It is important to remember that while we honor the sacrifice of the pioneers of the early church, that we have modern day pioneers among us now. People who join the church now are still making sacrifices when it comes to family, lifestyle and possible persecution. They are moving forward and helping the church to grow. If you do not have pioneer ancestors, it may be because you are a modern day pioneer yourself.
My in-laws Eldon and Gail Caldwell are examples of modern-day pioneers. They joined the church in 1961 in North Carolina. The branch only had thirty-five members at the time. The branch covered a large area. The area now includes four different wards. When they joined, the branch was part of a mission and not part of a stake. My father-in-law has many stories about leadership meetings and the distances that he traveled to attend them. The leadership meetings were in Roanoke, VA and my in-laws were in the western portion of North Carolina.
Both Eldon and Gail dedicated a lot of time to the church serving in several different leadership callings throughout the years. Often times they would have more than one calling in order to help the branch succeed. The branch was like a close-knit family and held many fundraisers in order to earn the funds for the building. (This was before the buildings were built from tithing money.)
The branch became a ward, and the ward was part of the Asheville and Greensboro stakes for a time. In 1982 the Hickory Stake was formed, and my husband was the first member baptized in his stake. Eldon and Gail, along with the other members of their ward, helped the church to grow in North Carolina through their service and their faith. They are still serving and helping today.
The sacrifices of members of the church happen all the time, as the members use their time and talents to help the church to grow and prosper. I am grateful for the examples of our modern day pioneers and the work that they have completed. Do you have any modern day pioneer stories that you would like to share?