LDS Youth 53 Kilometre Temple Walk

1/07/2018

One of my biggest achievements of 2017 was walking a very long 53 kilometres (64,388 steps!) from my local LDS chapel to the Melbourne, Australia Temple as a combined personal progress activity with the local youth.

As the first councilor of our ward Young Women’s program, while it was a daunting task, the youth had requested the activity so I couldn’t say no. I was worried I wouldn’t complete the walk as I had no time for training outside of my full-time work, part-time studies, and running my small business. However it was more important that I set an example for the girls and try my very best.

We set out for the walk beginning at dawn, backpacks filled with sunscreen, water and snacks.

The weather was cool and calm, and the sun had just risen when we arrived at our first rest point in the Melbourne Central Business District. There we were met by the parent of one of the young women. I am grateful for the role he played on the day, he was a great support providing snacks, water, first aid and words of encouragement.

As we continued on our journey and hit the midway point, the youth began to feel sore and tired. I stayed close to one young woman who was struggling, so as to encourage her to keep pushing through. She kept going and eventually felt a second wind. As luck would have it, just as her energy picked up, I started to lose mine.

In the distance I could see Bishop walking with the large group, and I felt as though I was hopelessly losing pace and I would never catch them. My legs started to tremble and my feet were blistered. Just as I began to consider giving up, the same young woman I’d encouraged earlier came over and pulled my arm around her shoulders to lean on her for support.

The fact that this young woman helped me out of love and kindness, and that she was willing to forego reaching the destination with the larger group instead slowing for me, gave me the strength I needed to keep going.

Earlier in the day when our roles were reversed and I was encouraging her along, we had spoken about what motivated us to reach the temple. She mentioned a scripture from Isaiah that says “they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” While she was helping me, the scripture returned to my mind, and I said to her “lets run the rest of the way”.

Suddenly my legs felt weightless, we jetted off together to catch up with our ward. As we inched closer to our destination, sun showers started raining down on us and we could see the statue of Moroni in the distance. We caught up with our group and all walked together across the final bridge. As if out of a movie scene, a beautiful rainbow shone over Moroni as we arrived. Our Bishop said to us “Just like our long walk here today, it doesn’t matter how you get to the Temple and how long your journey takes, just as long as you make it.”

I'm grateful to serve in a calling with such special young people. It's these experiences that forge your testimony, provide spiritual growth, and I love that I was able to witness the youth grow as well as strengthen my own testimony. The 53 kilometres or 64,388 step Temple walk was a brilliant bonding activity for the youth, leaders and Bishop and a special day that will be remembered by all who participated.

xx

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