Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Family History Mission: Challenges and Blessings

Hall of Records, Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland
No. 71

Note: You can do a Google search for "A Family History Mission James Tanner" to see all the previous posts in this ongoing series. You can also search for "James Tanner genealogy" and find them or click back through all the posts.

Working in the Maryland State Archives as Record Preservation Missionaries for FamilySearch and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has its challenges, concerns and a great measure of blessings. We are now well into our mission, but it is interesting to reflect on the time we have been here in Annapolis, Maryland. 

As I have written in the past, our missionary experience is quite different than what we expected. Previously, I had only been aware of the proselyting side of missionary work mostly done by the full-time young Elder and Sister Missionaries. In our specific calling, we have limited contact with the younger missionaries. But as an exception to the rule, this past Saturday we helped the full-time Sister missionaries take an investigator to the Washington, D.C. Temple Visitors Center. It was interesting to see the progress of the two-year renovation of the Temple from the Visitors Center. 

If you look closely, you can see some construction on the third spire from the left. For a few hours we got to talk to an investigator and work with the Sister missionaries in the Visitors Center and those serving in the Spa Creek Branch of the Annapolis, Stake where we serve. One of our two Sister missionaries is finishing her mission this week and the other is being transferred. We are getting two Elders to replace them in the Branch.

Another blessing in our lives in the opportunity to work with the Spa Creek Branch of the Annapolis Stake (Spanish). My wife, Ann, has found her place in the Primary where the children all speak English. We have also been able to help the Branch member find family names to take to the Temple. They have just had a Branch Temple excursion and have another planned for the Fall. We have seen the members' temple and family history activity increase.

We have the normal challenges of age. We all bring our physical condition with us and have some of the same problems as we would have had even if we had stayed at home. None of the missionaries serving here with us have had to leave, but we have had a few trips to see doctors.

One very persistent challenge is driving the Washington, D.C. area. The average speed on the freeways when there is a moderate traffic flow is about 80 miles per hour. Every so often we have freeway racers go by weaving in and out of the traffic at well over 100 miles an hour. I have estimated some of the racers at over 120 mph. This is extremely scary.

As I have written recently, we worked our way through the last of the court books and have started doing flat paper, i.e. documents submitted to the court. We are not even going to make a dent in all the documents that need to be done. We are finding that digitizing the documents is more physically demanding than the books. All four of the cameras at the Archives are now working on the same type of documents.

The weather here in Annapolis changes frequently. After living in Mesa, Arizona for so many years where the weather is always sunny and warmer unless there is an infrequent storm, we find the weather to be interesting. Some days are cool and nice, some are warm and humid. The 4th of July was very hot and humid even until late at night. I like the variability of the weather.

We are really blessed with the Senior Missionaries and Volunteers who work with us at the Archives. We can't imagine how hard this job would be if you were out there alone as a couple. We have enjoyed have frequent Mexican dinners together and a few other activities. However, mostly we all do things on our own.

Overall, we are extremely blessed to be here. We love our Branch. We love the people we work with and we love the area. We are glad we came on a full-time mission.

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