Friday, August 13, 2010

Mission Accomplished

--> Recently, I completed 30 months serving as a part-time, at home, missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints , Family History Department.  This is a very unique mission.  I answered phone calls and e-mails from patrons who were using FamilySearch products.  This included New FamilySearch, Personal Ancestral File and, among others.   As I became more experienced I was able to help to train and teach other missionaries.  All of this was done from the comfort of my own home.  In a typical month I would serve around 100 hours (thus that explains my abandoned and neglected blog). Many of the experiences are just inspiring, both with patrons and with other missionaries. It would be an understatement to say I learned a lot. Here are some of the most important things I am taking away from the experience.
I learned a new confidence.  Not a confidence necessarily of myself.  A confidence that the Spirit of the Lord would lead and guide me when I put forth the effort.  I think that Elder Neal A. Maxwell said it best.

“God does not begin by
 asking our ability,
only our availability, 
and if we prove our dependability,
He will increase our capability.”

I can't tell you how many times I felt that strength beyond my own.  It is a very humbling experience to be lifted beyond your own abilities.

I learned much from my fellow missionaries.  They were such a strength and uplift to me.  We came in all shapes and sizes, with different abilities and strengths, and different challenges in life.  One Elder I will never forget, I worked with him on a special project.  I found him to be very helpful, and knowledgeable.  At one point he was in a class I was teaching to other missionaries.  At the end of class we had something called "Check Your Performance".  He had to show me he could do the things he was taught.  We had tools that allowed us to share computer screens.  As I was watching his computer screen, he explained to me that he did not have use of his arms, and that I would be hearing him give his computer commands.  It was just amazing to watch as this Elder flawlessly executed the tasks by telling his computer mouse what to do.  I went away with an admiration for him and gratefulness to live in a day when technology would allow someone to serve in that manner.

There was a Sister in my little missionary group (we were all in groups of about 10 to 12 missionaries, lead by a missionary leader who made sure we kept up in the latest advances) who had environmental allergies and was not able to even attend her church meetings without having a severe reaction.  It was great to be able to see her serve with us. She is such a diligent missionary, and I’m happy she was able to serve in this capacity.

We had another missionary in our group who was serving a Church Service mission with her husband in the Dominican Republic.  He was a Church counsel, and she helped in the local Family History Center there and also with FamilySearch support.  When the quake hit Haiti, she went to work, and touched many lives with her nursing background.  In our meetings she would share pictures of those sweet Haitians who were injured and give updates on their conditions.  She sacrificed a lot to help them out.

I had one great opportunity to teach a group of missionaries from New Zealand and Australia.  Such sweet sisters you will never met.  I marveled again at the technology that would allow us to use to the Internet to speak and teach and learn together from such a great distance.  This is truly a worldwide church, and it’s no wonder we are called World Wide Support Missionaries.

And then there are the wonderful patrons.  I will miss them the most.   My favorites were the little 80 year old Sisters.  They went way outside their comfort zones to learn to use computers to bless the lives of their ancestors and preserve information for their posterity.  I remember one sister in particular.  When she got to a certain point in New FamilySearch to print out something, she misunderstood what the computer was asking, and thought she needed to buy a new printer.  She was willing to do that if she had too.  Such willingness to sacrifice amazes me.

The large majority of patrons were patient beyond belief as we tried to solve their problems. It was always thrilling to help them solve a problem.  Especially those patrons who thought they had a lost a whole computer file of family names. We would cheer together when everything was restored and back to normal, and they were so grateful.  Many patrons shared special sacred experiences that would touch my heart.

I’m moving on now; I’m not sure to what yet.  Hopefully, my ward will keep me busy with family history questions. Oh, and I will have time to work on my own family history.  I need to break down a few brick walls.  Wish me luck!!


Laurel said...

What an incredibly awesome experience. Thank you for sharing. I love you.

Price Family said...

Gee mom make me cry! I'm sure you'll have plenty to do and who know what might happen down the road. Life is full of surprises. :) Hugs :)

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