Several months ago I was asked if I would be willing to serve as a church service missionary with FamilySearch. Four of us were called to serve in this particular assignment: (L to R) Risa Baker, Crystal Farrish, Rhonna Farrer and me. Our fearless leader and inspiration is Wendy Smedley (not pictured). We are serving as global family history missionaries, with specific assignments in social media. These four wonderful companions are talented in ways I can't even describe. Their gifts and influence will have an immediate effect on many to see the beauty and understand the importance of family history.
We had our first official in person meeting a couple of nights ago, and I was inspired by the proposed projects, upcoming events, and the ideas and cohesion that filled the room. The Spirit was strong, and I couldn't help but think about how they would be able to change the way people look at family history. I immediately wanted to be more diligent in sharing more stories with my family and incorporate some of the plans in my life.
When I got home and reflected on the part I would play, inadequacy and self-doubt flooded my mind. I am not like the other missionaries. I am the weak link, and I don't say that to garner sympathy or praise, just stating a fact. As I compared and found myself lacking and how I could increase numbers, etc. I found myself more frustrated and out of sync. It is all contradiction to my motivations for writing and sharing. I wanted to create a small intimate place where you could sit on my couch, albeit virtual and visit. I am not vain enough to think that everyone will want to stay and find great joy that there are so many different voices, something for everyone. So why was I questioning now?
Questions about what I had to offer, not only as part of this small group but as a greater whole within my calling trickled in faster than I could combat them. How could I find my way, my place amidst brighter lights and stronger voices? How could I help when I feel so weak? I remembered Ether 12:27 about weak things being made strong, but the doubts were too strong, and I was too tired to listen clearly.
So I went to bed knowing rest would help, but when I awoke the next morning to those same feelings of inadequacy, I got mad. See the adversary and I have a had long battle in this arena and although he throws some good punches I have not let him win, nor will I. So after the children left for school, I went to the place where peace envelops me and adds a layer to my armor, patching the holes were the few of the fiery darts (1 Nephi 15:24 and Ephesians 6:16) penetrated.
The temple is always a place of refuge for me. I place to fill my empty tank and bring added clarity and perspective. Together with my ancestors, for I had family names whose proxy work I was able to perform, I was finally able to stop the negative feelings that had blocked my ability to hear the whisperings of truth.
- For whatever reason, I have been called at this time and in this capacity. It certainly doesn't mean I am better than any other person; it just means God has something specific for me to do. He will make up the difference for my inabilities and weakness. He always has, both in small and miraculous ways.
- I do not write or record my history for anyone but me and my posterity. Family history is for the future, not the past and certainly not for followers. Those kinds metrics have never driven me to anything, but wanting stop sharing so worrying about them now is ridiculous. I am passionate about documenting the stories of the world around me and the beautiful things that bring me hope and joy.
- We all (everyone of us, not just this missionary group) have unique gifts, talents, and abilities, including me. It is something I celebrate in others and find great joy in the beauty of the diversity of people that fill the earth. I continually meet people who inspire me in some way and their stories shared humbly testify that God is aware of who we are and that He loves us.
- There is great power in family history, something I am just realizing. Family history as an organization or hobby was something I avoided. I immediately tuned out when someone spoke about it. I was wrong, and I am happy to be wrong. I hope to share the things I learn, and that family history is for everyone, and we will each approach it differently, but together it will bring strength to our lives.
- We can not do this work alone, what great comfort things brings. It's not all up to you or me. We are all continually learning, I am feverously studying and am always open to suggestions and corrections.
- Christ binds us all back together in one great family as we take His name upon us. We are all related; you are my cousins and siblings and friends, and we are loved the most supernal and merciful Father and elder brother. This one fact fills my heart with such love that all doubt and fear vanish away.
"When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves." (Russell M. Nelson, "Generations Linked in Love," General Conference, April 2009)
As a group, we have created a mission statement or manifesto that reflects our feelings and impressions about this calling. I am so honored and excited to serve and grow.
LIGHT A SPARK. We will motivate, teach and inspire others to see family history in new ways creating an atmosphere of learning, creativity, and sharing.
HEART BEFORE THE CHART. We believe that the only way to truly help people understand the importance of family history is, to begin with, the heart, through stories and memories. This process will produce life long family historians.
SEEK AFTER THE ONE. We will focus on the individual whether living with a desire to do family history or the deceased who beacons to be found.
LET THE SPIRIT GUIDE. We are nothing without the Lord. Through Him, while listening to the Spirit, we can be guided with what to say and do to further His work and Glory.
AFTER PUBLICATION NOTE: As I was expressing my inadequacy to Samantha, she smiled and reminded me that I had asked every bishop and stake president to send us, as a family on a mission. They usually laugh, and I know it's not realistic, but I love being a missionary. I love talking about Christ and His gospel. She pointed out that I was now a missionary and that the Lord's ways, means, and timing are part of the plan; to have faith. I don't know how many times I have given that same advice. Grown daughters are such a blessing.