Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Right after we returned to New Zealand from Tonga we did a FamilySearch presentation for the North Shore Genealogy Branch. We had a great time and it went very well. The people were very kind and our presentation was well received.
However, it is very different teaching non-member community groups about FamilySearch than the work we are used to doing with stake and ward leaders. We enjoy both. They simply require a completely different sort of approach.
When we are working with members our work is primarily spiritual. We talk about why we as a people engage in family history and how it can bless our lives. When we work with non-member community groups we focus on how the web-based program functions and answer questions about access and process.
There is an exercise we do at nearly all of our trainings. We get the people in the room matched into pairs and have them tell each other a family story. After four or five minutes we bring them back together as a group and ask them to identify what they were feeling during the story telling. When we are working with members, we help people learn to recognize the Spirit of Elijah, and how that is a manifestation of the Holy Ghost teaching us about the eternal nature of families. That is often one of the most powerful parts of our trainings. Even though we do the same exercise with the community groups, it does not carry the same punch without the gospel perspective of what it means.
I am convinced that ANYONE who spends time learning about their family history for any reason can get benefit from this. But those who do it with the intent of binding the generations together through sacred temple ordinances have a very different level of connection with the names that they find and the stories they hear.
So thankful that we have the opportunity for both kinds of trainings. We meet so many great people in this mission. I will long remember the stories I heard and the warm camaraderie among this group.