Sunday, July 31, 2016

Missionary Sabbath Day

We had a very special day for our last Sabbath in July. The Sacrament meeting talks were all focused on Family History, which of course we thought was great.  Talks were given by Sister Debra Andrews, who teaches the Family History Class for our ward, and several of the people we have helped to find family names to take to the temple.  They each did a great job.  We loved the spirit that was present in the room as they each bore strong testimony of the importance of family history work.

However, no matter how good the talks may have been, we have learned that the REAL focus of every Sacrament meeting is the Sacrament itself.  Over the course of this mission we really have learned to consider this a personal, sacred time to reflect on our individual lives and to renew our covenants with our Heavenly Father.

Next came Sunday School
 The way the "Family History Workshop" model works, every three weeks we begin helping a different group of people. Rather than having a long class to teach in depth knowledge, the goal of this way of doing it is simply to orient as many people as possible to the basics of FamilySearch is a small group where they can get individual attention and assistance to find a family name to take to the temple. This was day one with a brand new group. As usual, it is a bit hard to get the previous class to feel ready to move on as they all seem to have a good experience with us and want to keep coming. However, we lovingly direct them back to Gospel Doctrine class, explaining again as we do at the beginning of each session that their session is finished as we are trying to give everyone in the ward a turn to rotate through. Sister Andrews then introduced the new people to what we would be covering in their sessions and had each one share a brief family story. Then we all got online and began showing them the way FamilySearch works.  I was able to help the sister I was working with find a family name to take to the temple right away which felt really special.

For the third hour Larry and I taught the combined Relief Society and Priesthood class, giving an overview of  why we do family history and the steps to take a family name to the temple.  We answered all sorts of questions that people had.  It seemed to be very well received.

Then later that evening we headed out to the Missionary Training Center that is over by the Redoubt Stake Center. We had dinner with the young missionaries and then presented an hour long devotional on ways they can use family history in teaching the investigators they will work with and how to make it a priority to see all new converts get to take a family name to the temple within the first few months of their membership.

At dinner I especially enjoyed visiting with some of the young sisters from Tonga and Samoa. When we talked about some of our experiences in those countries they got big smiles on their faces, so happy to know of our love for their homelands.

We were both really happy with how our presentation went for the devotional. Last time we taught at the MTC we had some issues with our technology (Our PowerPoint was created in a different version from that on the computer they had set up for our presentation) so none of our videos would play properly.   We know our stuff so we were able to convey our message without the videos,  but it went so much smoother this time when we had our own lap top there to run it with and all our media running properly.

New Zealand Missionary Training Center (MTC)
When we got home we did our usual nightly reading together from the Book of Mormon.  We are in Alma now and are on track to finish the book for the 5th time just as we finish our mission.  Oh how I love this book!

Afterward I spent a couple hours working on some FamilySearch for various people that have asked for assistance in identifying family names.   One of our goals has been to help 100 people or more
 find a name to take to the temple before we go home.  We've done a lot for the folks here, both those who work in the PAO and those we meet at various trainings we take part in.  In addition to that, we've helped quite a few people we know back in the USA.   I truly love being part of this work!

These last weeks seem to be going by so very fast.  This soon will all be over.  I hope I will never forget these special times, these special people.  I am so very grateful for the chance to be a family history missionary.  The love we feel in doing this work is truly priceless.

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