Some time ago, my wife and I began the process of volunteering to serve as full-time missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many people around the world have become accustomed to seeing young missionaries traveling around two-by-two. These younger missionaries are primarily proselyting to find people to join the church. Some senior missionaries also act in this capacity. However, for senior missionaries, there are a variety of other challenging opportunities to serve. In our case, we wished to serve in some capacity associated with our main interest in family history and genealogy. As result, we found an opportunity to serve as Record Preservation missionaries.
Full-time missionary service for senior missionaries, most commonly retired couples, can be for six months, 12 months, 18 months or longer. The variety of callings available is remarkable. You can discover information about available positions on the LDS.org website. Specifically, we wanted to serve a mission associated with the activities of FamilySearch. Both of us, have been serving as Church Service Missionaries for some time now.
As it states in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 4:3, "Therefore if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work…" Most callings in the Church come from the leaders to the members, however, senior missionary callings rely on the members volunteering to serve. Because of this, we sought out a specific calling to assist in the digitization of the world's records.
The process of submitting the information necessary to receive a mission call is simplified by having the entire process online. There are some minimal requirements concerning health and availability. Filling out the online forms and acquiring the necessary information took only a short period of time. Our mission call came much quicker than expected. However, we were given, what appeared to be, a rather long time to prepare to leave. We were called to the Washington DC North Mission, appropriately located in the Washington DC area. Our specific calling was to serve as Record Preservation Specialists for a period of one year, at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, Maryland. It is not always the case, that the missionaries are called to the place or area they specify; this is made very clear in the application process.
We are very grateful for the opportunity to serve.
Record presentation is the fundamental driving force behind all of the online records now available for genealogical research. FamilySearch has hundreds of missionary couples serving around the world participating in this important work.
- Preserving Historical Records: Lesson of the National Personnel Records Center Fire
- FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm
- Record Preservation Missionary
- FamilySearch Records Preservation Missionaries
Many people have asked me if I will write about our mission. Rather than do a separate newsletter to all of our friends, I have decided to incorporate a "report" about our mission in this blog. Stay tuned.