Local Mormons take part in trek

Youth learn about early pioneers’ sacrifices

DANVILLE — Several members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including from Warren and Youngstown, recently participated in a youth pioneer trek in Danville.

Nicki Wilpula, Youngstown Stake director of public affairs, said, “This is something the youth do to remember the Mormon pioneers who traveled west to the Rocky Mountains after the mobs drove them out and destroyed the city of Nauvoo, Ill.”

She said the event is not held every year but gets a lot of participating youths from the Youngstown Ohio Stake, which encompasses eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

Local youths who participated included Logan Kligge, Megan Weisgarber, Ginny Williams, Rachel Dew, Teja Fallon and Gaia Peddicord from the Warren area and Thomas and Bradley Houser, Caleb Nichols, Makaila Sumpman and Madison Carl, from the Youngstown area.

Wilpula said the trek was held June 20-22 at Camp Mohaven in Knox County.

Trek participants leave behind all their electronic devices and comforts of home. They cook their meals on an open fire and sleep under the stars as the pioneers did, she said.

Wilpula said for part of the trail the young women had to pull the carts by themselves, simulating when the pioneer men were called off to war or died on the trail, leaving the women to continue the long journey west.

“The event gives youths and their adult leaders an opportunity to remember the sacrifices of the early Mormon pioneers who were driven out of Nauvoo, Ill., in 1856 hoping to find a place where they could practice their religion in peace,” Wilpula said.

She said trek chairman Jim Moore and his committee had previously traveled to the camp several times to carefully mark out the trail to make sure it was safe but also included some difficult areas that would give the youth opportunities to work together, to solve obstacles, to pray for the Lord’s help and rely on the Spirit for guidance.

Rain made the trail increasingly muddy and slippery.

Near the end of one day the youth came upon a huge fallen tree that blocked the trail. They set to work breaking the smaller branches and clearing them away and then sawing the larger log so it could be moved, Wilpula said.

“I was thinking while we were pulling our carts, why would anyone do this, leave their homes, friends and family? They did it because they knew the church is true,” Williams said.

“I’m sure half of us didn’t think we could do this, we couldn’t get up these hills. But Heavenly Father is there to help us,” said Fallon.