Thursday, July 9, 2015

Outreach in Auckland

We continue to send emails, make phone calls and set up teaching appointments to the various wards and stakes all over Auckland to support members and leaders in learning about family history.   

On Tuesday evening we did a presentation to the youth of the Liahona Ward - one of the Samoan language units here.  Talking to the kids and their leaders was great.  We got as many of the young people signed up to use FamilySearch as we could.  We could only work with a few at a time because the building where we were meeting has limited bandwidth for using the internet.  Also, several of the kids did not have an existing email address, so we first needed to set that up with them before we could get them the free account on FamilySearch.  So progress was slow going.   Still, they were a great group to work with. Many of the young people are excited to begin identifying their ancestors in preparation for their upcoming temple trip.   

A lot of the youth in this ward still have grandparents living in Samoa.  We encouraged them to contact those elders by letter or phone to begin seeking stories about their heritage.

We look forward to following up with the Liahona ward to be sure they understand next steps for finding names and submitting them for temple work.  We are also working with them to encourage them to use the My Family book for recording stories about each generation of their family.  We talked with them about being "Modern Day Nephi's" in their ward, much as Steve Rockwood had explained to the Samoan students when we were on the island of Upolu. 

Liahona Ward Youth signing up for FamilySearch.org 

Leaders over Young Men's and Young Women's organizations in Liahona Ward

We also met with one of the newly called Family History Consultants in the newly formed YSA 2nd Ward.  We made sure she understood what resources were available to her for her calling and answered some of the questions she had.

Shirley Pulusi - YSA 2nd Ward Family History Consultant

We had a terrific meeting with a High Priest Group Leader from another ward, brainstorming ideas about how he can initiate more engagement with the My Family 15 in 15 program for the members of his ward.  We have also started teaching a Family History Sunday School class in our own Auckland 2nd ward.  We are beginning with the leaders to be sure everyone on the Ward Council had done all they can and then will expand out to the rest of the members.  We have had terrific support from our Bishop for that.

Bishop Panama Le'au'anae from Auckland 2nd Ward
I had a lengthy phone conversation just the other day with a woman who has been assigned as the lead consultant for assisting with the Family 15 in 15 program in Redoubt Stake and we continue to work with the Area Advisers who cover other parts of New Zealand.  Bit my bit we are trying to generate a gigantic snowball of enthusiasm for this work.

Sometimes we are doing formal presentations to leadership groups.  Sometimes we are teaching classes.  Sometimes we are having one on one conversations with key unit leaders.  I've been researching an article about the history of family history and planning some activities we can do in other parts of Auckland whenever we are not traveling to the various tropical islands where we are assigned.

In whatever way we can, we are trying to keep our whole focus on strengthening the people of the Pacific in their understanding of the importance of honoring the generations who have gone before.   It's sacred work.  We are often exhausted.  But we are always grateful for our chance to be here.

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