As I mentioned before, July 24th is celebrated in Utah as "Pioneer Day". It is a time for us to remember our ancestors who were faithful and who perservered despite hardship, death, illness, persecution, and inclimate conditions. This video clip is special to me for a couple of reasons. I want you to listen closely to this story because it tells of three young men who sacrificed to save some pioneers who were caught at the wrong time of year at the frozen Sweetwater River, and were too tired, and frozen to ford it. One of those young men was my great great grandfather. He helped to carry those men and women across the water so that they could be saved by the waiting rescue party and taken on to the Salt Lake Valley. But he is not my only pioneer ancestor, nor is he the only one who sacrificed. I estimate that approximately 30 of my ancestors were part of those pioneer companies that came West with Brigham Young. They came because they had been persecuted for their religious beliefs back East, and hoped to find religious freedom in the West. They came because a Prophet of God saw in vision the place where they would ultimately live, and proclaimed, "This is the place" when they arrived. They were truly led to a promised land where they were able to make the desert blossom as a rose. And like Moses of old, the Prophet Brigham Young followed the spirit to lead these modern day children to a land with it's own "Dead Sea", or the great Salt Lake. The saints did find the place, "...which God for us prepared...".
What made my ancestors great wasn't pure chance that made them members of the church during that monumental time in history. What made them great was the faith that they exhibited in following a Prophet of God. Today we have our own challenges, and can be pioneers in our own way. I hope that in some small way, I have inherited their determination and faithfulness so that I too can leave a legacy for my descendants.