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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 19, 2017

Parson to Person: ‘Bring them in’

By Ed Conwell, Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints | Sep 01, 2017

In the 1800s, hundreds of pioneers crossed the Great Plains, seeking refuge in the unsettled American West. They walked through rain, wind, dust and sun. They faced buffalo stampedes, rattlesnakes and wolves. Many buried loved ones along the trail. The final leg of their trek may have been the most daunting; “Hills piled on hills, and mountains on mountains, in every direction.” But they pressed on, eventually reaching the land of their dreams.

One story of the Mormon Pioneers tells in October 1856, as the first few companies of pioneers settled in their new home, word came of fellow travelers still stranded on the plains. They had left late in the season, and now they were trapped in early winter snows, frozen and out of food. Their leaders heard of their ordeal and rallied the settlers to go to their rescue. “Go and bring them in,” was the cry.

The settlers did not have much, but they loaded wagons with what blankets, food and clothing they had, and within days they were back on the plains, bringing relief to those stranded in the deepening snow. Hundreds were saved from their desperate conditions by the rescuers.

In many ways, circumstances haven’t changed since the time of the pioneers. People still struggle — not in snowbanks, but in grim and difficult circumstances. Many are hungry because the lack of food; others are hungry because they lack hope. Like the pioneers, they face “hills piled on hills, and mountains on mountains in every direction” of their lives.

And who are their rescuers? Perhaps we can be. We may be in the midst of our own arduous trek, but there is always someone with needs greater than our own, and there is always something we can do to help.

We can share from our cupboards, and we can share from our hearts. Sometimes the needs are practical; help around the house, help finding a job, or help coping with a loss. But what most people need is a friend — and if being a rescuer means being a friend, we can all be rescuers. We can find those in need and “bring them in” (from “Music and the Spoken Word” on July 23, 2017, given by Lloyd D. Newell, announcer for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir).

This week, as we celebrate our pioneer heritage through Old Threshers, let us remember the struggles and challenges our ancestors faced as they settled in many parts of our country. They worked together to build what we have today, and likewise let us be the rescuers of those who face their own arduous trek. This week, we have heard of the struggles in Texas, related to Hurricane Harvey. In our own way let us join in with the band of rescuers and “Bring them In.”

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