Saturday, July 30, 2016

La Caminata/ The Trek

The day dawned bright and sunny as we gathered at the Virú Puente/Bridge Capilla  for the caminata. To our delight and joy, the young pioneers filled the chapel, almost 100. It brought tears to our eyes to see their enthusiasm and realize they were on the edge of experiencing our theme, 'Faith in Every Step.' They looked so charming in their pioneer dresses, aprons, bonnets, straw hats, suspenders and especially their big smiles. The pioneer parents gathered their families, loaded the handcarts and were off down the main street of Viru. A bit later, we cut off to a path along the river and followed dusty trails, sometimes rocky, sometimes sandy, sometimes steep, the rest of the way. The scenery enhanced our journey with mountains in the background, sugar cane and yucca fields in the foreground, a sprinkling of banana trees, a Chavin/Lamanite ruin and enough river crossings to keep us cool. We stopped along the way for fruit breaks and to hear pioneer stories from our "special pioneer visitors." Our missionaries from Virú loved helping out, and everyone loved having them. They embraced the event like school kids on a field trip, what a joy to have them! We stopped for a lunch of chicken and rice, then that evening, after 20 kilometers of trekking, we camped at a member's chacra/farm property. For dinner everyone was starving and enjoyed chicken and rice, the hands down favorite. The youths had been advised to bring their own plates and utensils, however the plates that many brought were fine china from their moms' dish cupboards. After games and activities, the exhausted pioneers snuggled down in their tents, talked and talked, and slept soundly. The next day we journeyed home by a different road. The young pioneers made it back in record time, perhaps due to the downhill all the way, or perhaps due to the promises of rest, shade and lunch. On the return to the Virú Pueblo Chapel, we held a testimony meeting where the youth talked about their experiences, how they learned about the importance of families, enduring to the end, doing hard things, having faith in every step and experiencing a small taste of pioneer life. These young men and women warmed our hearts with their understanding and appreciation for lessons learned from the pioneers. Their testimonies renewed our faith in the strength of our youth. They declared their activity a success, and sat down to a hearty lunch of rice with beef. Everyone went home to the luxury of showers and naps, at least I know we did.

President & Sister Rios?

Come, come ye saints

Pioneer children sang as they walked. 

...and walked

...and walked and sang

Two of our special pioneer visitors 

Scouting the route and keeping watch

Stalwart and brave

This might be the place

Photographer Huamanchumo 

More special pioneer visitors

President Blas says, "All is well."

For the strength of youth

For some must push and some must pull

Merrily on our way we go

Until we reach the valley, oh!

Sisters on the trek

No toil nor labor fear

But with joy wend your way

For the strength of the hills

Firm as the mountains around us

The saints their rest obtain

Sweet is the work...mmm sugar cane

Feed my sheep

Mom's best China 

Inspiration under the banana trees

I will go, I will do the thing the Lord commands. 

Though hard to you this journey may appear

Grace shall be as your day

Fresh courage take

See the saints their rest obtain

The day dawn is breaking. 

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam

We were we're believers, in the trek! 

 Maybe we should try turkey and rice. 

Tomaval Castle

A mighty fortress

Passing Tomaval Castle

Still passing

Still passing

And we hear the desert singing...

Carry on

Carry on 

Carry on

Stalwart and brave
What glorious scenes mine eyes behold
They will send angels...


  1. Strong testimonies in the youth are built with a combination of small everyday things like personal prayer, scripture study, attendance, etc., and large powerful events that they can call back and remember. I'm sure you played a large part in building up some testimonies last week in a major way.

  2. What wonderful pictures. It brought back memories of treks I have been on, and brought that lump in my throat I always get when I see them start out on the trail each day...there is just a power there. I am so glad "all is well".

  3. Me too! this year I went on my first trek. Stuff happens you never expect, good stuff.

  4. Maybe you can plan our youth conference next year!

  5. This whole adventure amazes me. I love you guys!