pioneer woman and baby

The Will to Go On

The Lord once said, “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Evidently, that cross gets very heavy and there is a temptation to put it down. The following are two examples of those determined to carry their cross to the end.

Christopher Hultberg, his wife, Karna and their children Anna Catrina aged 7 and Anders age 3, left Sweden bound for Zion. They sailed from Liverpool on the ship Westmoreland and arrived in Iowa City June 9, 1857. They were organized into the Christian Christiansen handcart company and set out for the West. However, as they crossed Iowa, Karna became ill. When the company reached Florence, Nebraska it was determined that the company would travel on to the Valley, but all those, and there were a number, who were ill and unable to walk were advised to remain behind and wait for another season. The Company left on July 9, 1857. The first night out on the trail an inspection was performed and the Hultbergs were among those recommended to turn back. But Christopher was determined and after coming this far, the disappointment of not reaching Zion was too much bear. With his wife willing, he continued on following the company—pulling the handcart loaded with his wife and two small children. This he did for days and then “when he was too far from base to be sent back, he rejoined the company. Much of the way he had pulled his two children and even his wife on the cart, through his superior strength and unquenchable desire to proceed.”


And again–

Along the Overland Trail there is a portion of that trail in Nebraska that passed through deep and drifting sands. July 19, 1857, was a most memorable day for the Christiansen Handcart Company as they passed through those sand hills at a considerable distance from fresh water, pulling their burdened carts. Seventeen miles they pulled that day. Those who were there left this record. “The struggling efforts of human beings under such conditions are almost impossible to imagine. It was a severe strain upon the physical strength of the men and women who toiled almost to the point of exhaustion. Indeed, some of the emigrants were so overcome by the superhuman efforts required of them that they fell exhausted by the way-side and were unable to reach the camp at night. All day long they had toiled without water.” The Company finally reached the Wood River spent and famished. Among those who endured the terrible suffering of the journey pulling the cart through deep sand was Anna Marie Sorensen.

After reaching the River that night, Anna Marie quietly retired from the company into some nearby willows where she gave birth to a baby girl, Julianne Marie Sorensen. Witnesses then said, “On the morning following she appeared again with her infant in her apron ready to pursue the journey. She had not murmured; her courageous and devoted soul knew no obstacles to the goal of her ambition.”

The Company would not hear of it and preparations were made for the courageous mother to ride for the next few days. When the Almighty said “O ye that embark in the service of God see that serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day” this has to be what he meant.


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