.. this missive started March 2018 .. and hopefully it reaches each of you sometime before July ..
To My Good Trek Family Children,
Daughters: Hope, Faith, Charity, Grace, Mercy, Harmony and Felicity
and Sons: Lehi, Ammon, Mormon, Mosiah and Nephi
Charity gently reminded me she hadn’t seen a letter from us recently, so I was re-motivated to take pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and attempt to touch base with you all once again. We trust this letter finds you each in good health and condition. It is now coming on four years since our wonderful trek experience with you. The next generation youth here are now preparing for a 2018 Moroni’s Quest experience, which I suppose will be just fine .. but just not really the same as what we experienced with you out on the trail pushing our family handcart up hill and down dale, over ruts and around and through potholes, puddles and rivers, with hot days and cold nights in the shadow of the Old Chief mountain.
The last wave of our trek family are now preparing to graduate from High School here in Magrath and soon you will all be off to further adventures with YSA, school, work, and perhaps missions and marriage. We cannot choose for you, and even if we could, that is not The Plan, because the plan is that we are here to gain experience and learn to do for ourselves .. to make proper choices (the right way is always easiest in the end), to act on those decisions and to become more like our Heavenly Father and His Son. If you find yourself stuck somewhere out there on that trail, if you find yourself a bit lost or tired or weary .. don’t give up! Just as with trek, there are leaders and helpers all around waiting to point the way and to help as needed. If you need to, you can always repent and start back on the true path. You have and will have many family and friends here and on the other side to help cheer and sometimes to push and pull you along the way. We are thinking of you fondly as you make your own way on these new paths.
As I write this, I have collected to my desk a few of our ‘trek family’ heirlooms – three silver metal water bottles with “Faith in Every Footstep” logos, two hot pink bandanas, a brown kraft paper package tied with string containing my pencil-scrawled “Choose, Act, Become” trek journal, some trek family letters and a even a John Bytheway CD. There is an undelivered letter with no current mailing info addressed to Hailee Faith .. we lost track of her when she moved out west to BC but perhaps one day we will find her again. Even though we only knew her a short while, she is in our thoughts and prayers as are each of you. We trust her path will bring her back into our lives again at some point. Mercy is very soon about to return home from her mission in the Ohio (Cincinnati), Harmony has recently left to start her own mission in Frankfurt Germany, and Nephi is serving out in Vancouver BC. Some of you are at school and starting new careers. We do not know where the Lord will send us or to whom our message will be sent. We can only trust that He knows where and how best we can serve.
Ma and Pa are still happily assigned to work together as ward nursery leaders – ‘weakly’ serving the 18 month up to three year olds. We also have been asked to assist in transitioning graduating students from Grade 12 to YSA at home or at school or where ever they may end up (much like you). We also assist with the Magrath Lions Club, most recently sending out flyers for our upcoming 13th annual community food drive. May you continue to progress and make wise decisions. Our old home is nearing completion of renovations and we hope to move a daughter and her family into it in the coming months. It is a slow work in progress (much like our lives). It has taken a long time but is nearing completion. I came home the other night and Ma made me wash the paint off the top of my head.
I told the grandkids that I read the ‘Book of Mormon’ in under twenty minutes the other day (not too hard really, as it is only some 20 odd pages long .. located after 4th Nephi and before Ether). Mormon lived in very troubled times. He was called at age 10 to prepare to take over recording the Nephite sacred records. He was asked to at age 16 lead the Nephite armies in war. Despite the decades of terrible wars and struggles and the eventual destruction of the entire Nephite nation, reading between the lines – he was married for many years, had a family and at least one son (Moroni), was faithful in fulfilling his callings, taught powerful sermons, was taught directly from on high, and died faithful in the church in his later years despite the impending end of the Nephite civilization. His abridgement of the thousand years of Nephite history onto the golden plates was not a quick project to complete in between his other duties and assignments (like leading the war efforts and not getting captured or killed) but likely took his entire life (and completed by his son Moroni). We also live in what appear to be difficult, uncertain and turbulent yet exciting times. The new guidelines permitting youth to serve in the Temple baptistries and younger endowed members to serve there as well is exciting. We hope you are able to take advantage of these new opportunities. The messages from the church leaders in our recent monthly magazines are motivating, hopeful, and positive: “God is not silent! He loves his children. He has not left us to wander in darkness (Uchdorf Mar 2018 p4)”, “ He will make our burdens light (Hales ibid p80)” , “I still have something to give (Daniels ibid p60)”. Despite our individual failings, perhaps we can take hope in the fact that our efforts are acceptable to him and we do not know what will come of our concerns for those around us, of letters to family members, or just in our simple fulfilling of assignments and callings.
President Maxwell (our current stake president here in Magrath) gave a talk in our ward conference this month and referenced in his talk a formula E+R=O (from a book he was reading by Ohio State Football Coach Urban Meyer .. where Event+Response=Outcome). My own LDS spin on this formula would be Error (or Sin: because everybody falls short and sins to some degree, whether of our own doing or forced on us by others around us) + Repentance (through faith on Christ) = Overcoming (thanks to the Only Begotten/allowing us to eventually return to Our Father and Our own family there with him).
More Pa around-the-campfire preaching: Experiences we have in life are for our good. We can and should learn from all we do and see and live through. There are easier ways to make our way along (scriptures and the Iron Rod come to mind) and harder paths and consequences (the broad worldly way, the mists of darkness). When we get lost or blocked along the way, there are people sent to go back and find and help rescue us – kind of like our trek experience with Faith. Your true friends, your family, church leaders, home teachers, missionaries and other members and even god-sent strangers are being guided and directed to assist and guide us back to safety – perhaps like getting safely back to the valley at trek. The point is: even though we may find ourselves in difficult situations here on our pathway, even if due to poor choices of our own doing, keep trying, turn to Him and don’t give up! As outlined in the scriptures, there is always a way back while we are here if we just choose to obey and follow His teachings. Have faith and endure patiently and things will get better .. or will keep on being wonderful!
My final repetitious-recap: While here, we don’t have to do everything the hard way through sad experience, even if sometimes things happen outside of our own choices .. there is always an easier, happier way to get along in life (His way, His yoke is easy).
We wish you Safe journeys and be Good!
With much love from your trek Ma and Pa.