In an address he gave during the General Young Women Meeting in April 1997, President Thomas S. Monson spoke of the strength and power of pioneers of the past, as well as pioneers in modern days.

“That first trek of 1847, organized and led by Brigham Young, is described by historians as one of the great epics of United States history,” he said. “Mormon pioneers by the hundreds suffered and died from disease, exposure, or starvation. There were some who, lacking wagons and teams, literally walked the 1,300 miles across the plains and through the mountains, pushing and pulling handcarts.

“As the long, painful struggle approached its welcome end, a jubilant spirit filled each heart. Tired feet and weary bodies somehow found new strength.

“Time-marked pages of a dusty pioneer journal speak movingly to us: ‘We bowed ourselves down in humble prayer to Almighty God with hearts full of thanksgiving to Him, and dedicated this land unto Him for the dwelling place of His people.’

“We honor those who endured incredible hardships. We praise their names and reflect on their sacrifices. “What about our time? Are there pioneering experiences for us? Will future generations reflect with gratitude on our efforts, our examples? You ... can indeed be pioneers in courage, in faith, in charity, in determination.

“You can strengthen one another; you have the capacity to notice the unnoticed. When you have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to feel, you can reach out and rescue others ... From Proverbs comes the counsel “Ponder the path of thy feet.”

President Monson spoke of a visit to what was then Czechoslovakia. There he met a young woman who, at the age of 25, had helped 16 others her age develop a testimony and join the Church. “I felt they would be the foundation of the Church in Czechoslovakia. They learned the truth of the gospel and felt the strength of testimony — all from Olga. ...

“We really don’t know how much good we can do until we put forth the effort,” he said. “Our testimonies can penetrate the hearts of others and can bring to them the blessings which will prevail in this troubled world and which will guide them to exaltation.” — Marianne Holman Prescott

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