moments that call for immediate heroism and courage … our goal, our journey's end, our zion is life in the presence of our Heavenly Father. And to get there we are expected to walk and walk and walk.”

We all have challenges and adversity, some which feel like mountains to cross. We may feel as if we are alone. We may be tired and exhausted. We may feel sorrow and wonder where to turn for peace. So, how do we endure in faith?

Favorite scriptures may help: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Dear friends and neighbors, the recent events in Mukilteo have been tragic and incomprehensible. The heartache and sorrow in our community has been deep. Yet the kindness and unity the community has shown has been inspiring and helpful.

May we remember, in all our distress, that God, our Heavenly Father, loves His children more than we may ever understand. Our time on this Earth, is just a small portion of our existence.

We will see those who we love again. God knows the end from the beginning. He will help us and strengthen us, as we endure in faith.

Bishop Gordon Nishimoto is a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Mukilteo. The Mormon church is at 11001 Harbour Point Blvd. For more information, go to www.lds.org.

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