News Release

Farmers Blessed by Visit of Macarthur Youth


Drought stricken farmers John and Jen Arnall welcomed over ninety youth of the Macarthur Stake (diocese) onto their land in Rugby, Crookwell, NSW as they re-enacted the historic journey across the US of the early pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“We are so blessed to have you all here and you’ve brought the rain too! When are you coming again?” asked John and Jen.

Dressed in pioneer attire and outfitted with minimal supplies and bedding, the youth were divided into 9 groups or mock “families” complete with an adult “Ma” and “Pa” and a handcart. Once loaded, the families began a 4-day journey pulling and pushing their handcarts over rocky and trackless hills.

Besides the physical labour, youth were confronted with planned difficulties of having to change campsites late at night or pulling the handcarts uphill with missing family members.

“It helped me understand what the pioneers had to go through,” responded Elias Williams when asked about his experience.

Junior Mahina of Campbelltown said, “I never want my own sisters to go through that.”

“Each minute was painful, but we thought of what the early pioneers had to do and that gave us strength to keep going,” said Stephanie Burgoyne.

“Ma” Kate Conklin marvelled at the youth in her group trying to set up makeshift tents with tarps and string in the relentless rain. “Even in the early hours of night when they were offered a better tent, they passed it on to another struggling family.”

 Another “Ma” Rachel Lim concurred, “Our trek children were an inspiration.”

The motto ‘Just keep going - we can do hard things,’ reverberated through all the families.

Reflecting on the early pioneers whose unwavering faith and strength saw them through loss and terrible hardship, the youth were able to put their own challenges into perspective.

President Braden Murrin, counsellor in the Macarthur Stake Presidency expressed, “It was a remarkable experience,”

Despite youth suffering from sprained ankles, asthma and lacerations, President Murrin observed, “It was an inspiring event to see what youth can accomplish when they work together.”

Macarthur Stake President Morgan D. Jones stated, “I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all who sacrificed to make this trek a success - the list is endless, but so are the rewards. Trek was a triumph!”

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