“I Felt Like a Burden on My Trek Family”

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I pulled my  pioneer hat down so the edges would block my view from the others. As we drove on the dusty road back to base camp, all I was thinking of as I looked through the window at the dust trail, that I was a burden to my Trek Family.

The first day of trek in the summer of 2011 went by fine until we were done trekking and I took my boots off because I felt some pain and noticed I had some big blisters. I went to get them bandage up from the medical team. One of the medical staff was a brother from my ward, two times each day following he would be the one who bandage my feet.

The “Burden”

Walking Behind on Trek
When I fell behind my trek family, someone always had to stay with me

That night, as my Pa was with me getting my feet bandaged up, we were told that it would be wise to take breaks whenever I needed. We got back to our trek family and my Pa informed them of the news. I felt like I would slow down the pace for my family.

The next morning we started trekking, and we ended up taking some breaks because of my blisters, a good number of them actually. I started to think of myself as a burden to my family. If I wasn’t here, they’d be taking fewer stops and would finish trekking sooner.

After our lunch break, we started trekking again. I really wanted to finish the miles for that day, but sitting or standing my feet were in pain. My Pa asked if I would be able to finish or if I would like to be driven back to base camp and join them later when they finished.

Tears started to form as I said that I would be driven back. I felt like a failure taking the easiest option. I  did not want to go back. But six wide and bloody blisters on both feet meant my feet showed more bandage than skin.

I felt angry, my ward mutual went on a hike to break in our boots a week or so before trek. I didn’t get any blisters then, so why now?

I caught a ride with one of the supply trucks.

That’s when I pulled my hat down. I didn’t want to look at anyone. As we drove on the dusty road back to base camp, all I was thinking of as I looked through the window at the dust trail, that I was a burden to my Trek Family.

We arrived at camp, and soon after the lunch buckets needed to be cleaned.

I wandered over and asked if I could help, seeing as how I wasn’t much use at the moment. I started to be in a better mood after helping out. I talked to some of the leaders, and I had a good time for the next few hours as we waited to head up to the campsite for the night.

King Benjamin was right when he said:

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” Mosiah 2:17 

My Prayer Was Answered

Potato Sack Shoes
Though my feet were covered in blisters, I prayed I could stay with the trek the next day

That night, as I went into my tent to sleep, I turned to my Heavenly Father, pleading for help and strength to finish the trek strong in the morning. During this prayer, tears began to fall. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it by myself. I asked if the pain could go away so I would be able to trek with my family.

The next morning, I stood up, and my feet were in so much pain from standing, I limped over to the medical tent. As I was heading there, a priest from my ward noticed me and asked where I was going. Once he knew, he took my bucket and we walked there together.

As I was getting my feet bandaged up, this priest asked if I had gotten breakfast yet. I told him I hadn’t. He took my plate and got my food for me.

Not that long after I had finished eating and my bandages were finished, it was time to start trekking. My company was one of the first to go. If that priest from the ward hadn’t helped, my entire company would have had to start later.

The first fifteen minutes my feet were in pain, but as we kept trekking, the pain went away. I felt great. Later in the day, we got to the part in trek where we could walk a half mile wearing potato sacks instead of our boots, to get a small feel of what the pioneers had gone through.

I took my boots off and started putting on the sacks. Some of my trek sisters, my Ma and my own real sister from my company were concerned about me and my feet. I said I would be fine. I fell behind the pace of my family.  My Pa stayed by my side. During that half hour, I thought of the pioneers. They went through much worse. If they could do that, why couldn’t I do this for a small half mile?

After the half mile, we took a lunch break. After we left from lunch, my feet started to hurt and I fell behind. Other families in the company began to pass us.

Then my family stopped and started yelling my name, me and my Pa  ran together to catch up. As I went, the pain went away. Throughout the day, my family did this a few times cheering me on to catch up. But every time, more and more people from other families would join in the cheering.

When “Zion,” the end point of trek, was in view, we started to run. I grabbed my family’s flag, and wove it in the air as we all ran into Zion together.

The Note

Youth Pioneer Trek
You never know who you’re going to impact

The Sunday after trek, there was a fast and testimony meeting in church. I bore my testimony on prayer and shared my experience.

After the meeting, a friend of mine, who did not attend trek gave me a note:

“On the second night of trek, you prayed for strength and help. That was Thursday night. Thursday night I had the feeling that you needed help, so I prayed for you on Thursday night as well. I’m glad my prayer was answered.”

My friend listened to the prompting he had received. We were miles away, and yet he knew I needed help and strength. My fellow priest was also a means to my prayer. I needed help in the morning, trek would have been behind schedule if I had to get breakfast myself.

The brother from my ward, who was part of the medical staff, bandaged my feet up twice a day. It was his “job” but I am truly grateful for him and what he did.

The talk from Dieter F. Uchtdorf titled Waiting on the Road to Damascus has a section called “Serve.”

“Another reason we sometimes do not recognize the voice of the Lord in our lives is because the revelations of the Spirit may not come directly to us as the answer to our prayers.

We have our Heavenly Father’s assurance that He will hear and answer our prayers. The answer may come through the voice and wisdom of trusted friends and family, the scriptures, and the words of prophets.

It has been my experience that some of the most powerful promptings we receive are not only for our own benefit but also for the benefit of others. If we are thinking only of ourselves, we may miss some of the most powerful spiritual experiences and profound revelations of our lives.

We each have a covenant responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of others and serve as the Savior did—to reach out, bless, and uplift those around us.

Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving the Lord and serving those around us. Selfless acts of service and consecration refine our spirits, remove the scales from our spiritual eyes, and open the windows of heaven. By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answer to our own.

I would challenge us all, to try and be answers to others prayers, it is an amazing experience to take part in.

Michael Sisemore lives in Kennewick, WA and is the 3rd of 7 children. Michael was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at a young age. He loves writing poetry and started a blog a few years ago about his life and his unique challenges, and experiences with high functioning autism. Social connections are difficult for him, but he has touched many people with his writing. His greatest joy is inspiring others.