Pioneer

God, are you there? Photo by Peter Fazekas.

A teenage boy treads alone, a road that’s dusty, dry;
The cigarette in his hand, glows against the starry sky.
And in this place his soul is stirred by heaven’s holy hand,
And he wonders if there is a God and what He might have planned.

And in his way, he says a prayer and asks that he might know
What to do, what to be, and which way he should go.
Well, that was many years ago and miles far away;
But heaven heard that honest prayer and sent help along the way.

For gospel light was offered and gospel truths were learned,
And truth restored was followed ‘til testimony earned
And to his seed that boy has shown how faith will conquer fear
For he has been, in every sense, a modern pioneer.


My grandpa’s family was not religious in his younger years.  His parents moved a lot and had a rocky relationship, so his childhood was less than ideal.  He tells the story of being alone one night as a teenager on a dark Montana highway, looking at the heavens and wondering if there was a God; and, if so, he would like to know.  Not long after, missionaries found his family and taught him gospel truth. 

That is a good story, but not the best part.  The best part is that my grandpa embraced the truth.  I am not just talking about back when, but still.  It is impossible to separate where Grandpa stops and the gospel of Jesus Christ starts.  It is all the same.  There is never any doubt about where Grandpa stands.  And his example still continues.  Well into his advancing years, having suffered serious health and other challenges, he is still showing what it means to endure to the end.

I was at a pioneer day devotional recently.  The speaker was talking about the great legacy the pioneers of yesteryear left us.  I began thinking of what it means to be a pioneer.  While I do appreciate those that came across the plains, the pioneers that have had the greatest influence on me are the ones I know personally—the near centenarian around the corner who always answered the question of how are you with “I’m very blessed;” my crippled primary teacher who dared to let me push her wheelchair over broken, uneven sidewalks to church; a father who chose the right in his formative years when significant family disruption could have been an easy excuse to choose wrong; and there are many, many others.

For we are all pioneers, and we each leave a legacy.  What will yours be?

Written: July 23, 2017

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