Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oh to be a Pioneer...

And no, I'm not talking in the sense that my high school mascot was a pioneer.  (Thank you Lehi High.)

Tonight, while everyone was watching the eclipse, I was at a Jenny Phillips fireside that happened to be held in our old stake center (our stake split while I was on my mission, and our ward was part of the new stake).  As I sat there listening to the music, I began to think of all of the memories I had had in the building.  One that came to my mind was the time when President Hinckley came to dedicate that building.  In June 2002 our stake had the privilege of having our prophet dedicate our stake center.  It definitely was an experience I will never forget.  I remember one thing he said in his talk-that Eagle Mountain would become a sort of "training ground" if you will for the future leaders of the church.  Kind of like pioneers.  I thought about how over the past 10 years I really have had the chance to be a pioneer (in a way much more influential than wearing purple and white at high school football games).

I grew up as one of the oldest youth in our ward.  There were a couple of other girls a little older than me, but for the most part, we were the oldest.  I didn't really have other youth to look up to, at least in the leaving on a mission sort of sense.  It wasn't until June 2009 that our ward really sent out it's first missionary.  I had the privilege to be the first single sister missionary from the Eagle Mountain 4th Ward.  (Heck, even when I started my papers in my BYU ward, my bishop was brand new, and I was the first missionary he helped out to do papers and everything!)

But the "first" opportunities didn't only happen to me here.  About 4 months into my mission, we received word that in July 2011 they would be splitting the Perú Piura mission and would create the Perú Chiclayo Mission.  As things turned out, I because the first American sister missionary in that newly formed mission.  As I was training, I had the chance to be the one of the first sisters in two particular areas that hadn't seen sisters for years (in Tumán and Guadalupe).  On my mission, almost everyone there is a pioneer for their family.  In the areas that I served, the church had been there for at most 25 years.  There were a few second generation members, (a little girl that belonged to the third generation was born while I was Guadalupe) but other than that, pretty  much everyone were converts.

As we think about pioneers, we think of the people who crossed the plains, who suffered from pain and hunger, just for something they believed in.  But a pioneer is someone who leads the way.  I think in our own way, everyone is a pioneer.  I feel so blessed for the opportunity that I have had to be a pioneer in the Gospel, both at home and on my mission. Perhaps I'm not suffering persecutions, but I hope that I can lead the way, that my example can have a positive influences on others who would otherwise be lost.  It is such a beautiful experience.

So even though my high school football team only won one game the whole 3 years I was there, and that I our school colors were purple and white, and there's a giant "L" on the football field, because of the Gospel, I can say that I am proud to be a pioneer.

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