An added thrill - they open their mission calls while on the pioneer trek

A mission call is a special event anytime, anywhere. But a mission call somewhere on the plains along the Mormon Trail is one never to be forgotten.

At least two young people traveling with the 1997 Sesquicentennial Mormon Trail Wagon Train had the thrill of opening their calls to missionary service while on the commemorative trek.Near Chimney Rock, Neb., a finger-like geologic landmark with special significance to the early Latter-day Saint pioneers, Heber Dew's parents caught up with him, bearing the message he had awaited before embarking on the trek.

Bill and Jolene Dew received their son's call at their home in Sandy, Utah, and were soon on their way to western Nebraska.

"They came and brought it to me at about Chimney Rock," said soon-to-be Elder Dew, who will serve in the North Carolina Charlotte Mission. He had been looking forward to his parents' arrival with the good news, but not for another week.

"I was big-time surprised. Excited. Happy," said the young man, who has pulled a handcart from Winter Quarters (Florence, Neb.) to the middle of Wyoming and expects to finish the entire route with the arrival of the wagon train in Salt Lake Valley July 22. (In the words of handcart Captain Mike Dunn of Whittier Calif., young Dew "went ballistic. He stood on a little rise and read his call and we all cheered.")

Lisa Jone Holgreen had much the same experience. Her call to the California Carlsbad Mission arrived in the hands of her mother, Rosalyn of the Bountiful (Utah) Val Verda 6th Ward, when the wagon train was near Glenrock, Wyo. A brother, Wayne, of Mount Pleasant, Utah, drove Sister Holgreen to Wyoming to meet the wagon train and pass the letter to Lisa. Another brother, Roger Lamont Holgreen, is walking the trail along with Lisa. The two young Holgreens are making the historic journey, pulling and pushing a handcart all the way, in memory of their father, Gerald Holgreen, who died last November.

"It was an experience for everyone in the handcart company," said the mother of the opening of the envelope containing the mission call.

In each instance, a spontaneous chorus of "Called to Serve" from the modern handcart pioneers made it a special occasion for the missionaries-to-be.

The wagon train experience has been good preparation for a missionary, Heber Dew said. "It got me a lot closer to the Lord - made me depend on Him a lot more." Before entering the mission home, he will have shaved the beard he has grown while on the trail, and shed his pioneer-style clothes for standard missionary wear.

Lisa and her brother are wearing clothes their mother and friends made to be as authentic looking as possible, down to broad-fall trousers and dropped shoulder shirts for him and dresses with hand-made piping for her. Lisa has some aprons and a lacey day bonnet to complete her trail ensemble.

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