Four weeks ago, I left with my brother to go to Philmont Scout Ranch, the largest scout ranch in the world. We didn’t know the troop we were leaving with because they were part of my uncle’s ward. The camp was two weeks long and we hiked 65 miles in total. It was hard, but it was also one of the best experiences of my life. My brother and I learned a lot of lessons I feel are essential to personal conversion.
Lesson 1: Nature is awesome.
I wish I spent more time outside, God created mountains to be hiked, not looked at on a computer screen. There’s nothing wrong with awesome technology. I love video games and movies, but balance is key. Spend time outside and just soak everything in. It’s good for you! On the second night of camp, we took about 15 minutes to look at a beautiful mountain range. It was amazing. I just sat there marveling at the glorious view God had made for us. I also said a prayer of thanks.
Lesson 2: Prayer is awesome.
Life can be hard. The first few days of the camp were so difficult for my brother and me. We said a lot of prayers for strength and courage. I remembered a story I learned from seminary, about a super righteous man who wanted to cross the plains with the pioneers, but he had a bad leg. A man gave him a blessing, commanding his leg to be healed, and for the first time in his life, he could walk. It made me think about the amazing amount of faith it would take to do that. Thinking about this story made me realize that if you want a prayer answered, you need to truly believe that it will be answered. Our prayer for strength was answered really soon, because there was a recently returned missionary there who taught us how to be engaged in the camp, and stop thinking longingly for home. By the end, every single one of our prayers were answered.
Lesson 3: If you can’t change your circumstances, change yourself.
On the third day, we arrived at Fish Camp. We wanted to rename it Fly Camp (not because it was cool, but because of the terrible insects.) You could not sit peacefully without being swarmed by flies. It was terrible, but we decided to change our attitudes about it. We began to enjoy swatting the flies to their much deserved destruction. If we didn’t have good attitudes about the camp, we knew our experience would stink. Remember that changing your surroundings is a whole lot harder than just changing your attitude.
I’m grateful for these experiences. They strengthened my testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ and his love for us. I know I will use these lessons to get through the many challenges yet to come.