News Release

Australian Youth Gather To Re-enact Historic Mormon Pioneer Trek

Recently throughout Australia young men and women aged between 14-18 left behind their modern luxuries to dress in long skirts, aprons, bonnets and suspenders to experience some of the struggles of the early pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

The 'trek' experiences gave them insights into the hardships faced by the early saints. The youth from Coffs Harbour, Newcastle and Penrith lived, dressed and ate just as the early Mormon pioneers did, re-enacting a portion of the two-thousand-kilometre journey to Salt Lake City, Utah.

"The youth pushed and pulled handcarts similar to the ones used by the early pioneers. The handcarts carried everything needed for the journey," remarked President Jacob Whiting of the Newcastle Stake ( Diocese). "It helps them to understand the physical and spiritual hardships the pioneers faced."

The Penrith youth faced hardship and adversity on their journey. While the youth prepared for the physical challenges of pulling heavy wooden handcarts, there were also unexpected hurdles to overcome such as a statewide total fire ban. This made cooking meals and providing warmth difficult, especially during the cold nights. These challenges helped the youth grow closer together as a team as they worked to overcome the obstacles before them.

Among the youngest of the pioneers,14-year-old Juliann Smith said, “I was doubtful in my abilities prior to trek and was lacking courage.  The opportunities that trek provided enabled my friends and I to develop our faith and strengthen our testimonies.” Juliann reflected, “We really needed each other and had to pull together as a team. We closed our eyes and prayed. We couldn’t do it without faith in each other and in our Heavenly Father!”

Through obedience and persistence, the participants learnt skills that will serve them into adulthood and for the rest of their lives. Trek organisers Sarah and Patrick Boyle from Penrith reflected, “Trek provides powerful opportunities for youth to build unity and to strengthen their testimonies. Youth are also able to feel gratitude for the sacrifices of the early pioneers and the hardships that their own families have gone through.”

President Brett Langley of Penrith Stake ( Diocese) noted, “The sacrifice the youth made to participate in trek will help them realise they are not alone. They can rely on their families and peers and ultimately Heavenly Father to weather the storms they are facing.”

Bishop Peter Rance of Penrith Ward (Congregation) added, “We hoped they would feel the spirit of trek, and understand the difficulties the pioneers went through and experience miracles of their own which would solidify their testimonies of the gospel.”

All who participated in the trek appreciated the sacrafices of the early pioneers. They learnt they can overcome hard obstacles in life if they have faith and rely on each other to push and pull through the challenges they may face.

The youth trek was recently posted in the 'News of the Area', authored by John Sayourn. Click here to read the article.

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