Mark and I were asked to be a "Ma and Pa" to a trek family and take the 5 day journey to Wyoming. The trek happened this past week. On Wednesday morning (12:30am to be exact) we boarded a bus with about 55 other people and headed off for a 12 plus hour bus ride. We arrived at the Willie 6th crossing site where we set up our tents. We took our first turn at pulling a fully loaded handcart for a mile warm up. It was fun, but also lots of work. Once back at camp, the rain came down (and I mean down pouring). Everyone took refuse in their tents, however due to the wind, many tents suffered water coming in and getting things like sleeping bags wet. This was not the greatest way to start things out. The rain ended, we enjoyed dinner and spent the night square dancing. We then learned about Levi Savage, who warned the Saints if they were to take this journey many would die, but told them he would do everything he could do to help them with the journey.
The next part of the trek was a re-enactment of a husband and wife who gave everything they had to the church in order to allow others to come to Zion. they only kept enough money to purchase their handcart and supplies. They had with them their son and a young girl they brought from Denmark with them, whose family could not afford to come with her. Along the trek, the father became ill and could push the handcart no longer. He asked his wife to leave him and continue on, which she would not. Instead she loaded her husband into the cart and began pulling him in the blizzard for 27 hours. The missionaries had one "ma" pull her large "pa" in the cart while we were all at the top of the hill watching. She struggled to get the cart moving due to his large stature. She eventually got the wheels rolling, but continued to struggle. Tears were shed both by her, her husband (unable to help his wife with such a burden) and for those watching. Eventually the missionary allowed other to run down the hill to help and talked about how the Lord will allow us to struggle until we can struggle no more and then he sends help. He talked about sometimes as parents we rush in to help our children too fast without allowing them to struggle and other times we see people struggle and move in too slowly before helping them. It was a very moving and powerful experience to be a part of. We then continued on our journey.
We had to cross 3 river crossings. Just as we reached the water, the clouds moved in, the wind began blowing and rain drops began falling (hard). Come to find out there was a mud pit we had to cross prior to the water. By the end, hail began to fall and it was freezing! My hands were so cold and my wet skirt was stinging as it slapped my legs. I kept thinking about how my "family" was going to get warm,with all their wet clothes and what those without more than 1 outfit would do for the remainder of the trek. I truly gained an appreciation for what parents must have felt as they watched their young children freeze to death with nothing they could do to help. What a helpless feeling. Thankfully by the time we got back to camp, someone had come forward to "rescue" us. They knew we were out in the storm so they built fires and took our muddy carts from us and cleaned them off and took all our items out of it. After warming by the fire, the sun came out and dried everyone off, we had dinner and then a fireside learning about more pioneers that sacrificed so much.