Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Latter Day Pioneers!

We live in Michigan now; but about 7 years ago, we moved from Missouri to Eagle Mountain, Utah to a home that I had never before seen.  My husband, Abe, had bought it as an investment property, and we never planned on living in the home.

Shortly before moving there, we discovered fees had accrued because the backyard was unfinished.  Unfinished was an understatement!  It was a beautiful home, but the backyard was full of pokey weeds and sagebrush on rocky- hard, sloped soil.  In addition, lots of mice made this untouchable backyard their safe haven from humans.  Yuck!

We had a lot of work to do, and the homeowner’s association gave us only a few short weeks to get it done or else more fees would accrue.

We had 3 little boys at the time, and baby Jordan was usually strapped to my back as Abe and I cleared out the brush and shoveled rocks day after day after day…

One night a neighbor from across the street came to shovel with us until well after midnight!  They eventually became some of our best friends.  As we worked, a next- door neighbor lovingly called out her window periodically to see if we needed cookies or treats... we usually did! :-)

One day a whole family from down the street spontaneously showed up at our house with shovels.  They stood in our backyard and yelled out to us that they were there to shovel, so we better come out.  We laughed so hard with joy!  We donned our shoveling clothes and joined our happy helpers.  Of course our project would have been finished a lot sooner if we had the right machines, but we also wouldn’t have witnessed these amazing people!

Amongst the rocks and sagebrush, we also had a lot of displaced, giant boulders.  We absolutely needed an excavator for this job, but Abe would be out of town on the weekend we would need to use it. 

Still afraid to actually ask neighbors for help, I rented the excavator, asked a lot of questions at the rental facility, brought it home, and started maneuvering the boulders by myself!  That is some tricky business!!  I successfully moved a couple boulders across the yard, but I trembled with fear the entire way as the excavator rocked back and forth with the weight of the boulder! 

After witnessing my distressed look from her window, a neighbor called an expert a few streets away to assist me.  Thank goodness!  He showed up at our house and efficiently finished my boulder project in half the time it would have taken me.

The next day, even more neighbors showed up again to help us finish our yard.  I was in shock because these people hardly knew us!  I couldn’t believe they were serving in this way.  I still  have the hardest time asking people for help, but these wonderful saints didn’t wait for me to ask.  They just kept showing up! 

I was so excited about all the help that I forgot to eat.  As I struggled through my hypoglycemic fog and swirling brain, I shouted, “Oh my gosh! Where’s my baby!!??!!” 

I looked around the yard in a frantic sweep before a cute teenager shouted with laughter, “You’re holding him!”  I turned to my little Jordan and realized he was comfortably positioned on my hip the whole time.  Thank goodness not too many people heard me.  Wow!   I knew I needed a break and some food after that episode!

When it came time to lay the sod, even more neighbors than before showed up and started working all over our yard.  To me, it looked like a sea of people!

I think now about that experience, and I wonder if maybe that was the way the pioneers looked as they rebuilt their homes over and over again in Ohio, Missouri, Nauvoo, and finally in Utah… a sea of serving hands coming together in a common cause… and in a spirit of unity.  That unity and their faith in God must have been the only way they were able to endure the hardship of leaving their homes and starting over so many times. 

Today is Pioneer Day... the day we celebrate and show gratitude for the pioneers who faced so many trials as they walked all the way to Utah in search of religious freedom.

May God bless the pioneers of old, and may God bless the latter day pioneers across the world who valiantly stand strong in their beliefs and who lovingly work together to ease the burdens of their neighbors!