Happy Pioneer Day!
commemorates the 169th year since the Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley ending their 1,300 mile journey from Nauvoo, Illinois to the Great Basin in what is now Utah. These faithful pioneer saints led and prepared the way for many others to follow. The pioneer emigration for members of the church continued from 1847 to 1869 when the transcontinental railroad was completed.
We might ask ourselves, what motivated them to undertake the long journey to the West?
Many pioneers embarked on their journey in countries in Europe and included months on board ships and then travel to the mid-west to join companies of Saints going west in wagons, on foot, and pulling handcarts.
Thousands came west having little in the way of worldly possessions, But trusting in the Lord to see them to their "journey's end."
No matter their mode of travel, the driving force for them was to join the saints and build up Zion. The Spirit of the Lord was upon them and carried them through whatever difficulty or tribulation they faced Their motivation was love for God and for His true Gospel.
On this day we remember these members of the church, some of them our very own progenitors, and we express our gratitude for what they did to lay the foundation of the Church in the Salt Lake Valley and beyond. Remembering fills us with gratitude and helps us to recognize our responsibility to follow their example to prepare the way for those who will come after us. Each one of us can leave a legacy for others to follow. As missionaries, we are doing just that. Like pioneers, we have come to an unknown place, acting on faith, obeying the words of the prophets, sacrificing worldly interests, and laboring to build up the church. One day others may look to our legacy and be inspired to make their personal trek into the mission field or to other places where they, too, can contribute to the building up of Zion.
How thankful I am for those who went before in my family.
Grandparents and great-great grandparents on all our family lines were pioneers for us.
Our life is what it is today because of their faith and sacrifice. It is a legacy to remember and rejoice in.
I hope today, you will reflect on the pioneers in your life, those who prepared the way for you.
Express gratitude for them and record in your journal how you will carry on that legacy in your life.
We love you and pray for you.
President Michael F. Marston
California Roseville Mission