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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Missionaries are my best friends

So I have discovered that the Elders in the zone are afraid to tell me no. :) 

The other day we were serving in the garden and my sisters were somewhere else so it was me and 3 sets of Elders. They were all talking about tracting and teaching and stuff like that and jokingly (and to see what they would say) I ask "can I go tracting with you?" Omigosh it was literally the funniest thing. "Well.... I mean.... I guess you could... Um..." :) the conversation ended with a suggestion to see if the sisters would let me go with them :)

On Monday I took the Sisters out shopping with me and we spontaneously decided we wanted to leave Allen and go to the Plano mall. So Sister Ricks told me  that we would have to ask the zone leaders for permission. :) so I did and they said yes :)

It's so fun being close to these sweet people. Every year at about this time I struggle with the church. Mostly because I'm the one and only in my family. I have internal battles about if I should continue down this road or stop going to church. The missionaries have been an amazing example to me and have kept me on the right track. 

Every summer my family usually goes to the beach. I don't know if you've ever tried it, but you know that super dry sand that's not packable and it's like powdery? Have you ever tried to walk on it? It's very challenging. So what my family usually does is we all get behind my dad and walk in his footsteps (we look like little ducks in a line), the sand where he just walked is packed down enough to keep the sand from slipping away, making it harder and more painful to walk on. I compare this to how the missionaries help me. The church can be hard for me to understand at times, or sometimes I'm having a downright crappy day and I'm really struggling. The missionaries are in front of me, leading the way, making it slightly easier for me to push past my trials. Yes, they're still pretty tough to handle, but you know what? Just that little bit of help is what keeps me going in times of trials. They have become a little family to me. I don't know what I would do without them. I'm so grateful.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Anniversary ❤️❤️❤️

Today was literally one of the best days of my entire life. 

This morning I woke up to texts from a couple people saying congratulations, and then I got a bunch of chores and stuff done. 

At 1:30 I picked up my Sisters and got the biggest hugs EVER :) it was so sweet. Have I mentioned how much I adore them? Because I adore them. We made our way to the church where we were going to play sports, socialize, etc. When I walked in the Elders started singing a form of happy birthday to me, but changed it to baptism day :) it was sweet. I got a ton of handshakes and hugs. We played basketball then Sister Baker have me a gift from all the missionaries. This card was in it.

I started BAWLING. Omigosh. It was SO sweet. :) 

9 of our zone is transferring out so we signed books and said goodbyes the rest of the time. It was fantastic.

I went to FHE a few hours later and awkwardly walked around (I still don't know many people and the Elders weren't there yet). People started coming up and saying "HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!" I didn't even tell them!! Crazy, huh? :) when asked they said that the Spirit told them... :) I think it was two sweet little missionaries that spilled the beans :)

So we had our opening prayer and announcements were announced and Patrick (this super sweet convert friend of mine) asked if there were any more announcements. Someone said Elder Briggs's name and he said "On behalf of the YSA branch, we want to congratulate Casey on HER ONE YEAR MARK OF BAPTISM!!!!" It was CRAZY!!!! Everyone cheered and everything. Holy guacamole. I cried again and I think I turned bright red. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the YSA. And I adore my sweet missionaries. I'm so grateful for all of my missionaries, the ones serving today all the way to the ones who have me my first Book of Mormon. The ones that congratulated me today and the ones that didn't. I love them all. More than I can express. 

Here is my sweet zone (minus the ZL's) when we went caroling. :)

Elder Schaat is going home on Wednesday and so is Sister Carlson. I was able to get a picture with Elder Schaat but not with Sister Carlson. Hopefully I'll get one when I drive the Sisters to transfers dark and early tomorrow morning (6:30AM)

That awkward moment when you can't hug. Haha :)


I love this church so freaking much. I made the best decision of my life a year ago.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Moving On

Last Sunday I took a leap and decided to try YSA. I fell in love with it. So much that I am getting released from my calling in the primary and my records are getting transferred.

Since my baptism day I've had a hard time with change. I felt like a baby bird being pushed out of my cute little comfortable nest and into the real world, but I didn't know how to fly so I kind of just fell. I felt that was through a lot of things. Adjusting to life as a member was a tough transition for me. This change into a new ward is a totally different situation, though. This is my choice, I'm spreading my wings and FLYING out of my nest instead of getting pushed to my doom. 

That doesn't mean I'm any less terrified, though. 

I've been in the Allen first ward since I was introduced to the church. They have become my family, I'm so close to the sisters (and even though they say I can still be close to them, I know I won't be as close because I won't technically be their member anymore), I adore my home teachers (don't tell Elder C he was right), and I just feel like I'm going away forever. 

I have thought long and hard about this decision, the blessing that I talked about in my last post solidified my thoughts on it, though. 

On my last day of young women's I cried my eyes out because of everything that that program has done for me. I was sad to see it go. Tomorrow I have to say goodbye to a lot of my favorite people. Sure, it's more of a "see you later" but most of those people I don't talk to unless I'm at church. But this is about my testimony, and I'm at a point where if I'm not careful with how I use my time, my testimony could faulter. With all the converts and RMs in the YSA, I think I'll be good. I got flooded with texts today with invites to their Christmas party, and on Monday at FHE everyone welcomed me. :) I feel like I really fit in somewhere, again, not just with the missionaries. :)

I'm so thrilled to start a new adventure :)


Oh and my one year mark is on Monday. Holy guacamole. 

Blessings

(I tried to upload this on the 8th but it didn't upload. Oops)
First off, look how freaking cute these little gifts are.
I asked the missionaries what they wanted for Christmas and most said "a baptism" so I have each of them one of these. Santa's getting baptized :) hehe :)

A lot has been going on in my life. I've been struggling with making some pivotal choices in my life. Like changing my major in school, starting to attend YSA (which I LOVE), and so much more. There have also been some really rough things going on in my life. My moms surgery being one of the main stressors. Yesterday I learned something that just made me crumble. It was everything that was built up spilling over into this other thing. I cried for hours, I made myself sick, I didn't eat for most of the day today, I barely slept last night. I just moped around all day today. 

After attending the missionary Christmas party

(Look at the temple!!!!!)
Which was a blast, by the way. The missionaries made me feel so good about myself. :) 

I went to my first FHE for the YSA. It was... Interesting. I didn't know anyone which made it awkward. The Elders were going to come with me but they got caught in traffic, so I had to fend for myself. Haha :) we looked at Christmas lights, that was fun. But on the drive home my mind kept wandering back to my struggles and my eyes started to tear up again. So I decided that it was time to ask for a blessing. I had talked to the Elders on the phone earlier and they asked me if I needed anything, I said no and they told me to let them know if I did. So I figured I should ask them. They agreed and we met at the church.

So I have this really bad habit of bottling everything up until I explode, so once the Elders asked me what was wrong, I started bawling. We talked for a bit and I felt better just after that, but we went ahead with the blessing. Elder Briggs said it for me. It was the longest blessing I think I have ever had and every word was filled with love. The words "your Heavenly Father loves you so much" were repeated 5 or 6 times throughout and answers to things I didn't even talk about were mentioned. There were even little references to my patriarchal blessing sprinkled in there. I'm so glad I decided to get a blessing. My head has stopped spinning and I'm not feeling as sick. It's amazing what the priesthood and a little bit if faith can do.

I love this church. I'm grateful for my struggles and I'm grateful for the rainbow of blessings that come after the storms of my life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reunited

For the first time in my life I'm actually grateful for missionary transfers. 

Transfers have always been very hard on me. I cry every single time, it's hard for me to say goodbye to people I've grown so close to. But since we have sister missionaries in the ward now, I'm allowed to drive them to transfers, and that makes them a lot easier on me. I can say goodbye to my missionary, see their new companion and then meet the new missionary coming in. I told the sisters that I want to drive to transfers every time it's possible :)

So when Sister Aumua got her call last night, they texted me immediately.

We loaded up her bags and we were on the road to transfers by 9:15 and we made it there at 10. The sisters told me to come inside and wait in the foyer because it was so cold outside. So I stood and talked to some other members for a minute then President Taylor invited us to come into the meeting with them and turned to lead us where to go. I was about to start walking when I felt someone tap my shoulder and ask "Hey do you know where, uh..." As the question was being asked I turned and saw Elder Christensen. I started to BAWL. Oh my gosh. Happy tears of course, seeing one of my absolute best friends for the first time in months when you aren't expecting it will do that to you :) 

I was so happy. I think you can probably tell by the picture. 

The meeting was great. President had the missionaries stand and sing "Army of Helaman" to the members that drove. It made me cry, too. The elders that were standing near me had big huge smiles on their faces too. The joy I felt today at that meeting was indescribable. I'm still beaming at this very moment. 

I said goodbye to my sister and only cried a little bit. She was like a big sister to me so it was really hard on me, and I think I would have taken it a lot harder if I wasn't driving them. I met the new sister and she's awesome. 

Right as we were about to leave I went to go say goodbye to Elder C. I got to meet his new companion and Elder C told him the brief version of my conversion and said I was the best convert. It was so cool. It was so great catching up with him. The best surprise of my week, if not my month. 

I'm so grateful for the worthy young men and women that chose to serve missions. Each time I see a missionary it makes me happy to the core because they are finding those that are lost, like I was. They are on a search and rescue mission, diligently searching for those that need the gospel. I love them.


Today also marks the day my parents said that I could get baptized... :) how special is that?? What a great day to get reunited with the missionary that made it all happen.


Friday, October 10, 2014

State Fair

So tonight I went to the state fair with some friends from college. It was a ton of fun.

I went with Andrew (23) Josh (23?) and Jessica (19). We went on roller coasters, played games and Josh won me a hedgehog stuffed animal. It was great.

About an hour before we left, Andrew and Josh bought beers. Josh, trying to be friendly, offered me a sip when I said I had never drank before. I'm not going to lie, I thought about it. "One sip wouldn't hurt" and "I'm at the fair, I should let loose and have fun" ran through my head. I thought about it longer than I would like to say, but I did say no. He asked if I was sure and I shook my head. He was really cool about it.

After the fair we went out to eat at Chili's, where Josh ordered another beer. And offered me a drink again. Again, I thought about it. And then said no.

Remember who you are, no matter the situation. Even though I've been having a testimony low point, I remembered the promises I made at baptism and didn't drink. Stand as a witness "in all times, in all things, in all places." Even the state fair.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Conference!!! :)

I'm not going to lie, conference day is always a stressful day for me. Usually I don't have a place to go for at least one of the days and I end up sitting all sad and alone in the chapel. Conference usually isn't a great experience for me because of that.

But this conference the Sister Missionaries made sure to invite me to watch conference with them at the church :) it was really nice. When I got there the whole zone was there! It was so fun. Hearing all the missionaries sing during the hymns brought the spirit so strong. I feel so at home with the missionaries. Every convert has a "member family" that they go to. The missionaries have become my member family. :) they treat me like I'm one of them, just without the name tag. :)

It was funny- Allen 1st sisters got to go to Cheesecake Factory with some members and they brought back cheesecake for us (2 slices). We passed a couple forks around with the cheesecake and all had a couple bites. And we shared candy. 

I'm so grateful for the missionaries in my life :)


OH! Did you see President Durrant on the stand today??? WAY COOL!!!!! :) I totally look up to him. :)

Happy conference everyone :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Update! :)

It's been forever since I updated my blog... He's a few things that have happened in my life:


  • I started college
  • I taught my first primary lesson
  • I studied
  • I bought a new laptop for college (with my own money and it was really exciting)
  • I studied
  • I had my first college exam 
  • I studied
  • I started going to institute at my college
  • I studied
  • I hit my 9 month mark of getting baptized
  • I studied some more
Oh and did I mention I studied? I never used to study in high school, but studying is my life now. And I have no social life anymore. Haha :) Oh, college.

I'm loving my new institute class. At first I didn't talk at all in there because I didn't know anyone. It was kind of awkward because they're all from Plano (a different city). They were all super nice to me, though, so I'm more comfortable in there. :) There's a bunch of returned missionaries in there and one of them (named Emily) has gone out of her way to sit by me every week. She doesn't know it, but I really appreciate it. If she didn't sit by me I would probably sit alone. So it's really nice :)  The teacher is really nice, too. I just love it so much :)

I've been missing my missionary friends a ton recently. Not just my friends serving here in Texas, but the friends I went to high school with. The hardest thing about college is all my friends are either on missions or at BYU. So I've been thinking about all my missionary friends all week. Elder C, Elder Varela the older and Elder Varela the younger, Sister Jensen, Sister Platt, Elder McDermott, etc. It's a bummer because Elder McDermott had his farewell this last Sunday and I wasn't feeling up to going to church (I've been so sick) and decided to sleep in and go to the YSA ward for the first time, completely forgetting his farewell was this week. I feel absolutely horrible about it. :( I'll have to write him a letter.

I had this plan to send all my missionary friends a letter this past week, but I've been so run down from the crazy amounts of studying that when I'm not working, going to school or studying I'm asleep. (Which is also why I haven't updated the blog... Sorry!!!)

I'll try to update more frequently now that I'm in the swing of college. :) And I'm sorry if this blog post is all over the place. I'm dead tired :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Surprises! :)

I got the best surprise in the mail yesterday. A letter from my favorite missionary, Elder C! :)

Has anything made you so happy that it made your eyes tear up? That was me when my dad handed me the letter. First off, I love getting mail, second it was from someone so dear to me and I hadn't heard from him in 3 months. It made my day.

He's doing awesome. :) good ol' Elder C.



We have Sisters in the ward now. They're so great. And now that I'm 18 I'm going to institute and I'll be getting my first calling soon. It's so exciting. :)

This year I can't seem to stay healthy. I'm sick again. I have a double ear infection (swimmers ear) with a eustachian tube dysfunction. The ETD basically means I won't be able to hear right for the next 2 weeks. Nothing serious, though. :)

Life is awesome. I love this gospel and my Heavenly Father's many blessings. :)



Monday, July 21, 2014

Love

Words cannot describe how much I love children. There's this one little boy named Teddy. He is an orphan form China. A family in our ward is hosting him so we can find him a home. At the beginning of August, he will go back to China, family or not. It makes me so sad. I wish I was older and married because I would adopt him. He's so special. On Sunday during the YW's theme he started to giggle. I don't really know why, but it was the sound of pure joy. It made me cry. I love that little boy. We need to find him a forever family.

https://www.facebook.com/helpteddygetahome

Before I was a member of the church, or even knew what a Mormon was, I wanted TEN children. I don't exactly know why, but the thought of having a big family has always been appealing to me.

I just hit my eighteenth birthday, so now I'm an adult. In a couple years, I'll be married and starting my own little family. (Probably not with ten children though ;) ) I've really began to see the absolute importance of the family in a couple different places.

I've gotten a new job working as a nanny for this sweet little family in the ward. Their mom passed away from cancer a few years ago, so when their dad is out of town, they need someone to stay over and be with them. A couple weeks ago I was able to stay with them all week, Monday-Friday. I felt like I was a mom. I read scriptures with them, I prayed with them, I prayed for them, I prayed for strength to be there for them, I prayed that I would be able to forgive them easily, I prayed that no one would get hurt, and on the night that the kids thought someone was in the house, I prayed that he would come after me. It's amazing how much a mother (or a part-time mother) prays. (Oh by the way, no one was in the house). The Spirit in the home is so  important when raising a family. It's amazing the strength and courage I had when I was taking care of those kids.

... And then I come home and I'm still afraid of walking upstairs when it's dark.

Heavenly Father is aware of us and our needs.

My dad has been struggling. I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it on the blog, but about the time I was falling away from the church (the winter before Elder C transferred in (August) and rescued me), my dad was really sick and in a lot of pain. I thought he was going to die. He had this back surgery and the doctor screwed up and used a dirty tool, which caused my dad to have an infection that nearly killed him. Now the pain is back and my dad can barely move. We think he's going to have to have another surgery and that freaks me out. I love my daddy and I don't want to see anything bad happen to him. It's hard for me to not get angry at the doctor. I was even angry at Heavenly Father when I first found out what was going on. But I've found comfort in my scriptures and when I remind myself that there's no reason for me to be angry at Him.

Please keep my daddy and sweet little Teddy in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Peak Into My Mind :)

Tonight for mutual we watched The Saratov Approach. It's a movie about two LDS missionaries who were kidnapped and held for ransom. 

I feel like I learned a lot from the movie. Always listen to the Spirit, put your trust in Heavenly Father, through Him anything is possible. I feel like I learned a little about missionaries, too.

I have always loved to be around missionaries, their sweet little spirits make me so happy. I always used to be with the missionaries. Whether it was feeding them, getting invited to the big lunches they'd have on Saturdays, playing volleyball with them, gardening, teaching with them, or any other little things we could find, I was usually with the missionaries if I wasn't at work or sleeping. 

In fact, when I got my braces off I left school early so I could feed my little friends breakfast before dropping them off at a district meeting... :) Haha. 

Recently, though, I have really lost touch with my little friends. I only see them on Sundays. Which is super odd to me. 

We were watching this movie. At the beginning it shows this scene of the 2 elders getting pulled inside and beaten up. The faces of all my many missionary friends went through my mind. Elder Christensen, Elder James, Elder Varela, Hermana Hunter, Elder King, Elder White, Sister Bennion, Hermana Moss, Sister Herschi, Elder Murphy, Elder Ramsdell, Elder Burke, Elder Fernandez, etc... 

Then I remembered some of the emails. Some missions have curfews that change weekly depending on how everything is going around them. Hermana Hunter's was at 5 recently, I think. Maybe it was 7... But still. Mission presidents and missionaries are doing their best to stay safe and keep each other safe and that comforts me. I also know that Heavenly Father is aware of all of His missionaries. 

I like to pray for the missionaries. Sometimes my prayers are really long just because I'm talking to Him about each missionary. Missions are hard, but it means the world to me when people serve missions. They're finding the people like me. People that know their missing something, but they don't know where to look for it.  

Sarah Bennion has always been this shining example to me. When she told me she was called to a mission in California, I cried tears of joy for her and all the lives she'd be touching. I will never forget that last hug before I said goodbye. We were both crying. Just like the day of my baptism. 


Two other worthy missionaries are leaving the first ward on July 9th. Ben Varela and Hailey Jensen.

Ben was the silly little 14 year old boy who introduced me to the church. The one who spent HOURS answering questions and had me over for dinner every Sunday after church for a year. He sat with me during my missionary discussions, and even opened his home for 10 other people to come listen, too.

I've been blessed with a great life full of many examples. Ben, Savannah, Bethany, Elder C, Sister Thunell, Sister Patterson, the list goes on and on. I love this church and everyone in it. I love the support I have. I wouldn't be who I am today without it.


Oh! I'm giving another talk this Sunday. (That's 4 talks since my baptism (6 months ago)) It's the missionary conference for the 1st ward. :) They always have the most recent convert speak, and this year it's finally my time to shine. :) 

Have a happy week! :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Trek

Wow. I had the best Trek ever.

My Ma and Pa were Brother and Sister Morris. They were amazing. I had 9 brothers and sisters (so together, we were a family of 12)

Brothers: Jonathon, Seth, Jeffery(Max), Lehi, and Connor
Sisters: Megan, Lindsey, Hailey and Erin

I LOVED my family. Oh my gosh. The weirdest thing, though, was the similarities between Jonathon and I.


Jonathon is also a convert. He was born 12 days after I was. He was raised Catholic (just like me) and HE WAS BAPTIZED ON DECEMBER 15!!! Like, what the heck?!?!! How COOL is that?! He was baptized a year before me, though. :) Yeah, this is my big brother, except, I'm 12 days older. He really stepped up and took the big brother role, though. (My brothers, Pa, and I put flowers in our hats, that's the yellow ball thing, my flower died.)

In all, Trek was full of many trials and many tears. I loved every second of it.

Day 1
At 4:00 AM on Monday I woke up to my alarm singing "Let it Go" :) The Thunell's came to pick me up and bring me to the Stake Center. We all piled into cars and we were off. I was in the car with Ben and his mom. For the hour and a half ride, Ben told me stories of the pioneers. It was really cool.

Oh, and it rained the whole ride. It was 60 degrees by the time we got there and got out. It was so cold I was SHIVERING. Totally unexpected.

So we got there and I started to meet my siblings. Since Ma and Pa weren't there yet, we helped put up some tents and got to know each other.



When Ma and Pa got there, we learned names, and went to a little devotional. After that we loaded up our buckets on our handcart and we were all off.


This isn't my company, this is from the green company. You can see the mud we had to endure. It was super slippery and really hard to push a handcart through. I almost fell 3 times and actually fell once. I got tired of slipping and falling, so I decided to walk super close to a bunch of trees. I got pretty scratched up, but when my siblings started to fall, I was able to reach down and hook arms with them and pull them back up. Seth couldn't get his footing at one point, so I held out my hand and we walked out of the mud together. We all got pretty close as we walked together. I loved it.

I get really dehydrated, really fast, which was a huge bummer during trek. I got really queasy around lunchtime. I went to Brother Quenzer (the YM president in my ward, who was also a medic on trek) and told him how I was feeling. He told me to go ahead and eat lunch and see how I felt after. So that's what I did. After lunch I decided to push the handcart for the first time (which was a bad idea). Soon I was feeling super dizzy, so I had my brother take over. I kept walking and I just kept feeling worse so I stopped and waited for the medics. They had me walk with them since I was struggling so much.

My favorite part of the first day was the Mormon Battalion. After a little vignette (a play type thing) they took our brothers and pa's away and marched them away, leaving their wives, ma's, daughters and sisters behind to push the handcarts. We had a talk on the importance of the priesthood and we were off. Sadly, I wasn't able to push the handcart because the medics specifically told me not to, but I walked behind my family as they pulled. Soon, we saw our men on a giant hill.


And we started to run. (Well, those of us who were allowed to)


And they SPRINTED to our aid. (I get chills every time I think of it.)


And helped them up the hill. It was so spiritual. I was smiling to myself as I was walking with my medic friend when I looked up and saw my brother Jonathan running back down the hill toward me. He stopped by my side and talked to me for a minute before putting his hand up like he was telling a secret and said "we have a surprise for you guys up there."


He hooked arms with me, turned to me and said "You can do this." and we ran up the hill, together. This was something that really impressed me about my family. We were all there for each other 100% of the time.

That "surprise was those really yummy frozen ice pop things. We all got one and went on our merry way to Zion.



After 7 miles, we made it.












I made a (required) visit to the medical tent and the doctor gave me some funky lemon water and let me sit in front of some fans for a little bit, then sent me on my way to have dinner with my family. I was fine.




Ma made us these really fun toys called whirly gigs. They were amazing. They became our family's little joke. We wore them around our necks and played with them anytime we were at a fireside, eating, walking, doing anything, really. After we ate, we went to a little fireside. All of the sudden I was feeling queasy and having some awful pains in my chest. Instead of getting the icecream they had for dessert after the fireside I went to my tent, laid down and stared at the roof.

"Why am I here?" I thought. "Mom didn't want me to come, and I came and now I'm in so much pain. Why am I here? Why did I do this to myself?" Tears welled up in my eyes when my sister came into the tent to check on me. I blinked away my tears and followed her outside. We lit up some candles and talked about "sharing the light" of the gospel and prepared ourselves spiritually for the trail tomorrow by singing a hymn together. (Teach Me to Walk in the Light) Then we all hugged and went our separate ways. Right before I went into my tent, I got a stabbing pain in my chest again. I went to my sweet sister, Megan, and asked her to come to the medical tent with me. She went and told Ma where we were going and Ma decided to come along. The doctor checked me out and told me that he didn't want me to walk the next day. I was so sad. I cried. I decided that I wanted to get a priesthood blessing to help me feel better. So when we went back to the base camp, Ma went and knocked on my bishop's tent then got my Pa.

As I was sitting there waiting for Bishop to come over and for my Pa to find his oil, I looked up at stars and prayed silently to myself. All of the sudden the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. The cool air made me feel a ton better. When the wind quieted, I could hear my sisters talking about me, asking Megan, who had slipped into the tent, if I was alright. It was so sweet of them to ask about me.

Pa and Bishop gave me a blessing. It was amazing. I love the priesthood. I hugged them and Ma then went into the tent and fell asleep. It was a really cold night.

Day 2

Like I said, I wasn't allowed to walk the second day, but I told myself that when they drove me up to my family for lunch I would walk the way back with them. So I had that little motivation in my head as I hugged my family goodbye and made my way to the medical tent. The trail they traveled was called the "Sharing the Light" trail. It was based on missionary work. I was so bummed I couldn't go.

I sat in the medical tent for an hour or so talking to Emma Thunell. She broke her foot the Saturday before Trek so she wasn't able to do the trails.



They brought the two of us up to meet with our families for lunch, I talked to the doctor before I left and he gave me permission to continue on with my family. So that's what I did. We walked the trails together and since it was the missionary trial, there were some "nonmembers" that were asking us questions. I taught the first discussion to the one that was asking me questions, then he went on to ask the rest of my family questions. He said that out of all the families he talked to, we did the best at answering his questions about the church. It was really cool.

So we kept walking. And walking... And walking.........

Soon every step got more and more painful. I had some pretty bad blisters. I decided to try and tough it out, I didn't want to have to stop walking. The pioneers did it, so I could do it, right?


Then I saw Bishop Poulter. He moved off to the side to make sure everyone was doing okay. (The weird thing is, this is actually where he was. We had a great photographer. He got like every little moment.) I decided to go tell him what was going on. He called the medics and they put some mole skin on my blisters and I started to walk again. It hurt bad, so I was really slow. Bishop Poulter asked if it was any better, I told him they still hurt, but it helped a little. He told me he had another idea. He jumped off his horse and told me to get on. WHAT. I told him I'd be fine, but he insisted. So I got on the horse and rode into the base camp. Earlier in the day I was petting the horse and feeding him the carrots Ma gave me for lunch (I don't like carrots). I even gave him a kiss on the nose. I love that horse. :)

So yeah, I was one of the only youth that rode a horse. :)

When we got back to camp I went to the Pioneer Village with my family. We made butter, candles, made music with wash boards, ate some monkey bread, bought bracelets and candy with our "money"(beads), and took family pictures. :) It was a blast.








That night we had a musical fireside. We danced some of the Pioneer dances and we sang songs and we listened to some different musical performances.
  (learning the dances.)



 (Savannah and Bethany singing Come Unto Christ (Which made me cry))


For the closing song we sang a song that someone's sister wrote for treks for a bunch of different stakes. Pretty much everyone was in tears. It's called Fire of the Covenant. Click here to listen to it. It's such a beautiful song. I just love it.

So after we all went back with our families. We were all supposed to bring a pioneer story. Throughout trek, Ma and Pa would ask us to tell our stories. That was the night that we finished telling our stories. We prayed and went to bed.

Day 3 (Last day)

We woke up to one of our leaders singing at the top of his lungs about how beautiful the day was. It was SO funny. I peeked out our tent window to see him shaking tents and screaming singing good mornings to all the sleepy trekkers. All of my sisters and I laughed as we got ready. There was dew all over us because we decided to open all the windows and take the cover off the roof. It was actually really refreshing. :)

We all got ready for the day. Oh, I forgot to mention that the doctor didn't let me walk the last trail because it was the hardest one with no access to any roads for emergency pickups. Because of how dehydrated I got and the blisters I had, he wanted me to stay safe. So my family got ready for trekking, I got ready for an uneventful day at the medical tent.

We got to have a testimony meeting as a family. It was so spiritual. I absolutely loved it. My Pa cried during his. He told us about a talk he heard that explained that the pioneers would rather do what they did than live in our day. After our meeting Ma asked us to pick a last song to sing as a family. We sang Come, Come, Ye Saints. The whole song, not just the first verse, because we all love the last verse so much.

And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell-
All is well! All is well!

I just love it so much. I don't really know why. I guess it's because I finally understand a tiny bit of what the pioneers went through.

After we sang, my brother Seth said our last family prayer. And they got it on camera... It is one of my favorite picture from the whole experience.


After that we broke camp and put our trash bags of stuff in the appropriate areas.

And we were off. I walked with my family part of the trail to see the vignette, then walked to the medical tent, after checking in, I went to go find some friends and I wandered a little bit.











For lunch, I met up with my family. This was another one of my favorite moments.

The final vignette was of Joesph Smith. The priest who played Joesph Smith recited the first vision and a beautiful song was sung. (Joesph Smith's First Prayer)

 Afterwards we were delivered letters from home. My dad wrote one for me, but he got it in late so it was an email. This is what it said:

Well, leave it to your dear ole dad to goof up and not get this to your group leaders in letter form before you left. You know me tho, normal I'm not :).

By the time you get this, I'm quite sure you are exhausted, possibly wet from the rain, bug bitten, tired and aching feet and legs, a little hungry, and probably sunburned on top of your sunburn.. I hope not, but 5 minutes in the sun and, well you know what happens to you after 5 minutes in the sun... :).

Mom and I wanted to let you know how proud we are of you! I look back now and wonder where the time went. When did you become a young adult??? Closing the chapter of high school, becoming someone who thinks for herself, follows her dreams and making an impact on the lives of those she touches. It seems like just yesterday I saw this little girl, standing in front of that little tree, lunchbox in hand, backpack loaded down with supplies, ready to take on the trials and tribulations that would be kindergarten. Try as I might, I just couldn't stop time from moving on. In a blink on an eye, That ole tree has grown, spreading its roots to ensure a prosperous life.  And then I look at you... In that same blink you have grown into a remarkable young lady, your roots are spreading, building your life, leaving your legacy and touching the lives of so many along the way. We couldn't be prouder!

To that little girl, we said have a great day, have fun and come home safe, mommy and daddy love you.... To the young lady you have become we say, shake off the tiredness, finish the job you started, help where you can, touch as many lives as possible. Most importantly though, have fun, stay safe and get home soon, mommy and daddy love you!

We miss you already!

With everlasting love,
Mom and Dad

Oh my gosh. It was so amazing. I cried. A lot. And then I read Sister Thunell's sweet letter and I started crying even more. I wrote in my journal then got on my knees and prayed. It was a super spiritual experience. I remember looking around at the people around me. Most of them were crying, too. I saw a couple other people on their knees as well, and some writing in their journal. I felt united with all the people around me. I felt the love that Heavenly Father has for each and every one of us.








It was beautiful.

After that we ate lunch and I said goodbye to my family again. I was a little disappointed, but I realized something.

It was NOT easy for the pioneers, and while some of them were well enough to walk and trek on, some of them were not. They had to let their families go on without them. I got to see my family a couple times a day, the pioneers didn't. The feelings of worry and wonder that I felt for my family were similar to the feelings that they felt. They didn't know how their family was, or how far they were, or if they were cold or hungry or hot or sad or happy or hurt. And the families that had to leave the people they loved behind had similar feelings to what my family felt. My family lost a daughter. Our perfect family was missing a piece. I'm sure the families in the pioneer days felt the same. They didn't know. Just like we didn't.

I'll never forget what my Ma said when I saw her on the 2nd day after I had been gone for a while. She looked up and saw me, gave me a big hug and said "My little girl!". It was so sweet. I loved my family so much.

I learned a lot that day.

We had this little tradition of cheering on the last company that came in. That was one of my favorite parts, too. The joy that was felt. Oh my goodness. On the last day some people were even carried back. People were hugged, tears were shed, smiles were shared. It was amazing.

 If you look on the left side you can see Madison and I hugging :)


Oh and we also got some watermelon :)


We had a final fireside.





Then we said goodbye to our beloved families and left with our sore feet, tired legs, muddy shoes and stronger than steel testimonies.



Man, I love this church.