It was so strange to leave our home for our new and old home. The biggest feelings of bitter sweet overwhelmed me as we took off from Florida. We left behind so many amazing friends and the only place my kids know to be home... But there we were on our way back to the place I kept trying to drag my heart from while in Florida. It made the drive across country that much longer as I tried to sort my feelings that were so conflicting.
Luckily, we got to stop at a few Church history sites along the way and that part of the road trip was so enjoyable.
When I was twelve years old my family took a road trip to Nauvoo and that trip was a big building block for my testimony in the church. The spirit was so strong, you could hardly deny or ignore it. Ever since then visiting church history sites has been something I love so much. I feel peaceful, hopeful and so happy when there.
We first stopped in Missouri to see the temple lot. I learned a lot about this location and the history of the church in my religion classes at BYU so it was very special for me to actually see and experience it in person. Three different churches currently own the property surrounding the lot (Church of Christ, Community of Christ, and the Latter Day Saints). While I wish the latter owned the small lot where Joseph placed a stone indicating the spot for a temple, currently the Church of Christ owns it. Once the saints began to be driven westward, we sold the property to them. I sat on that land with my kids, surrounded by green beauty and birds singing their songs and I could not help but feel an abundance of the spirit sitting there, I hope I always remember how I felt that day.
We also were able to visit Winter Quarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As the saints headed West in 1846, many of them stopped in Winter Quarters to camp for the winter before continuing to head west. Some of my ancestors were a part of those 2500 saints and one of them died on the journey, a sweet little boy.
These pioneers made so many sacrifices on their journey to Zion. Words could never adequately express my gratitude for them... but I think that in the way I live my life, I could somewhat thank them, just by respecting their lives and what they did for me and continuing to teach my children what they taught their children.
On Sunday I spoke in Sacrament about how my pioneer ancestors changed my life... and well, I wouldn't even have a life had they not followed the teachings of the prophets. They had so much faith and despite their trials, their faith didn't waiver. I want to be more like them.