Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My FamilySearch Service Mission - Month One: The Call

I grew up in a genealogical home.  Back in the 1980s, my dad was Historian General of the Mayflower Society, and as a teen, I had the privilege of living in the Mayflower Society House.  It was a fun time to be a kid.  I helped in the genealogy library.  I walked in the Pilgrim's Progress.  I worked summers as a guide in the Spooner House and the Howland House. Heck, I lived across the street from Plymouth Rock.  You can't get more Plymouth than that!  It was a life filled with history.

Visiting my old home -- The Winslow House -- in 2010.
So, I'm sure it came as no surprise to my family and friends when I put in my papers for a Service Mission with FamilySearch through the LDS church. 

When I attended RootsTech 2014, I had inquired about serving with FamilySearch. Since around 2005 I have been a Family History Consultant with the church and thought this might be a good next step to take.  For whatever reason, it didn't happen until RootsTech2016, when I met with some amazing missionaries at the FamilySearch Booth in the Innovation Hall.

FamilySearch wasted no time in getting my paperwork processed and my computer system set up in my home.  They were whirlwind fast, albeit I told them that I had a few genealogical conferences that I need to attend and they might want to wait until early Summer.  Ever optimistic, they set me on my journey and wished me well.

Now, most people have heard of Mormon missionaries.  They are the young men and women who, at 18 and 20 respectively, enter the MTC for training.  That training could be a couple of weeks to a couple of months depending on the call of the missionary.  The longer training is to accommodate learning a new language.

Service Missionaries receive training as well, however, they are not sent to a Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah or anywhere else for that matter.  Instead, training is done in the home, in front of a computer, by yourself.  Okay, so it isn't all that bad.   In fact, while we don't have a companion (unless a spouse has chosen to serve along side you), we do have a Mission Training Team that consists of a handful of missionaries, a Mission Team Leader, and each day a new teacher who guides us through our certification process. 

Certification.  Where do I begin?!  It is the entire focus of our existence right now.  Each day there is a new module to learn, and every other day we must certify.  Trust me when I say, you want us to certify!  We, Service Missionaries, are the people who greet you online or on the phone when you have concerns with the FamilySearch process.  This training has definitely given me a new appreciation for anyone working in a service center, no matter what the program is! 

The best part is, I am learning more than ever about a program that I thought I knew everything about.  So much goes on behind the scenes of FamilySearch, and new updates are made daily.  I look forward to completing my training in these next few weeks and begin assisting all my fellow family history enthusiasts out there!  My mission call is for one year.  I hope you will enjoy my posts as I share my journey along the way.