Sunday, May 1, 2016

Examples often come in the most unexpected way - Youth of the Rose Park Stake

Youth from the Rose Park Stake complete their hike down
City Creek Canyon (Photo courtesy of Teresa Hyde)
Youth from throughout the LDS Church on a periodic basis do a "Trek" experience for a number of reasons.  It's often a reenactment of early Church Pioneers, even to the extent of dress and use of handcarts to feel more what the challenges these early church members went through to reach the area of the Salt Lake Valley.  The most important aspect of this experience is not the physical hardship, but understanding what faith it took for strangers to the area to push forward, based on a hope and belief in their faith of how God would help them through their trials, leading them to the joys the gospel would have in-store for them.  Some sadly never made it, but their stories live on in many ways by family members who completed the journey or witnesses who documented their experiences.  The Salt Lake Rose Park Stake is preparing for its Trek experience during the week of July 11- 14 in the area of Martin's Cove and Sixth Crossing and over an area known as Rocky Ridge.  A portion is a very lengthy walk so we have been preparing both physically and spiritually for this experience.

In preparation for the physical side, we planned a hike up City Creek Canyon yesterday, April 30, 2016.  Our destination was picnic site #18 just past the 3 1/2 mile marker.  We parked at the upper lot of the Capitol and with the additional mile prior to the Canyon gate, walked just over 4/12 miles each way or over 9 miles in total.  It was check-in of sorts to see how we were doing physically (I made it but have a ways to go!) and it was a chance for us to be together as a group.
Return trip down the canyon with my daughter
Sarah and her friend Jenna. (Photo courtesy of Teresa Hyde)
Being toward the end on the return trip, I experienced a series of unexpected interactions with people as I came down the canyon.  I was stopped about five times, by people I knew and some by total strangers.  Each time, even though during most of that journey I was walking by myself, people stopped me for some reason and asked me who were those youth walking down the canyon and why were they here?  Each time I explained some of the information above, explained to non members what a Trek involved, and of course why they were here that day.  I explained my role as Stake President and jokingly asked, if the "group" was behaving themselves, to which the reply was always, "They are acting in an upstanding way and reflection of goodness."  Of course, for those who know me, it brought a few tears to my eyes and I reflected in gratitude their commitment and effort and it also reminded me how we are often setting examples in the most unexpected way.  We don't know who is watching us or the impact our behavior might have upon them.

While I've challenged the youth as well as members of the Rose Park Stake to be prepared, both physically and spiritually,  I am also taking an opportunity to do so as well.  The physical may have to wait until tomorrow, while I do a little recovering today!