On Trek

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					                                          On Trek
          Two Talks Given in the Post-Trek Fireside
                    Ashburn, VA Stake

                                  By Janet G. Andrus,
                                 and D. Calvin Andrus,
                              Youth Conference Co-Chairs

                                    17 July 2010, Version 1.0


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Janet's Talk


A little over a month ago, we were in this same place trying to build enthusiasm for Trek and to
begin our preparations for our journey. I hope that we all have a sense of accomplishment in
completing what was a very difficult trek--difficult in terrain, in weather, in bodily exertion, and
in spiritual exertion.


As I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting this morning, I was impressed by the topic of the meeting
as it related to our recent trek experience. That topic was sacrifice. The definition of sacrifice
was related as “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as
more important.”

We had an interesting observation point to watch as sacrifices were made relative to Trek. There
were many sacrifices of time and talents of leaders and organizers to carry out trek. The love of
the leaders and other adults in this Stake for the Youth was readily apparent.

We watched you sacrifice in your preparations and on the Trek itself. We watched you rehearse
musical numbers, live without cell phones and the internet, struggle over rugged terrain pulling
and pushing handcarts, run low on water, and all this in adverse weather conditions. Some of us
learned as we went that we couldn’t have made the journey relying only on our own strength.
Some of us learned to pray for strength as we wended our way. Others learned from reflecting on
their experiences after trek was over.

I have reminded myself at least daily this week how grateful I was that Trek was only three days
long--every time I was able to cool off in air conditioning or get a cool drink of water when
needed. This caused me to appreciate the sacrifices of the early pioneers who sacrificed family,
money, comfort, and convenience to go to a place where they could gather with the other Saints.


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We can apply these lessons as we progress throughout our lives. Let’s think back to the
Women’s Pull. This was difficult for many of the Young Women, and yet others were strong and
undeterred by the experience. Young men are no longer asked to serve in the Mormon Battalion,
but to serve missions; and Young Women are asked to encourage and support them and serve
themselves as missionaries. Wives aren’t asked to send their husbands for years at a time on
missions, but they are asked to support their husbands as they serve in demanding Priesthood

Someone asked me when I got back from Trek if I felt like singing the Primary song “Pioneer
Children sang as they walked, and walked, and walked, and walked” as we wended our way on
the Trek. As we watched you struggle over terrain with your carts, I felt it was much more
difficult than just walking and walking. Watching you struggle to get your carts over steep hills
reminded me of the trials we face in our lives, and of the daily sacrifices you make to live the
Gospel under social and peer pressure in your school environments. Even the downhill sections
weren’t easy--there were holes to be avoided, rocks to be conquered, carts to keep under control.
Similarly, even when our lives seem to be going more easily, we need to watch out for pitfalls
and keep our lives on a straight and narrow path and be diligent in seeking the Spirit for

As you worked with your Trek families, you found ways to work together to lighten each others’
burdens and to accomplish your difficult journey. You accomplished your journey by using your
strength and combining it with the strength of others and with the strength of the Lord.


The Lord really took control of this Trek starting Thursday morning, and when His work was
accomplished, He sent us home. We witnessed President Simmons being guided by the Spirit to
make inspired decisions to change the course of the trail, get us safely back to camp in spite of
washed out roads, stay the rainy night, and leave early in the morning. Both running out of water
on the trail on Thursday and our rain-drenched crossing of the rising Rappahannock on Saturday
morning were as authentic as trek experiences can get.

I would like to close with a quote from the Gospel Principles manual:

       Our willingness to sacrifice is an indication of our devotion to God. People have always
       been tried and tested to see if they will put the things of God first in their lives.

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I want to thank all of those who sacrificed to make this Trek happen--those who have organized,
served and participated. We saw the work of the Lord going forward through this Trek to
strengthen and unify our Stake and build and strengthen our testimonies.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Calvin's Talk

Uncle Paul and Aunt Fran

My father's older brother and his wife live in Hawaii. They are my Uncle Paul and Aunt Fran.
They are declining in health. My dad and my mom decided they wanted to visit my Uncle Paul
and Aunt Fran one more time before they passed on. So, about four months ago my mom and
dad bought plane tickets to Hawaii, for a trip in June. Unfortunately, my Dad had a heart attack
and passed away before he and my mom could take the trip to Hawaii. In spite of their plans, The
Lord called my father home and left my mom with two tickets to Hawaii she couldn't really use.
What should my mother have done?

Our Church Meetings This Morning

Our youngest son, Trevor, is a deacon. On Sunday mornings, he has an assignment to arrive
early and set up the chairs in the primary and Relief Society rooms in the Sterling building. This
morning when we arrived, the Bishopric told him not to set up the chairs. The air conditioning in
the building was not working, and church was going to be dismissed after sacrament meeting.
The rest of the congregation found out as the Bishopric announced at the beginning of sacrament
meeting that the second and third hours were canceled. I thought of the primary presidency who
had prepared a sharing time lesson they would not give. None of the other teachers would give
the lessons they prepared. What should the teachers have done?

The Trek Experience

The morning of trek, there was a traffic jam on Route 66 and half of the participants arrived late.
The handcarts themselves also had a traffic jam on the trail and arrived at lunch 3 hours late. By
the time we left lunch, we were 4 hours behind schedule. Even though we changed to a shorter
path on Thursday afternoon, we did not have time to do the first night's program that so many
people had prepared. Friday night on the trek it rained about 3 inches, with more rain predicted

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for Saturday morning. We decided to break camp and head out, rather than have our solo time,
testimony meeting, and bishop's time on the trail. In short, much of what we had prepared for
trek was changed or deleted as we went along the trail. We prepared presentations that were not
given. We'd planned food we did not serve. People had changed personal and work plans and
were not needed. What should we have done?

The Lesson

Our lives are like trek. We plan and prepare the best we can, and The Lord intervenes and sends
us in a different directions. We need a fair amount of faith in every footstep of our lives. To have
joy as we wend our way in life, we must have faith that the Lord has our best interests at heart
even when He changes our plans out from underneath us--sometimes, as in the case of my
mother's trip to Hawaii, with little or no notice. What should we do, when the Lord calls on us to
make a hard right turn in our lives when we were planning to go straight? We have all been
given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will guide us, and as importantly, comfort us.
Acting under the guidance and comfort of the Holy Ghost, we will have joy as we wend our way,
even as our lives make unexpected turns.

We appreciate so much how cheerful and happy you all were on trek. Even the older Mas and
Pas were cheerful. We appreciate the loving hard work of the Trek staff. We are grateful to be
led by inspired Priesthood leaders. We also appreciate the testimonies that were born last week. I
bear my witness that we are engaged in the Lord's work.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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