Thursday, May 20, 2010
Our Virtue Walk
In 2008, the newly called General Young Women Presidency Hiked up Ensign Peak in the Salt Lake City, UT area, and declared their "Return to Virtue." Young Women all over have followed by doing similar hikes.
Before our girls go to camp, this year, they have been asked to have their three mile hike completed. Since we needed to do this, I figured we could do something else along with this activity (rather than just walking). The thought came to me that we could also do a Virtue Hike. We may not have mountains or even hills in Louisiana, that does not mean we can't have our own Virtue Hike.
As I thought about where we could do this, I remembered not too far from us is a beautiful place I like to go. In fact, recently, I have blogged about this place--Black Bayou. This state park has a really nice pavilion where we could stop, have a sack lunch and a short devotional--perfect! After calling to find out if we could use the pavilion, my husband and I went out on a Sunday afternoon and hiked around to figure out where a three mile hike could take place.
My YW presidency and I decided a Wednesday early evening would be perfect. I headed to WalMart and purchased some gold fabric (75% off!) and came home hemmed it up. I remembered I had some gold rick rack and used that for the edges. Then I used a Sharpie to write the words, "Return to Virtue" on the cloth. We told the girls to make sure they bring water and a sack lunch that they can carry on the hike with them. We also invited the mothers to hike along with us.
We met at 5:00 and had our opening prayer. I then spoke to them about what Sister Dalton said. The Temple is so important--" The temple is the reason for everything we do in the Church. The temple was the reason our pioneer ancestors left their established homes and came west. It was the reason they suffered privation and even death. Temple covenants were the reason that, although babies were buried along the way, those pioneers could sing:
Come, come, ye Saints,
No toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Some lost everything but came into the valley with everything, really—temple ordinances, sacred covenants, and the promise of eternal life together as families." We then sang the first verse of Come, Come Ye Saints and started on our hike.
As we started down the path, and as I had driven to Black Bayou, I was praying that my plans would work out. I really wanted the girls to feel of the Spirit and to understand the importance of Virtue. As we stepped onto the boardwalk that goes around some of the bayou, I looked ahead, and could not believe what I was seeing. On a log just off the the side of the boardwalk in the water was a big fat alligator sunning himself! Probably about 5 or 6 feet long. I stopped and said, "an alligator!" The girls froze in there paths, then started running toward it trying to grab their cameras. I too was digging in my back pack to try to get my camera. The gator was scared off, and dove into the water and headed toward the bank. We got a few pictures, but not as good as it could have been. Oh well!
We continued our hike, and ended at the pavilion. We ate our sandwiches and talked for a little while. After a few minutes, I stood and continued with the subject of our hike--Virtue. I spoke of the beauties of Louisiana, and how we are known for our lovely lakes and bayous. Along with that beauty comes some dangers. I asked them if they would like to swim in the bayou. Of course their eyes grew wide and all answered with a resounding, "NO!" I asked them why? "Because there are alligators and moccasins in the bayou!" was their answer. We had actually seen that first hand. I told them that virtue is a beautiful thing, but that the worlds view of virtue is not. Most see it as "old fashioned." We need to be careful of the dangers of the worlds outlook on virtue and of all of the commandments. After speaking to them, I got the gold cloth out and we all signed it.
In all we had a nice time, and we are grateful for the nice evening we had.