Yesterday in Shanghai was day one of a two-day conference for the Shanghai International District of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With members coming into Shanghai from Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Zhenjiang, Changzhou, and other nearby cities, we had a great opportunity to get our Young Single Adults (YSAs) together before and after the 3 pm adult session on Saturday. As co-chairs of the District Single Adults Committee, my wife and I organized a tour of Shanghai for the approximately 70 single adults we expected to be coming into town. Whew! Exhausting.
For the 50-plus group that went with us on the tour, just getting from one side of Shanghai to the other with clear directions, convenient public transportation, comfortable weather and abundant resources resulted in numerous challenges such as some people nearly expiring from hunger (time between eating was too long), some people being lost in the urban wilderness, and many unexpected delays. Still not sure what percentage of the group actually made it to the various member homes they were staying at last night.
This short trek across town was also done with food all around us, air conditioned subway trains, and electric lighting. We were spared the challenges of childbirths along the way. We face no threat of attacks from marauding warriors or soccer fans, no fierce storms to endure (light sprinkle at the end), no mountains to cross, and nothing that genuinely threatened any lives. While we feel the event went well and really enjoyed working with these terrific young people, the little trek was surprisingly difficult and stressful. There are many things we might do differently next time (“leave the stragglers to the wolves” was at the top of the list, but on second thought…). It leaves me with new-found respect for the Mormon Exodus and the leadership of Brigham Young in organizing the outcast Latter-day Saints and leading them across the country in the most dire of circumstances to build Zion in the Rockies. Truly he was an American Moses.