We are trying to get a handle on what our duties will be here. So far, our main assignment is to work as office support in the Pacific Area Office for the family history department. That means we basically have an 8 to 5 job taking care of administrative duties like shipping out equipment to various family history centers throughout the Pacific, planning programs, maintaining accurate inventory and staffing lists, supporting family history center directors, answering questions, etc.
Part of the time we will travel to various areas to train leadership about the importance of having strong family history programs and activities in their stakes, wards or branches. But we don't generally work directly with individuals doing family research.
However, on Friday a woman and her daughter came to the office hoping to find someone to assist her with a particular task on her own family tree. She had done genealogy on paper for many years, but was not familiar with computers so she was not sure of how to submit names in FamilySearch. She wanted help entering the information for her deceased brother and his wife so she could get their names cleared to take to the temple.
Bolleta came all the way from a small town near Greymouth, on the West Coast of the South Island, seeking help. She did not have a functioning family history center close to where she lived, so she was hoping that a trip to Auckland would provide the assistance she needed. Rather than tell her that the Area Office didn't really do that sort of thing, our manager said I could see what I could do to help her out.
Fortunately I had been well trained during the time we were in Mesa taking classes, so in just a few minutes I was able to get her logged on and the necessary information entered into the FamilySearch trees program. With just a few clicks we were able to print out the ordinance request form for her to take to the temple to get her brother's work completed. The love this woman felt for her sibling was powerfully evident. Both she and her daughter were so grateful to get this accomplished. It felt wonderful to help make that possible.
While I knew all the office support tasks I was being assigned were important, and ultimately contributed to the work of preserving family history and leading people to the temple, having someone right there in front of me with a need I could solve had a very different sort of feel to it. Seeing her beautiful smile and tears in her eyes as she expressed the love she felt for her brother touched my heart in a way that updating spreadsheets never could. It made me feel like a REAL missionary!