Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Trek Prep Devotional - Casey Chandler

When I joined the church at the age of 17 one of the first lessons I was taught was about the plight and persecution of the early saints.  I was heartbroken and even angered to know of the many punishments these godly people were forced to endure.  A few months later, I was privileged to go on a weekend youth conference that was for all purposes a mini trek.

The one thing I really wanted to get out of the experience was that I wanted and even prayed to know, even in some small way the struggles that the early saints had to endure.

That evening when our hand cart company began, my desires were to pull for my family and give it everything I had.  So I began to pull…  Throughout the night I pulled the cart.  Others were swapped out, but I remained.  Others offered to take my place and pull and I declined.  The adult leaders asked me to let someone take my place that I needed a rest and I explained that for me to understand who had passed before me and made it possible for me to believe the way I did now, that I had to know their sacrifice.  And so I pulled throughout the night.

The next morning I found myself in the emergency room from exhaustion and high fever.  I questioned the wisdom of wanting to experience what the saints had to go through.  But through it all I gained a testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ was true, and that so many people who have come before me have sacrificed so much so that one day I would be allowed to hear the gospel.  I have never forgotten this spiritually strong and meaningful event in my life and how I came to know my Father in Heaven.

My dear brothers and sisters it is not with vanity that I tell this story.  It is merely to relay to each of us that somewhere in this group of young people there will be someone dealing with arduous choices ahead of them…  In this group there will be young men and women who desire nothing more than to gain a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We have before each of us the opportunity to touch the lives of so many.  If we can help even one of our younger brothers or sisters come to know god then our struggles and pains will be worth it.

How grateful I am for the leaders of the greater Nashville area for having a desire to teach me how to commune and draw closer to my God through hard work, prayer, and a desire to know the truth to all things.   And now some 23 years later I find myself once again with the desire to go on trek.  But this time I truly hope to be able to help these young men and women find their path to God just as I did so long ago.

- Casey Chandler

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