As the storm set in, we feared our trek experience would be ruined. 136 children under the age of 12 were about to have soaked clothes and soaked sleeping bags before taking even one step along the Mormon Trail. We prayed for a miracle.
In July 2016, 273 members of the Colony Pointe Ward traveled to Martin’s Cove in Wyoming to participate in a Pioneer Trek Reenactment. We were excited to dress in our pioneer clothing and walk where the faithful Handcart Pioneers not only walked, but were miraculously rescued from death caused by freezing temperatures and hunger.
It was hot when we arrived early in the afternoon. Most were tired from the 6-hour drive, but were looking forward to the 3-mile trek. We gathered together only to be delayed by 2 hours because of a scheduling conflict. The majority of our group was under the age of 12 and the children were getting very restless, hungry, and uncomfortable. Somehow, everyone maintained a great positive attitude.
When it was finally time to start trekking, we put our handcarts in one long line and awaited final instruction before moving out. As we stood outside waiting to begin, huge dark storm clouds gathered in the west and were quickly moving straight toward us. We could see ahead of us the rain failing from these fast moving clouds. It would only be a few minutes until the rain would be pouring down on us.
Planning for this trek had taken over a year. Money had been saved for over three years. Several activities had been held in preparation for our trip. Pioneer clothing had been purchased or made. The excitement level for our trek had been very high for several months. The coordination of food, equipment, devotionals, musical numbers, and transportation required an unusual amount of preparation, commitment, and sacrifice by so many.
Now a storm was upon us. We hadn’t even started our trek. A rain storm would potentially dampen our positive and hopeful attitudes, and alter the trek we had hoped for for so long. The leaders of the trek gathered to discuss our options. Nothing. Nothing could be done. We could not wait out the storm and we could not hide from the storm. Perhaps we could huddle under the handcarts and hope for the best. We feared that wet clothing, wet feet, wet sleeping bags, and wet tents would ruin the experience for most in our group.
While standing on the very site where Heavenly Father so lovingly spared so many before us, He blessed our little group with a similar blessing. Had I not seen it myself, I may not have believed what happened. As the storm pushed on straight for us, and as we stood hoping for the best, the clouds split in two. We saw the clouds race to the left of us, and to the right of us. Only blue sky hung above us. As quickly as the clouds spit in front of us, they rejoined right behind us. Rain poured down immediately in front of us, immediately to our left and to our right, and immediately behind us. We were spared! Our equipment and clothing remained dry! We could not help but recognize the hand of our Heavenly Father in preserving our wonderful Pioneer Trek! Moroni asked if miracles have ceased. He then gives a powerful testimony and response to his own question when he says, “Nay, God has not ceased to be a God of miracles”.
Heavenly Father is aware of each of us, collectively and individually. He loves each individual. He cares for each individual. And even when it may not seem like a big deal to some, for others, the tender mercy of keeping dry while on trek was nothing short of a miracle. The same God that calmed the storm tossed Sea of Galilee, and split the rain clouds over Martin’s Cove, can and will bring peace and happiness to each of us as we strive to follow Him, keep His commandments, and draw nearer to Him in our everyday lives.