As with most things in life, the quality of your personal Trek experience will be influenced greatly by how much you invest yourself into it. In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord said "all things unto me are spiritual" (D&C 29:34) and this principle applies perfectly to Pioneer Treks. You'll never really *need* to walk 1000 miles over a mountain range while pulling your earthly belongings - but you WILL encounter other obstacles and trials in your life. These challenges will most likely be spiritual in nature, and will require levels of sacrifice, commitment, and endurance equal to that required of the Saints in the 1840s and 1850s.
Please consider what you can 'do without' in your life today, just as the original pioneers had to make hard choices of what to leave behind them on the trail. They left behind books, toys, and social status. Are you willing to 'leave behind' some of your daily habits and possessions in order to enjoy a more fulfilling and memorable Trek experience? Can you put down your mobile games and pick up the scriptures more often? Will you spend less time reading people's posts on social media today and more time reading the journal entries of the pioneers of yesterday, especially your own ancestors?
In addition to regular, ongoing spiritual habits such as scripture study, prayer and personal righteousness, we have a few suggestions that will help you achieve the most from your Trek experience this year:
- We invite you to connect with the remarkable stories of pioneers in whose footsteps we will walk. Learn their stories, ponder their dedication and conviction, their faith, and the sacrifices they were willing to make for their beliefs. As you do so, think about what you are being asked to sacrifice for your beliefs today. A few of their stories are posted on this website in the “Handcart Pioneer Histories” section, but there are many more.
- Install the Family Tree App on your phone, and use it to explore your own personal heritage. Use it to begin (or renew) your own family history research. Some may have been pioneers who walked across the plains, but all of us have ancestors who were the pioneers who first accepted the gospel in their family. Other family members may have been pioneers by emigrating to another country, or who found ways of making a better life for their posterity (including yourself.)
- Identify one or more of your ancestors who was the first in your family to embrace the gospel. Learn why you can about their journey in joining the church - why did they join? What sacrifices did they make as a result of the covenants they made? What blessings did they receive? Why did they remain faithful through their challenges?
We hope you will prayerfully consider how you can prepare yourself and then act upon the ideas that come into your mind and heart. As you do so, we're confident you will have an amazing experience.