In the early spring of 1846, Mormon settlers left their home of Nauvoo, Illinois to travel the 1,300 miles across the United States to Salt Lake City looking for a place where they could worship in peace. This exodus west continued for another 20 years. The journey for many was far from easy and many lost their lives. Just recently, I myself wondered how these individuals were able to accomplish such a task as I flew over the Rocky Mountains. Can you imagine walking across the plains and seeing the mountains knowing you would have to climb over them before reaching your final destination. Some individuals may have never seen mountains up until this point. In order to pay tribute to the sacrifice of these individuals the youth of our church participate in a re-enactment of this trek. They dress in pioneer clothing, learn of this time period, and travel on a trail through the forest for several miles pulling handcarts like the original pioneers. The youth are divided into families and paired with a Ma and Pa. They sleep outside under the stars as long as weather permits and participate in faith and testimony building exercises along their journey. Harris attended this trek with 170 young adults who ages ranged from 14-18 with a 2 dozen or more adult leaders. It was not mandatory that he participate, but I am so proud of him for giving three days of his summer to sacrifice and build a stronger testimony.
Harris at the beginning of the journey prior to changing into his pioneer clothing.