You know when something keeps coming up in your life that, that something is the thing you need to bring into focus! The week after I was called into our ward's Young Women presidency. I was invited to attend a stake leadership meeting. That leadership meeting was centered around Hastening the work through Family History. I am going to share some ways we can catch the spark and keep it from dying down, but instead keep the flame going:
Catching the Spark.... Find something in Family History Work that interests you.
Let me go back a little bit. When I turned eight years old my "Nana" & "Papa" (my maternal grandparents), gave me a Book of Remembrance. Let me say that this was the spark to my family history work. I loved filling in the pages. Adding pictures and writing down memories. From there I also began keeping a journal regularly. It is a treasured possession I have that I can now go back and giggle at some of the things I wrote while growing up. For one of my Person Progress activities I compiled a scrapbook of my childhood. I love going back looking at the pictures and having memories flood back to me as I share them with my children. Each of these experiences added more kindling to my spark and helped to start a burning fire in my soul to further my family history work. But as fires go if you do not keep feeding the flames of the fire, the fire will soon die down. As most women with a young family it became hard to keep up my writings in my journal. As more children were added to our family the less pictures were printed out and put into scrapbooks. It's sad I know, my poor youngest's life is documented on the computer, not an album.
Constantly add more kindling to the fire....Get Family Member's Involved, find out more about them.
A few years back, I had a strong interest in obtaining pedigree charts and personal family histories from both my grandparents and my husband's grandparents. We were living out of state at the time, so I mailed each family member my request and even some fun questionnaires to fill out. It was exciting to receive some information back. I inputted it into the computer and was able to add some branches to our family tree.
Start Adding Some Twigs to the Flame... Teach other's about Family History Work
I dabbled here and there with family history work. We would have Family Home Evenings (see list below) as a family. We filled out pedigree charts for each of the children. We had a fun some fun Family Home Evenings where the kids were able to learn more about us and their grandparents. We got on the New Family Search website and viewed our family trees and even added a few more branches. I started some social media accounts and posted pictures and memories. We've gone to FamilySearch.org and looked at our family members pictures and read their stories. This is great because you feel so connected to them. We have even added our own pictures to the website, which is so easy to do. Just find the picture you'd like to upload, go to Family Search, log in. Then click on the person you would like to add an image of. Click on "memories" and then upload or add the photo. So easy!! You can do this with documents and stories too. All these things seemed to keep my fire flickering. But I desired more, I wanted my fire to grow.
Adding Logs to the Fire to Help it Burn Long and Strong... FIND a Family Member and take them to the temple.
Which brings me back to the stake leadership meeting I had mentioned above. In this meeting we heard testimonies and counsel about family history work. I was touched as an elderly member of our stake, relayed her experience and testimony on indexing. She had recently lost her eye sight and had been diagnosed with cancer. To hear of her endurance and perseverance to do her Heavenly Father's work, was purely inspirational. We heard from our wonderful Stake President and his experience of going to the temple and the opportunity he had to do some names from one of our apostle's families and what a neat experience that was. He then, testified that taking his own family member's names to the temple was an even grander experience.
After this meeting I was able to take one of our dear stake president's family names to the temple. It was a neat experience, but as he testified taking your own family's names is even greater of an experience.
Which leads me to a big log I added to my burning fire of finding our own family names and doing their work. My sister-in-law was about to go through the temple to take out her own endowments and I felt very strongly that we needed to take our own family names when we went with her. So, I prayed for help and continued to pray for help throughout the process that we would be able to find those family members who needed their work done.
I think that is the key to family history work, prayer!! Those family members are on the other side of the veil waiting for us to do their work. They are not just names, they are people who are linked to us throughout the years. As I began to see them as such and sincerely prayed, the work began to mean so much more! As I said we were looking for family members who needed their endowments done. Which, is actually pretty difficulty to find. Most needed everything done or they had everything but a sealing done. I was on the computer frequently looking for the little green temple to pop up on one of my family members. I was able to find most of them, but still needed one more women, so we would have enough for each of us going to the temple. I was in the zone trying to find this last family member, when my kiddos informed me that they were starving. So, I decided to teach my eight year old son what to do so I could make some dinner. I showed him where to click and what to look for. It was one of the neatest experiences that I have had. He would be looking and a temple would pop up and he would be so excited, I would come and look and it would be someone who needed all of their work done. And then it finally happened!!! He called me over and right before us, was that last family member who we had been searching for. It became so personal, we were specifically searching for her and we had found her. Why had it taken us so long? I have a thought on that. Heavenly Father could have allowed me to quickly find these family members, but He didn't and for some very important reasons.
First, as I searched for these family members they were not just names they became people, people I truly loved and sought out to find. Second, I truly believe that I needed to have the experience with my child. That I needed to teach him about family history work and we needed to have that testimony building experience together. Had I found those names quickly, I would not have had such experiences.
Now, it is time to keep feeding the flame by adding more long lasting logs... We do this by Repeating all of the above.
We keep the flame burning strong, by continually finding things with Family History Work that excites and interest us. We can teach others and share our experiences, getting our family members involve. Probably the most important though is seeking our those family members who are waiting and have that desire for their work to be accomplished. Take them to the temple and repeat.
There are so many amazing resources out there in regards to Family History Work, here are a list of just some of them:
- FamilySearch.org: This is a must!!! Get on and look at your family tree or fan chart. I love getting on here and seeing pictures of my ancestors and reading their stories. This is also the place to find what work needs to be done. You can reserve the names and even print them out now to take them to the temple.
- #MyForeverFamily Challenge!!! You can start this at anytime. There are so many amazing links to some fun games, pedigree charts, Family Home Evenings and other resources. Compiled by 15 LDS bloggers, to help put the daily focus on our Forever Families.
- Indexing on Family Search: If you haven't had the chance, get on and do a batch or two!!
- Relative Finder: This is a fun website where you can find out if you are related to any prophets or presidents and how closely you are related to them.