Sunday, July 5, 2015

To This End Was I Called

Many of us pause on New Years Day to make an assessment of the old year and to set resolutions for the next.  Birthdays and anniversaries of any kind prompt the same reflection for me.  Ann and I have now been on our mission for a full year, and I'm doing an internal audit.  What have been the results of that year of service?  Am I "filling the measure of [my] creation"?  Am I magnifying my calling?
A week's worth of work ready to go back to the stacks

First I looked at the hard data regarding our "primary assignment" as "records preservation specialists":
  • Work Ethic--We've been at our post to the extent that the counties' hours allowed us, taking minimal breaks for lunch or rest, and only a handful of days off for mission conferences or gatherings.
  • Productivity--We have sent 447,529 images to FamilySearch to be added to its online resources
  • Quality Management--Just one of those images has been sent back to us for "rework," and that was because we failed to rotate it 90 degrees to make it "right reading."
  • Team Involvement--Volunteers have supported the projects.  In Crawfordsville, the documents were all prepared for us to image before we ever arrived--3 weeks of 8-hour days by dozens of church and community members.  Here in Terre Haute, Ann has organized a pool of fifty-eight individuals to come a few at a time to help at the warehouse.  These fine folks have clocked 442 hours of service, with a few of them coming regularly each week to do a shift.
  • Developing New Procedures--Volunteers across the globe, friends and family members, have been extracting the data from the large index book of the probate records to make our work of identifying the images easier.  That project is 70% complete, with 10,881 names so far in the database.
The missionaries always bring the Spirit to the warehouse when they drop in for a minute.

Hard data, though, is not a totally accurate measure of success.  We pray each day that the Spirit of the Lord will be there to guide us and to touch the hearts of those coming to help us.  How can that spiritual influence be quantified, other than to say that it is real.  There is a peace there, a reassurance that the work is meaningful and needful to building up the Kingdom of God.
I learned to love this book a few years ago.  Now I can share it with others.

Our call included an additional open-ended phrase, "Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president."  He as approved our being "group leaders" in the Addiction Recovery Program sponsored by LDS Family Services.  Since April we have met every Thursday night with folks seeking that support here in Terre Haute.  Attendance has ranged from 4 to 10, with 8 being pretty regular.  There again, numbers may not reflect the value of that program, for if just one soul is aided in his or her recovery from addiction, then it is a success.
We've learned to Pull Together with the members of our Indiana wards
We've enjoyed being members of three different wards during the past year.  "We'd be glad to serve in any way you would need us, Bishop," and they put us to work.  How our lives have been enriched by the good saints with whom we've labored.  We are grateful that they've given us opportunities to share our love of music, to teach, and to fellowship.

There is a paragraph in our call that puzzled me at the time, and causes me now to ponder on its meaning and if I am measuring up:  "Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."  That's straight from Preach My Gospel's introduction.  Ann sees our imaging as making that conversion and ordinance work possible for those in the Spirit World, and I agree.  But we have also been blessed to help in the teaching and fellowshipping of wonderful folks here in Indiana.  I'm sure that there is MUCH more I could do to magnify this part of our calling.
Salvador Ponce, our newest brother in the Family of Christ
Looking at the past year in a broader sense, I see that there have been some outcomes promised by the closing paragraph of our call:  "Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord."  Being here has been a growth experience for me.  I've learned humility doing the imaging because it is often so routine and repetitive.  My faith in the Lord has been reaffirmed.  My testimony of the divinity of this work and of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been strengthened.  All of this has brought the blessings and happiness that were promised.
Four years and holding
Ann and I are still married!  We actually celebrated our 4th anniversary just a couple of days ago.  She had serious concerns about the prospects of being together 24/7.  Despite the curves I continually pitch her, she chooses to stay in the game.  I'm so blessed for that faith she has in our marriage and in the inspiration we received to make such serious and eternal covenants with each other and before the Lord.  This mission experience is proving to be the refining fire to weld us together.  I love her more each day.
Celebrating a year of blessings
I have six months left to accomplish the purposes of my call.  The imaging will go on--that much I can do.  It's "between the lines" that I need to focus on now, bringing myself and others closer to the Lord.

1 comment:

  1. I have enjoyed reading your posts. Keep up the good work!
    Sister Lynda Bennett - Area Family History Support Missionary - Auckland New Zealand.


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