Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What I Have Learned from the Pioneers - Lesson #3

I Need Pioneer Qualities - Unselfishness, Sacrifice, Obedience, Unity, Cooperation, Hard Work

Since my experience spending a year planning our stake trek, the biggest changes I have made have been trying to eliminate extra "stuff" from my life and working on these qualities.  I've felt such a pull to do things the "old fashioned" way.  Don't think I've given up my vacuum for some kind of hand cleaned carpet, but I have found great joy in my garden and trying to avoid processed stuff when cooking and looking for simple joys with the kids.  I try to "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without".  The things that are uplifting for my spirit also seem to be the things that are good for the earth we live in and for our bodies.  As I study the principle of virtue (especially in Proverbs 31), I am amazed at how connected I think a woman of virtue and a woman who lives providently are.
Snap Peas in my Garden - the plant that leans on a good friend for survival!

We've LOVED volunteering at This Is The Place Heritage Park where once a week we get to dress up like pioneers and spend an afternoon living like them.  Our time there just flies by - the boys are quick to find some project to keep them busy - sometimes it is work like digging irrigation canals for the corn or stripping and whitewashing a fence and sometimes it is pure fun like making a wooden bat and ball at the carpenter's shop and finding other kids to play stick ball with.  I think when it takes most of the minutes in your day just to meet the physical needs of your family and do the things required for survival it is easier to stay focused on what is important. 
Nixon working in the corn field  - Summer 2009

Easton in the Carpenter's Shop - Summer 2009

Easton and Jennifer at the Fairbanks House - Summer 2009

On trek, we each had to "trek for someone".  We had to find a pioneer who had crossed the plains and know their story.  We had a badge around our neck with 7 oz. of flour on it - what the daily ration of food was during some of the snowstorm in Martin's Cove - and our person's name/story/picture if available.  I trekked for the first pioneer I read about when I started looking - Elsie Rasmussen Nielson.  Elsie traveled from Denmark with her husband and 5 year old son and a 9 year old girl they were taking to her family.   They had sold their farm in Denmark and could have afforded to join one of the wagon trains, but instead bought a handcart and gave the rest of the money to other families to help them cross the plains. 

When their handcart company was caught by snow and out of food, both children died.  Elsie's husband had frozen feet and at one point sat by the side of the road and told her to keep going, he was just going to die.  She looked at him and told him to get in the cart - she would pull him.  Sometimes we need to be pulled, sometimes we need to do the pulling.

President Hinckley said : "Stories of the beleaguered Saints and of their rescue need to be repeated again and again.  They speak the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful that those days of pioneering are behind us.  I am thankful that we do not have brethren and sisters stranded in the snow, freezing and dying...  But there are people ...who cry out for help ... Ours is a great and solemn duty to reach out and help them, to lift them, to feed them if they are hungry, to nurture their spirits if they thirst for truth and righteousness."

Action Plan #3 - Work on those Qualities!

1 comment:

Gray Family said...

Reading you talk about the "this is the place monument park", my mom took Paige there this summer - Paige loved it and informed me that we all have to go next summer for our family vacaction. will you still be volunteering there? How fun!