Saturday, August 22, 2015
Family History Missionary Opportunities
Church Service Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the unsung heroes of the overall missionary service. Regular, full-time missionaries, even senior missionaries, are often recognized by speaking in their Ward both before and after their callings. Service missionaries, especially those serving less than full-time and serving at home are almost never recognized or even noticed by the Ward family. However, the work they do is extremely valuable and necessary. This is especially true of the corp of service missionaries dedicated to family history.
As the LDS.org website explains, Church Service Missionaries can serve in the home, close to home or away from home. I have been serving as a Church Service Missionary for a number of years, first at the Mesa FamilySearch Library (originally the Mesa Regional Family History Center) and now at the Brigham Young University Family History Library. I loved serving in Mesa and now I love serving at the BYU Family History Library in Provo, Utah. Both have been extraordinary opportunities to work with wonderful people and have fabulous experiences. In both locations, my wife has served with me at least part of the time, unless she had other callings in the Church. We both recently extended our callings for another two years. I am planning on serving as long as they will let me continue.
Serving as a Church Service Missionary does have some interesting consequences. Some of the Bishops in our Wards over the years have been puzzled about how we "fit in" to the usual Ward callings. Some of the Ward members, when they see us with our missionary badges, wonder if we are temporary in the Ward and it takes quite a bit of time to convince the Ward members that we are permanent residents. As we moved into Provo, we found that many of the members of our new Ward were serving in various volunteer and Church Service capacities, some were even serving as Family History Missionaries. This was quite a change from Mesa.
As we have served in various ways in the Family History area, we have spent time helping patrons, one-on-one, and teaching in a variety of ways. Of course, my involvement in family history extends well beyond the time that I serve in the BYU Family History Library, I always have a number of other projects and involvements going on, but the core of my activity is now with the BYU Family History Library where we serve students attending the University, people from the surrounding communities and quite a few people from around the world.
There are many ways to serve and if you are at all interested, I suggest exploring the opportunities on the Family History Missionaries Opportunities page on LDS.org.