There are a group of people, from the history of my church, that we have heard stories about for a long time. These faithful people we refer to as pioneers. Men, women, and children believed in a God and believed there was a place to worship Him away from persecution and hatred. These valiant souls were sometimes tortured, and time after time, driven from their homes without any notice. Finally, they were asked to sacrifice everything and walk across the plains and mountains to a place only faith could lead them to.
We hear stories about sacrifice of items, loved ones and much death. We revere and respect these individuals, without even knowing them. For each sacrifice was not made in vain because we are able to worship today because of them.
Often we speculate how we would've reacted when asked to leave almost everything we have after building it back up, yet again. We say that we would've unwaveringly believed and packed up in the night, with just our most prized possessions in hand.
It dawned on me recently that I, in a small way, can relate more closely to these valiant Saints. I am, in no way, comparing my modern day trials to their sacrifice. However, this move to Beijing has been hard on me. I am being asked (I mostly feel it is told) to move away from my beloved family and home, to a place that I have no desire to visit (let alone live), for a time that will most likely be longer than two years. Sure, I didn't have a fiery mob beating down my door in the night but I was told it would benefit my husband's job and my children's education and "what...a...great....opportunity....for...you...all". Yeah, I know!
It made me realize that maybe, just maybe, not all the Saints were dancing when their orders came. Maybe there was a woman who cried herself to sleep, or paced nightly due to the fear of the unknown. Maybe there was a woman that felt sick every time she packed away something that would not accompany her on the journey. Maybe there was a woman who felt she could not breathe for fear of losing the wonderful memories and laughter built within the walls of her home.
Suddenly I knew that these pioneers probably did feel all of those things. It was hard for them. Being faithful does not take away the sting of the sacrifice, for if it did our Savior's biggest sacrifice for us all would've been easy. It wasn't even easy for Him. It was not easy for the pioneers. It is not easy for me.
That is why, on a recent call to a colleague in Shanghai, my husband heard our family referred to as pioneers. The four of us will be the first family sent to live in Beijing from his company. We will "work out the kinks". It sounds to me like a lot more faith will be required. I will continue to think about those early pioneers and feel privileged to be called the same title as them.