Thursday, July 22, 2010

Vacation, Day 4: Mormon Battalion

On Sunday after church, we decided to visit the Mormon Battalion near Old Town San Diego, CA. I thought it would be interesting and educational, but I didn't anticipate it would be such a spiritual experience. It was.

While learning about the difficulties faced by those in the Battalion, it reconfirmed my faith that the Lord's hand is in all things, and He can make even the worst situation be for our good. I have seen that in my own life, and it happened in the lives of these pioneers. One could see that the trials faced by the Battalion members created learning and service opportunities that made a difference in our country (in settling San Diego, CA and Salt Lake City, UT).

One of those trials involved ill members of the Battalion who could not continue with the group, but were sent to Pueblo to recover from illness. While there, they learned desert farming techniques (irrigation, etc.) which allowed the Mormon pioneers to farm their first summer in the Salt Lake Valley. Without that knowledge, it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for the pioneers to grow food that first year (which would have resulted in a serious shortage of necessary food).

If you haven't been to the Mormon Battalion, I highly recommend you go. After the tour (which was one of the spiritual highlights of my trip), the kids were able try out some of the period activities (making bricks, panning for gold), and we received a free family picture naming us as "Honorary Members of the Mormon Battalion." Our entire family had a wonderful time.

Before the tour of the Battalion.

AJ was able to dress up as a Battalion member and wear all the gear. He said it was heavy!

After the tour, there were some interactive activities including this one where you try to pan for gold and see how successful you can be.

The kids trying their hand at panning for gold.

Making bricks.

In the tower taking a look at Old Town San Diego, CA.

I hoped the kids would stand by the statue for a picture, but they thought it was so much more fun to hang on the statue.

Our complimentary family photo.