[photopress:temple_trek3_411.jpg,thumb,pp_style] [photopress:temple_trek2_411.jpg,thumb,pp_style] By Greg Went
The Las Vegas Temple is located on a flat bench near the base of Frenchman Mountain on the east side of the Las Vegas Valley. It can be seen from many parts of the city, especially when you approach from the west. Being able to see the temple from a distance is what gave the bishopric and young men/young women leaders of the Silverstone Ward, Tule Springs Stake, the inspiration to plan an ambitious goal for their youth of their ward.
Bishop Taylor Prince and his counselors Shane Kilgore and Gary Walker wanted the youth of the Silverstone Ward to have a unique way of keeping the temple as a goal throughout their lives. The youth and adult leaders would trek from their stake center, located in the far northwest part of the valley, all the way to the Las Vegas Temple–a total of nineteen miles.
Right away the adult members and youth of the Silverstone Ward accepted the challenge. Two training hikes were planned and carried out. Assignments were given to the youth of the ward, and completed, for route planning, snacks along the way, spiritual thoughts at the rest stops, and lunch at the completion of the hike. While the participants knew that the trek would be a challenge, they also knew that it would be an experience that they would remember for the rest of their lives.
One of the primary object lessons that the hikers hoped to gain from the trek was on enduring trials and difficulties as you work towards long term goals. Another was making the goal of a temple marriage and an eternal family paramount in your journey through life.
It was a cold Saturday morning this March 5th when forty-three youth and leaders gathered at the Tule Springs Stake Center. Four a.m. came early, but everyone was eager to tackle the challenge. After a short explanation of the hiking rules and an opening prayer, the trek began.
The euphoria at the start gave way to determination as the hikers settled into the pace necessary to cover the miles. All the youth and adults wore a T-shirt with “Trek
To Temple” emblazoned on the front. A portion of the 13th Article of Faith,
“Endure many things…Hope to be able to endure all things,” was on the back. Several copies of the Book of Mormon were carried on the trek to hand out to any interested passerby.
The miles slowly but steadily went by, and everyone welcomed the rest stops where blistered feet and aching leg muscles received a bit of rest. However, no one complained about the pain or fatigue, and there were many encouraging comments throughout the group. All were determined to make it to the temple.
The going became harder in the last few miles as the group trudged uphill toward the temple. But then the temple came into view. This sight renewed the strength and spirits of the group to trek those last few miles. The view reminded everyone that burdens become more manageable when we have the temple always in our sight.
It was almost 1 P.M. when the forty-three tired, sweaty, and hungry trekkers approached the temple entrance. President and Sister May of the temple presidency were there to greet them at the gate. They invited everyone onto the temple grounds to rest on the grassy expanse close to the temple.
President and Sister May and Bishop Prince gave inspirational talks about the importance of the temple in our lives. President May closed his talk with the invitation for everyone to go up to the temple and touch the walls. “But more importantly,” President May told the youth and adults, “is to let the temple touch you.”
Youth and leaders were equally touched by this experience, which is a personal treasure. We left committed or recommitted to making the temple central to our lives and hearts. Mission accomplished!