Sunday, July 23, 2017

Promised Blessings by Janet Ottto

I have secretly always loved doing family history, but it didn't used to be something I shared publicly. I was afraid if too many people knew how much I enjoyed it, I would be stuck serving in the family history center! Silly how narrow-minded we can be. 

Despite my love of doing family history, I have never been truly committed to it.  Sometimes  I would work hard on it 3 days in a row and then nothing for months. Last year at a Stake Relief Society event, I heard President Kevin Lee share with us how important it is to do family history consistently. He said that if we only do it once in awhile, then once in awhile we can receive the promised blessings  (I'm paraphrasing:). We miss out on fully receiving the blessings the Lord has waiting for us.  I need lots of blessings!  So I started considering that and the Spirit kept working on me. Shortly after I was called to be Stake Young Women's President, our Stake Presidency, issued an assignment to all of the stake leaders and their families to commit to four goals:
1)Work on some aspect of family history each week.
2)At least once a month, search for and find a name to take to the temple.
3) Attend the temple once a month and perform the ordinances of salvation for the names we find.
4)Teach others how to find names and take them to the temple, too.

The Spirit had already been working on me since that Relief Society Conference. So when President Burgoyne approached us with this assignment, I was excited to present it to my family and make a team effort!  I had heard the apostles counsel us on doing this work in the recent past and pronounce blessings on our families as we participated in it. But I guess I always felt "too busy" or "too tired" or "not my season" to do it consistently.  I do love a good challenge, though, so I prayed about it and asked Heavenly Father to help me know how to invite my family to do it with me and that I would gain a testimony of this work.  I also prayed to receive the promised blessings from being engaged in family history.

I decided to present the invitation to my family during Family Home Evening. I believe most of us felt the Spirit as we discussed it and all of them were at least willing to try. We discussed ways to go about  it.  A few of our kids had gotten on family search and had accounts already, thanks to awesome youth leaders! But they had forgotten most everything about it. We decided Sundays would be our best day to work on it together because it was the only day of the week we were all home.  We also talked about a variety of family history ideas, like journaling, entering photos on family search, indexing, finding stories, recording stories and voices, etc...so that it would be fun. 

I don't know why it surprises me, but as we've been consistent about doing family history, we really do see some of the blessings coming into our lives that the Stake Presidency promised us! We have seen miracles take place, our testimonies have been strengthened, relationships are being repaired, we feel extra protection from the adversary, and I have gained an even stronger knowledge that Christ is the Redeemer of mankind and Savior of the world.  How does it happen?? I don't know. But it does happen. I know our Stake Presidency was inspired to share this with us.  We have missed some weeks here and there, but the progress we've made is truly amazing!  Some of my children have become better at it than me! I trust the promises of the apostles and our stake presidency that our youth will be blessed with protection from the adversary.  In raising my own children, I need to feel the hope this promise brings!  I am thankful for this challenge.  It has been a most amazing (and surprising!) blessing in my life.  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Oh, Remember, Remember by Paul Hancock

In the Sunday morning session of General Conference in October 2007, I had nestled into the couch with my beautiful wife, Suzanne, and was prepared to take a nap. We had been married for just less than a year. Julie B. Beck gave a talk on “Mothers Who Know.” I don’t recall a whole lot of that talk, but I knew that my life was about to change. As she continued her talk, I started to pay more attention. When she concluded her talk, Suzanne muted the TV and said, “We need to talk.” I told her that we really didn’t need to talk. That message was received, loud and clear! The Holy Ghost was very clear that Cael was ready to come to us. We were blessed in July of the next year with Cael.
Fast forward to the Heap Reunion of 2016. We were preparing to go camping at the Heap Reunion. Cael and I were still at home, finishing loading up the trailer while Suzanne went to RV to shop and then would head to camp. As I was getting ready to hook the fifth wheel up to the truck, I couldn’t find the keys to the trailer. I needed the keys to be able to jack the trailer up. Cael loved playing with the keys and having them with him, so I knew that he had them. I asked him where the keys were, and he didn’t know. I ran into the house to grab them because they were usually in a jar. The keys were not there. I called Suzanne, who was now shopping at Safeway and was with her sister, Nicole. She said that she didn’t know where they were. She asked if we had prayed yet and that she and Nicole would both say a prayer. I asked Cael to say a prayer, asking for help to find the keys. We continued to look for the keys. We even took a trip to Gas-n-Go, where we had put more air in the truck tires. Still no keys. As I was going through the house again, I knelt and asked Heavenly Father for help looking for the keys. As I headed back outside to retrace my steps again, I heard in my mind – “look under the car seat.” I told Cael that the keys were in the truck under his car seat. We went to the truck, and under his car seat were the keys. Cael asked me how I knew that they keys were there. I told him that the Holy Ghost had told me where the keys were. We said a prayer, thanking Heavenly Father for the help in finding the keys, and we headed to the mountains. 
President Henry B. Eyring also gave a talk in that session of the October 2007 General Conference. 
When President Eyring’s children were very young, as he was headed home late after a Church assignment, he passed his father-in-law carrying a load of pipes dressed in work clothes. It was after dark.  His father-in-law, who lived near them, was building a system to pump water from a stream below up to their property. As he passed his father-in-law, his father-in-law smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed to go on with his work. As President Eyring got to a door, he heard in his mind – not in his own voice – these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”
President Eyring went inside. He didn’t go to bed, although he was tired. He took out some paper and began to write. As he did, he understood the message that he had heard in his mind. He was supposed to record for his children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing his family. President Eyring would write down a few lines every day for years. He never missed a day no matter how tired he was or how early he had to arise the next day. Before he would write, he would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As President Eyring kept at it, something began to happen. He would see evidence of what God had done for one of them that he had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. He realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show him what God had done. 
As President Eyring did this, more than gratitude grew in his heart. Testimony grew. He became more certain that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. He felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance – even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened. 
After many years went by, his boys had grown into men. They would surprise him by saying, “Dad, I was reading in my copy of the journal about when…” and then they would tell him about how reading of what happened long ago helped him notice something God had done in his day. 
President Eyring’s point is to urge us to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will help build our testimonies. You may not keep a journal. Unfortunately, I don’t keep a journal, but I try to remember the experiences that I have had. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve, but you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done. We do try to point out the times that we are blessed or led by the Holy Ghost, so that Cael can learn to listen for and hear his voice. Suzanne and I have both felt it important that we try to help Cael understand the way that the Holy Ghost speaks to us. The other day we had a bag blow into our yard. It looked like a cover for one of those pop up shade awnings. I was just going to throw it into the trash, but Cael said, “Something tells me we should keep it and give it to the Friedens.” So we kept it. The other day we saw Brother Frieden, as he was packing up to move away from us. We asked him if it was his, and it was. 
It isn’t easy to remember. Living as we do with a veil over our eyes, we cannot remember what it was like to be with our Heavenly Father; nor can we see with our physical eyes or with reason alone the hand of God in our lives. Seeing such things takes the Holy Ghost. It isn’t easy to be worthy of the Holy Ghost’s companionship in a wicked world. 
This is why forgetting God has been such a persistent problem among God’s children since the world began. Think of all the miracles that they have seen. Still they were warned “take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life.” (Deuteronomy 4:9)
The more abundantly blessed that we are, the harder it is to remember. Those who are faithful to God are protected and prospered. That comes as a result of serving God and keeping His commandments. But with these blessings comes the temptation to forget their source. It is easy to begin to believe that these blessings were because of our own powers. 
Prosperity isn’t the only time that we can forget God. We can forget Him when our lives go badly. When we are struggling to make ends meet, when we are sick, or when everything seems to be going against us. When Satan tells us that there is no God, or if there is, He doesn’t care about us. A few years ago, I had applied to be the Chief Probation Officer in Navajo County. I had the support of three of the four judges, the county manager, the county attorney, the Sheriff, defense attorneys, and many others. I felt that I had worked hard and had put myself in a good position for the job. Before the interview, I prayed that I would be blessed to say the right things and be calm. I knew that this was in God’s hands, and it would work out the way He wanted. In my heart, I knew I was getting this job. I was painfully humbled when a week or so later, I called to tell Suzanne that I didn’t get the promotion. It was hard at that time to not blame God. 
The key to the remembering that brings and maintains testimony is receiving the Holy Ghost as a companion. It is the Holy Ghost who helps us see what God has done for us. It is the Holy Ghost who can help those we serve to see what God has done for them. 
Heavenly Father has given a simple pattern for us to receive the Holy Ghost not once but continually in the tumult of our daily lives. The pattern is repeated in the sacramental prayer: We promise that we will always remember the Savior. We promise to take His name upon us. We promise to keep His commandments. And we are promised that if we do that, we will have His Spirit to be with us. These promises work together in a wonderful way to strengthen our testimonies and in time, through the Atonement, to change our natures as we keep our part of the promise. 
A couple of years after not getting the job in Navajo County, I was blessed with an opportunity to be the head of the probation department here. I am happier than I had ever been in Navajo County. I can see that in my professional life, that my Heavenly Father has played a large role. In my personal life, He has also played a large role. As we raise Cael, Suzanne and I look for opportunities to show Cael the goodness that Heavenly Father blesses us with. As we do, I know that his testimony of our Father in Heaven will grow. He will seek to listen to the Holy Ghost. We choose to share these special moments with each other, with Cael, and other times with our families and friends via Instagram and Facebook. 
As we share these experiences with Cael, I know that he is building a testimony. There are times when he will have lost something, or he sees someone in need. Cael will quietly bow his head and offer a prayer. He knows that prayers are answered. He knows that the Holy Ghost talks to us and helps us.

May we all remember and give thanks for the hand of God in our daily lives.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Power of Prayer by Megan Chlarson


For the majority of my life I feel like I have always had a pretty strong testimony of the power of prayer. Well in the last 5 years my testimony of prayer has grown leaps and bounds! Within these years my family and I have also been the recipients of so much love and service.
Most people know of the trials my family has gone through, and I can say without a shred of doubt that we would not have made it through them without the many hours of service rendered and prayers said on our behalf. I have literally felt the comfort surround me as if someone was hugging me with a blanket and whispering to me that everything will be ok!
The most recent trial happened while I was on the pioneer trek. Initially I was not asked to go, but I let the stake presidency know that if they needed someone I would be willing to go. Honestly I just wanted a little break from my kids! Someone couldn’t end up going and I was asked if I could fill in as an adult participant a week and a half before. I had been on trek twice before, once as a youth and once as a Ma and Pa with my husband and I loved it!
I was really excited and nervous to go, mostly nervous because I am not in as good a shape as I was the last two times I went. I also worry about my kids any time I leave them for more than a day or two. Still, I was determined to go and give it my all and have a good experience! My twin nieces (Savannah and Shayde) along with their good friend (Aubrey) were able to come last minute as well. They live in Gilbert, AZ. In the valley they just don’t do trek like we do here in the mountains, so I was super excited that they would be able to go, have this experience and make new friends.  Savannah has type one diabetes and my sister was really scared to let her go, but knowing that I would be there eased her worries a little. My sister actually said if I wasn’t going that she wouldn’t have let Savannah go. I was even put in the same family as Savannah which was a HUGE blessing for both of us! We got the best parents, Butch and Julie Nielsen, who were amazing with Savannah and keeping track of all of her stuff! Helping to take care of Savannah was not the trial I’m referring to, but I’m not gonna lie, the constant worry and little sleep making sure her blood sugars were stable  through the night was not easy. It gave me a little taste of what my sister goes through every day. 
While I was on Trek I received news that my little girl Roxy who is 18 months old was in the hospital. She had gotten into my mom’s diabetic medicine and was taken in to be monitored and make sure her blood sugars were stable.  My poor mom felt so bad, but you have to understand that my children are climbers and they get into EVERYTHING! When I was told about it, my husband wasn’t sure if she had gotten any in her system or not. I of course was a mess and was so worried. I could only imagine how my mom was feeling.
I have always been with my kids when they were hurt or had to be hospitalized, so this was hard for me, but my mom and husband were able to be with her so I knew she would be loved and taken care of. I asked my husband for a blessing of comfort so that I could stay and finish the trek strong. Larry (My husband), My Pa (Butch Nielsen), my brother (Logan Patterson), and Brother Spence Udall gave me a Priesthood blessing. I was able to feel immediate comfort and finish the trek without the constant worry and crying.
I had felt so strongly that I needed to stay on the trek, not just to be there for Savannah; I’m not sure for what other reasons, just that I needed to be there. I was able to get home and go be with her in the hospital. She did get some of the medicine in her system and her sugars went low so they monitored her for 48 hours. I later found out that the medicine she got into was one of the most dangerous and that she is very lucky to be alive! I know it is because of the prayers of safety and comfort and priesthood blessings that she is alive and safe with us today!
I often forget about the need of constant prayer and the blessings that come from it. Sometimes a trial is needed to remind me! I am so grateful for the Gospel in my life, for the power of prayer, and the healing and comfort that comes with it! I am thankful for the love of my Savior and my family and friends who are always so willing to give love, prayers and service in times of need! Thank you!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

I Am the Big Sister! I Am the Big Brother! by Kirstin Udall


The past few weeks I have had the gift of being able to be with my daughter. I arrived in Louisiana just in time for the birth of her second little girl. A huge part of my visit, however, was to help take care my older granddaughter, Tycie, who just turned four, and take her to the hospital on the big day when her baby sister, Macie, came into the world. We arrived at the hospital and made our way toward the front desk with excitement. I stopped off to sign in and get a visitor badge. Tycie was beaming as she proudly announced to the nurse with great confidence, “I'm the big sister!” "Well, then I have something special for you,” the nurse answered as she presented her with her a BIG SISTER badge to wear in as she met her new baby sister. She pinned it on proudly and marched into the room like she owned the place! Her eyes sparkled as she held her for the very first time.

I loved observing this, as it made my heart swell with joy. What a bond of love existed between those two little spirits, and it was so immediate! Upon bringing the baby home, Tycie has been diligent in watching out for the baby. She is concerned with each cry or grunt her sister makes and immediately rushes to find something that will help the situation, be it a diaper, or a pacifier, or a blanket.

This caused me to ponder in my heart the idea of being a "sister", or a "brother" for that matter. My son, Levi, is serving a mission in Mongolia. It is a service mission, and he is not allowed to proselyte or approach people about the gospel. They call him by his last name, by “Udall” itself, instead of addressing him as "Elder." He said that it hasn't been a shock, however, because in the Mongolian language they all address each other as brother or sister whether you're a member of the church or not. So he gets called Brother Udall by a lot of people.  He also expressed how special it is that the Mongolian people treasure their little children and everyone, strangers included, make sure that they are always safe and taken care of when they see them out and about on the street.  He said he felt like he's learned a truer sense of the word of how to be a brother because his job is to teach and serve in ways that don't necessarily involve the discussions of gospel principles, but rather trying to be an example of those principles through action.


I can't help but see the parallel in this and the way that the Lord has set up his church. Our stakes, and our wards, are to be a family to each other, and we are to seek out those brothers and sisters that need us. Recently my ward, Little Colorado Ward, has lost some special brothers and sisters. It has caused me to reflect and pinpoint some lessons I learned from being around these individuals in our ward meetings, activities, and boundaries. Some of these lessons were said to me, some of them were done for me, and some were just a silent shining example for me to learn from.

I have watched and marveled at the brothers and sisters in our community and how they rally and work together to help out in situations where assistance is needed. Sometimes the help is asked for, but in most cases it is just offered because they just know or have learned how to be a “sister” or a “brother." I have heard several teach lessons that have helped my faith to grow! I have seen acts of service accomplished as well. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for being a big brother, or sister, to me through the years!

It is my prayer that we will all look within our new ward families, and within our community, and seek out those brothers and sisters that we might not know very well. Perhaps they're in need of a friend, or they might have welfare needs, or they might be in pain. It is my hope that we will strive to be better big sisters and big brothers to each other. Our elder brother, Jesus Christ, is our shining example of this, And we need only look to him in order to see how to be the perfect brother. He brought with him, and his earthly life demonstrated, the gospel of love. It is my testimony that love is the answer to all that ails us, and that it is up to us as brothers and sisters to not only believe there is good in the world, but to be the good in the world!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

What Am I Going to Do? by Benjamin Brown

I just got back from the Saturday evening session of our Stake Conference where the theme was clearly focused on missionary work. Memories of my mission have been flooding my mind as they often do when I am reminded of my duties to share the gospel. I remember how excited and focused I was for those two years. I remember telling myself, as a missionary, that when I got home from my mission, I would be the best member missionary that every lived, and not be like so and so who was a disappointing ward mission leader, or so and so in my area that was too busy working to come out and teach with us. Fast forward almost ten years and guess what, I’ve become the member I never wanted to be: a little too comfortable, a tad too polite, and a whole lot more scared to speak up than I used to be. The world has a way of creeping into our lives and distracting us from important things. If you were not present at the meeting tonight, President Lee challenged each of us to answer this question: “What am I going to do?” regarding missionary work. I would like to share what I am going to do.

Missionaries keep a record of the work in their area. This record is appropriately called an “Area Book”. When I served, the Area Book was a three-ringed binder that was passed from companionship to companionship ensuring information about the investigators, less active members, potential investigators, and even former, or “dropped” investigators, was not lost. When I arrived to a new area I would open the Area Book and study the active or progressing investigators and I could know very quickly what we were up against. It is one of the best tools that missionaries have. Today, missionaries carry this record with them everywhere they go on their iPads. They are always updating and improving the record to help them receive inspiration about who and what to teach.


When I got home from my mission, I felt inspired to create an Area Book for my post-mission life. I decided to organize it by area, and I filled it with tabs mimicking the way we organized it in the field with progressing investigators, potentials, dropped, less-actives, and other important contacts. I started with my first area: Provo, Utah. I wrote down on a paper a list of all the non-members I could possibly think of that I knew in that area. The list was short, but it was a start. I gave each person their own page. I included their contact information, their back ground, how I met them, and what their interest level was. I left plenty of space on the page for future updates. I determined to update the information as they progressed. For each “potential investigator” I made check-box items, or mile stones so to speak to help me know how to share the gospel. For instance, I would ask myself a series of questions: “Do they even know you are a member of the church?” (implying that if they don’t, then it is time to find a way to let them know). Or, “have you ever asked them about their religion?”. Typically, the questions progressed in way that would allow for the investigator to learn more and more but also required more involved actions on my part. “Have you invited them to an FHE activity? Have you invited then to a baptism or activity at the church? Have you invited them to read a pamphlet? Etc…” Ultimately, the idea was to set mini-milestone goals to help me know what to do next. The most important part I think, was that in writing down and keeping track of the work, I would open myself up to inspiration. 

I made my Area Book and committed to keep it updated. I felt how awesome it would be, if after living maybe 50 years of updating the book diligently, how precious it would feel. I had a vision in my mind of me laying it at the feet of my Savior and saying, “Lord, I tried. Here are my efforts. I really tried.”

Like I said, the world has a way of creeping its way into our lives, slowly pushing important things aside. I kept up with my Area Book for a few years. I took it with me to Washington D.C., where I saw some real success in using the book. It kept me focused. Then I took it back to Provo, then to Florida, and then Phoenix. During one of our moves it was packed in a box, and I lost track of it for a while. I fell out of habit of keeping it updated. I fell out of practice, and focus. It’s been years since I have updated anything. Years since I added new names or pondered how I might best make the next step with a contact. Years since I pondered old or dropped investigators. Who knows how many who were not interested then, may be now. President Lee, I know what I am going to do; I knew the moment you asked us from the pulpit. I am going to find my personal area book, open it up, and begin again. Right here in my favorite area so far on my “mission.”

Saturday, June 17, 2017

My Special Trek by Heather Arave

I know there are always special experiences that happen on trek, and I wanted to share a few of mine. I was asked to go as an adult participant, and I was nervous because I am quite a shy person until I feel comfortable. I was so nervous about being around teenagers...even though I have 2 of my own. 13 all at once kind of scared me. I wasn't really sure what my role was or what was expected of me. This was the first trek experience ever for me and my family, so I had no idea what to expect at all. I went with a prayer in my heart that I would be able to open up to the kids and be able to interact with them. I also prayed that I would be able to have some special experiences and be able to connect with my ancestors.

The first day was pretty hard and tiring. We hiked 12 miles that day with no food, and I was so impressed that there were not any complaints from kids about how hungry they were. They just kept on going and doing what they were asked. I was so impressed at how everyone worked together to help each other through rough spots on the trail. It made me incredibly happy to see both the boys and girls run back to help others behind them that needed help over the rocky ridges or steep hills. It filled my heart so much to see so much love and kindness in these teenagers. Even though they were hungry and tired, they thought of others.

Later that night, after dark and a long rest, we set off again. We were told the boys would be leaving to go to on the "Mormon Battalion" and from the time we started we were not allowed to talk. It needed to be silent. The boys started off with us. Jaynie and I were in the yoke and the others were pushing. Once we got to a certain point, the boys were then to let go and not help anymore. I could tell the instant the boys let go; it got so much harder to push. The boys walked alongside of us, but they could not talk. I knew they were silently cheering us on and wanting to help. We pushed and pulled with all our might for, I don't know how long, but it felt like forever. At one point it felt like it was never going to end. As soon as the boys were given the okay to help, 2 of them jumped in the yoke and took over for Jaynie and I. What a relief it was to have the help of those strong boys again!

As I thought about this experience the next day, I can compare it to when we have the Savior by our side, life is hard, but definitely easier. If we lose sight of where we are going and let go of the Savior, then life gets really hard. The Savior is always waiting by the side silently cheering us on and wanting to help. As soon as we give the Savior the okay that we want him back in our lives, He will jump in and help. 


As I thought about my ancestor while walking, I thought about how strong she was and how hard it would have been to do this with little kids and pregnant, like she was. She even lost 3 kids to death along the way and her husband shortly after reaching Salt Lake. She had 6 kids like I do, and I can't possibly imagine losing any of them. I would like to think I would have had the testimony and strength to be like my ancestors. What a great deal of faith they had to have! I am so grateful for my ancestors and for their burning testimony to follow the Prophet, even if it meant being disowned by their families and being persecuted by others, to bring this Gospel into my family. I am grateful I was able to go on trek and for the amazing experience it was for me. To be able to learn of my ancestors and to feel a very very small fraction of what they went through will forever be etched in my mind.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Like a Fire is Burning by Lanise Sanders


As I sit and reflect back on my experiences I had through trek, the first line of the song, "The Spirit Of God " keeps entering my mind. "The spirit of God like a fire is burning!" If I had to sum up how I felt for those 4 days, that would be it, filled with the spirit!

I had a lot of opportunities to pray. In fact that first day during the pull, that was ALL I could do. As a Ma I was not allowed to touch the cart to help. So all I could do was pray. Pray for safety, pray for my kids to have the strength to make it up one more hill or over one more rough patch of rocks. As I prayed I could instantly feel the spirit throughout my entire body and watch my kids at moments I thought would be to hard of a spot for them to get through, just climb up and over any obstacle that was placed in front of them, with strength and zero complaining. I saw very many tender mercies given to us by our Heavenly Father.

Our family got to live a little more realistic trek experience when the wheel on our cart collapsed and we were not going to be able to continue on unless we got a new cart. When the trail boss came and checked on us, he called for the back up cart and then called for the Hancock family to come back to us since they were the family just in front of us. Our children were then instructed to swap our things from the broken cart to the replacement cart. Ma and Pa Hancock and Pa and myself were then told we needed to leave because we had a meeting with the other Ma's and Pa's we had to get to a few miles from where we had broken down. At that moment I realized just how strong of a bond I had developed with my kids. I felt horrible having to just walk away from them. I was sad! I wanted to stay there and help them. I felt like I was just abandoning my kids, hoping they could fend for themselves and get everything tied down securely so that they could get back to the group without any more trouble. I realized I am more of a control freak than I thought I was! And then I realized how many saints had to walk away from loved ones that had passed away along the way. I was blessed with the opportunity to feel a small fraction of the pain the saints that lost someone felt and all I could do was pray. I had an instant answer come to me. "They will be O.K." and the 3rd verse of How Firm a Foundation came to my mind. " Fear not I am with thee; oh be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand." I was blessed with peace. We also had a son get pretty sick right after we were reunited with our family and our new cart. We had to leave him behind with a medical team. I had that same very clear thought come to me, "He will be O.K." I cannot explain the joy I felt when I saw my son again happy and well. I was so happy to have him back and able to walk into camp with us that night.

Another moment I had wasn't anything huge but it was to me. For some time now I have felt like I was in a very deep spiritual rut. I hadn't lost faith in Heavenly Father. I knew he answered prayers but I just felt like he hadn't been answering mine. The 2nd morning as we were walking the few miles to our base camp, I was looking around at just how beautiful of an earth we have been given to enjoy and I had such an overwhelming feeling of the spirit spread throughout my entire body and it stayed with me for some time. I am so grateful for that experience. I knew right then that my Father in Heaven is very aware of me and my needs. I didn't realize until I got home and back into daily life just how loud and busy my life is. Looking back, I can now see that my prayers were being answered and I was just to distracted to notice. I learned to make time to feel the spirit and try to be more aware of the blessings I receive daily.

One last thing I would like to share. Friday was our Sunday up there at trek and part of our day was a family home evening. We were asked by our appointed big brother for the day to pick our favorite scripture and share it. I chose Ether 12:6 and it reads. "I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen. Wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." We were asked to walk in remembrance of an ancestor. I walked for my 3rd Great Grandmother Martha Binns Holgate. He family was converted in England and decided to come to America to be with the saints. She was pregnant with her 13th child and went into labor as they were waiting for the ship to come. She died giving birth to her son and was never able to make her trek to America. Her baby Seth died along the way and was buried at sea. I felt her very real presence with me throughout those 4 days. I know she was with me and was finally able to make her trek with the saints. Because of the faith she showed, my life has been blessed by being raised in the Gospel.

I am so grateful for my family! I always said I wanted a big family, now I have 14 children and I love each and every one of them. This experience has changed my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat! I am so grateful for the saints that sacrificed everything they had for the moving forward of the gospel of Jesus Christ.