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After many prayers and months of planning, the youth of the Tacoma South Stake stepped back in time to experience the life of the handcart pioneers. Dressed in pioneer clothes they began on an adventure that would Strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ, help them learn and appreciate our pioneer heritage, learn about the power of prayer, recognize and develop their own inner strength, have opportunities to serve each other, and appreciate the family. The youth were organized into families with a Ma and Pa and assigned a handcart to load their personal belongings. Over the next two days the families would pull this handcart over 15 rocky miles to base camp. There they would play pioneer games, eat food cooked in Dutch ovens, square dance, prepare chickens for dinner and participate in firesides presented by our stake presidency. Angels surrounded the youth during solo time as they read from the scriptures, read letters from home, wrote in journals and prayed. They also have the opportunity to reflect on the Trek experience and the effect on them personally and ponder on the blessings that our Heavenly Father has given us. Later that evening, several youth shared tender testimonies of their solo experience. The last morning of trek was spent with families discussing gospel principles that could be applied to the everyday life and commitments made for personal growth. Then it was homeward bound to clean clothes, fast food, telephones, showers and family. Many youth have stated that the experience was great, but they have no desire to pull a handcart ever again!

Cheryl Cranney

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