We are celebrating Pioneers this week! July 24th is a Utah State holiday, commemorating the date the first Mormon Pioneers entered the Great Salt Lake valley in 1847. What a thrill it was this past weekend performing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s 2014 Pioneer Day Concert “A Summer Celebration of Song” with special guest artist Santino Fontana! Thousands of new fans have certainly fallen in love with this delightful and talented man! [BONUS! If you hurry, you can still watch the concert on YouTube for a limited time].
Today’s Monday Motivational is a pioneer story told by Gayle M. Clegg, second counselor in the Primary Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
“My husband’s great-grandfather Henry Clegg Jr. was a finisher. He joined the Church with his family when the first LDS missionaries went to Preston, England. Henry had a view of his destination in his mind as he and his wife, Hannah, and their two young boys immigrated to Utah. Henry left his older parents, who were too feeble to make such a long and arduous journey, knowing he would never see them again.”
“While crossing the plains, Hannah contracted cholera and died. She was laid to rest in an unmarked grave. The company then moved on, and at six in the evening, Henry’s youngest son also died. Henry retraced his steps to Hannah’s grave, placed his young son in his wife’s arms, and reburied the two of them together. Henry then had to return to the wagon train, now five miles away. Suffering from cholera himself, Henry described his condition as being at death’s door while realizing he still had a thousand miles to walk. Amazingly he continued forward, putting one foot in front of the other. He stopped writing in his journal for several weeks after losing his dear Hannah and little son. I was struck with the words he used when he did start writing again:
“When he finally reached the gathering place of the Saints, he began a new family. He kept the faith. He continued his story. Most remarkably, his heartache over the burial of his sweetheart and son gave birth to our family’s legacy of moving forward, of finishing.”
“. . .We each must find and finish our own story, but how much sweeter the telling when encouragement is called out, when arriving at our destination is valued and celebrated, however long ago the journey commenced.
“. . .The greatest mentor and advocate we have said: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88). Can any of us afford to leave this piece out of our individual journey?”
“Henry Clegg was still moving forward to live among the faithful Saints, to take his place, to raise a righteous family, to serve his neighbor. He had that picture in his mind even when his heart was breaking. . .
“. . .With the Lord, nothing is impossible (see Luke 1:37), but we each have to finish our own story. He sends His Spirit, we call out encouragement to each other, but we have to keep writing, keep walking, keep serving and accepting new challenges to the end of our own story. “Still walking” is the fundamental requirement in the journey of life. He wants us to finish well. He wants us to come back to Him. I pray that each of our stories will end in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, the authors and finishers of our faith.”
- Excerpts from Sister Gayle M. Clegg, The Finished Story, General Conference April 2004