Sunday, March 1, 2015

"I'm Small, I Know . . ."

One of life's big questions is "Why am I here--does my life have a purpose?"  I have no trouble answering that in the bigger context of this mortal existence with relationship to eternity.  That's the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the revealed words of our loving Father about His purposes for us, his children.

Our half of a really nice duplex--a nice place to come home to.
But, "Why am I here in Indiana?" is a question that keeps resurfacing.  What possible difference will our work here make?  Vigo County is one of 92 counties in Indiana, each county with its own courthouse full of old wills, marriage licenses, and probate records.  It would take 100 more missionary couples capturing images to prepare an adequate data base for Indiana research.  Indiana is only one of 50 states.  The job is MAMMOTH, and there are only 88 couples doing digital imaging, as we are, in the whole world!

The warehouse we go to every day (as Google saw it last spring).
It's wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling boxes, file cabinets and shelves
of old documents and books.

This last week we've been able to get a better feel for the scope of our probate project here.  There are over 700 boxes of probate packets that fit in our project's time frame--1818 to 1935.  Each box contains the probate documents for, on the average, 18 people.

Some of the boxes that contain our old probate packets.

We can image about one box a day.  That's over 2 1/2 years--our remaining 10 months plus another couple's full mission.  What is there about the importance of Vigo County's records that we are here instead of some other county or state or country?

Ruthanne and Stephen Thompson.
I'm convinced that they "prayed" us here to Indiana

It could be as simple as the squeaky wheel getting the grease.  Stephen Thompson, an avid genealogist and member of the church in Crawfordsville, is a "front man" for FamilySearch.  He finds archives of documents that meet FamilySearch's needs and then initiates the contact between FamilySearch and the custodian of the archives.  He and his ancestors are Montgomery County natives, and he has ties to Vigo County.  He paved the way for our two projects--Squeaky wheel. Our call--Grease.

Somewhere written on this old, curled scroll may be the missing name or date
that some genealogical researcher is looking for.

Or it could go deeper?  The spirits of our departed loved ones know where their names can be found.  They know where the documents are that will facilitate the linking of their particular branch of the Family Tree, documents that will lead to the proxy ordinances in the Lord's temples that open the way to exaltation for them, sealing generations together as families.  If I am here in Indiana to preserve that particular document, then the work will not have been in vain.

Just a bundle of old, decaying paper?  It's a treasure
if it links someone to their ancestral family.

A third consideration?  God knows me.  Being here, doing this work, will in some way inch me along on His intended path for me.  I surely have been learning patience, submission, humility, and dependence on the Spirit.  Pres. Uchtdorf described it as "Lift Where You Stand."  Elder Holland observed that "she hath done what she could."

These are hardly the hands of a musician, but that's often
what they look like after an hour at the warehouse.

The lyrics to a Primary song, "Give, Said the Little Stream," come to mind, "I'm small, I know, but wherever I go the fields grow greener still."  I guess that's the point.  My only concern should be to "Give, then, as Jesus gives . . . For God and others, live."  And to do it "Singing, singing, all the day, 'Give! Oh, give away.'"

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so very much Ann and Mike.
    I love to read and to see your updates. Over the years I have tried imagining the old records our missionaries might be preserving. You have given me a real mental image of them.
    May heaven help you every day.


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