Last weekend we spent the day at Bear Lake helping to launch Katie and Kevin and his parents' new boat. We enjoyed the company, the boat, and the lake. Bear Lake County, Idaho, is where some of my ancestors settled in the 1860s. I thought of them as we played.
My grandmother's parents were Mormon emigrants who came from Switzerland. They left everything they had for their beliefs. Her father died when she was very young, leaving her mother to raise the family alone. She endured a great many trials, including the death of two of her children, but she found solace by serving in the temple. I admire her faithfulness even during heartbreaking trials.
My grandfather's parents were Danish emigrants who came to the area after crossing the plains as part of the Mormon exodus. My great-grandmother was 16 years old when she crossed the plains and left us a detailed account of her experience. One of my favorite stories was about a prairie fire that came close to the wagon train. She wrote that they offered a prayer, and then unyoked the oxen and drove them in the opposite direction so they wouldn't stampede, then the leader of the pioneer company stood on a wagon tongue and said, "We are not here to be destroyed." He pointed to a small cloud not much bigger than a man's hand and said, "there is our deliverance." She said, "At that same moment there was a terrific peal of thunder and flash of lightning, and rain poured down. We thanked the Lord for our deliverance, and went on our way rejoicing."
They knew they were being watched over and protected, and so often I have felt that same loving watchcare.
Recently words from her journal were quoted on "Music and the Spoken Word" where she described the journey: "Every day was about the same, only the farther we got, the more rough and rocky the road seemed to be. Sometimes we would find some old Indian sandals and tied them under our shoes to ease our feet a little. Sometimes we would sing a verse or two of "Come, Come Ye Saints."
I appreciate the reminder that though "rough and rocky the road," strength and comfort will come.
I love the words to the hymn:
"Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
Tis not so, all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward,
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take;
Our God will never us forsake,
And soon we'll have this tale to tell,
All is well! All is well!"
Because of its high elevation the winters are long and cold. During the first winter the settlers nearly starved, and many left. My great-grandfather chose to stay and help build the community. I appreciate his perseverance and the sacrifices he made to raise his family in that beautiful mountain valley.
|David and Jon|
|David and I|