PASTOR COLUMNS - Views from the peaks keep us going in the valleys

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Summer outdoor activities are enjoyable and often involving camping and hiking. The quiet noise of a free-flowing stream soothes the soul.

I love hearing the chirping of the birds as they greet the new morning. Deer move about so quietly while elk crash through the forest floor.

Our young women, ages 12 to 18, camp for a few days each summer where they learn to love and respect each other and appreciate nature. They learn new skills and develop a closer relationship with the Savior. The tasty meals prepared outdoors and gathering around the campfire each evening are bonuses. An increased appreciation is developed for home and family during this experience.

This summer we hiked up a steep mountain. Lungs and legs fatigued quickly requiring frequent rest stops, but the view from the mountain side was outstanding. I was impressed with the young women and their leaders who continued the course. We learned that the appreciation of the view had a direct correlation with the efforts we expended to climb the steep slope.

We focused our minds on the destination. Many of us found we had more capacity than we thought we would.

These young women will face challenges that will be far more difficult than climbing a mountain, but with the help of the Lord, they will succeed and excel.

Heber J. Grant taught: "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased."

We must press forward having faith in God who then becomes our partner and helper as we become yoked together with Him.

Moses, Abraham and other Old Testament prophets went to the mount to commune with God and to receive instruction from Him. May> we seek "mountain-top" experiences as we apply the teachings of Jesus Christ into our lives. As we obey and apply His teaching, He will truly bless us.

Paul Crowther serves as bishop of the Walla Walla 3rd Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at catherinehicks@wwub.com.

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