I was one of 12 high school students selected from Fairfield College in Hamilton, New Zealand, to participate in a program called Project K. The first part involved a three-week wilderness adventure, including canoeing, exploring caves, rock climbing, mountain biking, and sleeping and cooking our meals in all sorts of conditions. We spent most of our days in torrential rain and cold.
Sometimes spirits were low, and there were tears of frustration. We learned about teamwork and endurance. We encouraged each other through the challenges that came to us every day. One person chose to go home—it was just too much.
Halfway through the adventure, we got to write a letter home. As I wrote my letter, the tears welled up as I expressed my love and appreciation to my family. I realized just how much I missed the simple things in life like family prayers, scripture reading, family home evening, seminary, and attending church. I was saddened because I couldn’t picture my baby sister’s face in my mind.
I was thankful that I’d brought my pocket-sized Book of Mormon with me. I would sit inside my bivouac and read by flashlight. Everyone was pretty tired after each day, and they’d just go to sleep. After a day or so, more of my companions became curious about what I was reading. They became interested when I told them about the stripling warriors, Nephi and Laban, Ammon, and especially Nephi and his broken bow. Everyone could relate to the challenges of the wilderness.
By the end of our adventure, every night before sleeping, all 12 of us would huddle under my bivouac and listen as I read from the Book of Mormon. I know that the prophets of old were able to speak to us all on those cold, dark, rainy nights. I know that I gained strength to endure the difficult challenges during that time. I never felt the need to cry or to quit. I owe that to prayer and my pocket-sized Book of Mormon.
To read the scriptures online, go to scriptures.lds.org.
Illustration by Keith Larson; photographs by John Luke