Modern Pioneers

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“By strengthening each other spiritually, building faith and fellowship, we wear the shoes of pioneers.”

Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society General President
Pioneer Shoes through the Ages,” October 1997 General Conference

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“Like each of you, I have had to use faith and be a pioneer in my life. My first real experience happened when I was in the second grade. My teacher came to our class and told us how a ‘special’ girl would soon join us. I remember imagining the girl to see what she would be like.

“The first day Jenny walked in, I knew I would love her. The fact that she was handicapped urged me to learn more about her. I had never really been around children with disabilities. Although I had many anxieties, I knew I needed to be her friend. I was faced with the unknown; I accepted the challenge.

“I decided to go to Jenny’s house after school one day. I remember being a little nervous but felt it was the right thing to do. Her mom was very nice and helped me get to know more about Jenny.

“Soon I found myself always with Jenny. She became one of my very best friends. We loved to go to the store, play on her trampoline, and have sleep overs. I made up for Jenny’s physical handicaps, and she made up for my spiritual handicaps. Jenny is a wonderful example of Christlike love and forgiveness. I truly believe we helped each other overcome both of our handicaps.

“When we grew older, I had another test of being a pioneer. I had many friends, and a lot of them didn’t know Jenny. Although they were never rude, I always felt torn between Jenny and my other friends. It was hard and definitely a conscious effort, but I decided to help them get to know her. In time my other friends felt more comfortable with Jenny.

“To this day, I am still friends with Jenny. She goes to my same high school, and I see her almost every day. I truly feel proud to walk around the halls with her.

“I know we can all have the faith to do what is right. Like the pioneers, we can all overcome our challenges and press forward.”

Kristin Banner, young woman
Friends Standing Together,” April 1997 General Conference

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“You pioneers must have the same faith in every footstep as the pioneers of the past. I am so proud of you as I see young women leading the way through acts of courage and righteousness. Your faith in the Lord helps to strengthen others who look to you as an example.”

Janette Hales Beckham, Young Women General President
Modern Pioneers,” April 1997 General Conference

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“One important step of faith for you as a pioneer is to resist going along with the crowd in ways that would lead you astray. A modern pioneer also encourages others to stay on course. When you lead out in righteousness, others will follow you…

“So many of you young women are great examples. I know about a group of young women who make a point at lunchtime of sitting by someone eating alone and becoming a friend to that person. Some of you have family difficulties, yet you stay strong in the gospel. Some of you are the only active members in your families. One young woman in a large city has to transfer to three different buses just to get to sacrament meeting on her own.”

Janette Hales Beckham, Young Women General President
Modern Pioneers,” April 1997 General Conference

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“Years from now your grandchildren will tell with amazement stories of your choices which changed their lives. You will be called their pioneers.”

Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society General President
“Finding Faith Every Footstep,” April 1997 General Conference

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“Our prayer tonight is that every one of us will gain strength from the pioneering spirit. Look in the mirror tonight. You’ll see someone unique, strong, and courageous. A pioneer. Hold on to that thought…you are going before, bravely showing loved ones the way to follow. That we will always find faith in every footstep is my prayer.”

Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society General President
“Finding Faith Every Footstep,” April 1997 General Conference

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“Priscilla Samson-Davis, a sister in Ghana, has known struggles. There have been many rocks on the path of her life. As a teacher she has watched families nurse children through dysentery and malaria, work hard, barter daily for sacks of rice, onions, tomatoes, any food to keep their loved ones alive. She serves as a visiting teacher, regularly traveling on the bus to see a sister on the other side of town. When asked if this task were a burden, given all she had to manage, she simply replied, ‘It’s not hard. The woman I visit can’t read. When I go, I read the scriptures to her.’
 
“Her simple answer testified to the faith and assurance she had that she was on the proper path. Though her bus route was halting and likely wound up and down streets, in the Lord’s eyes it was truly straight and narrow, for she was going in the right direction. She was about her Father’s business.”
 
Elaine L. Jack, Relief Society General President
Walk with Me,” April 1994 General Conference

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“Mothers, it may seem easier for you to die in the wagon than to stand guard every day in defending and upholding standards of righteousness. It may seem easier to die for the gospel in an effort to save your children than to live for it. But live it you must, so that they will not die spiritually.  And young women, it may seem easier for you to have your toes amputated than to be a pioneer today and stand on your feet in front of your peers and dare to be different if their actions violate what the Holy Spirit whispers to you is right.”

Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women General President,
‘Crickets’ Can Be Destroyed Through Spirituality,” October 1990 General Conference

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“When you go home this evening and in the days to come, will you think seriously about what it means to be a pioneer today? Talk these things over with your family and friends. Make a firm commitment to be guided by the Spirit concerning what you will do and what you will not do. At nightfall review your actions prayerfully, asking Heavenly Father for strength for you to live righteously so that you will hear and feel the whisperings of the Holy Ghost guiding you. Pray for forgiveness in those areas where you have fallen short and ask for strength to do better. When you do this, Father in Heaven will hear your prayers, and you will feel added strength and will become a powerful influence for good—a real pioneer!”

Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women General President,
‘Crickets’ Can Be Destroyed Through Spirituality,” October 1990 General Conference

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“To you—Maria, Anne, Alofa, Kristen, Michelle, every one of you in every corner of the earth, in every family, every classroom, wherever you are—who are striving for righteousness, join with a quarter of a million other young women in becoming a mighty force for good. You can bring light where there is darkness, hope where there is despair, and faith where there is doubt. But it won’t be easy. I know that. You know it too. I believe it may be as hard, maybe even harder, than the struggles of our young pioneer sisters who pushed handcarts, suffered extreme fatigue, or where deserted by family or loved ones when they joined the Church.”

Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women General President 
Young Women Striving Together,” October 1984 General Conference

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