August 21, 2016 – Finding My Family at the County Fair
Last Friday and Saturday we were volunteer Senior Missionaries at a “Finding My Family” Booth at the Davis County Fair. We thought it would be uncomfortable sitting at a booth where no one wanted to talk with us or make eye contact. Turned out to be the most fun we’d had at a fair. There would be crowds around our booth even without us encouraging them. People could win balloons if they named 5 historical figures out of 22 pictures. No one went away without balloons or candy. Those who wanted could also receive a personal family tree booklet if they provided their ancestral information for a genealogist to research and provide at a later date.
Everyone who came to the booth seemed to have fun with Family History. We had very little down time – in fact it was difficult to get a picture with just us in front of the booth. Didn’t know that Family History could be so fun, especially for children. What a neat idea.
August 10, 2016 – Ellis Island Arrivals
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. – Malachi 4:6
Want to tell you a bit about Darla from the Care Center Branch that we support. Several months ago she had no interest in talking about religion. She told Elder Jex that she didn’t need to attend church because she had her own faith inside her. As we started visiting her, she gradually became more receptive and even started to have personal prayers between visits. Last Sunday Darla attended the Care Center Sacrament Meeting, the first time in 8 years! The branch leaders were quite surprised and impressed with the change that occurred. Today we took Darla and her roommate Sharlene to the Family History Center (FHC) in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Sharlene was excited to create family group sheets so she could be sealed to her husband and son who passed away 20 yrs ago in an auto accident. At the FHC she was thrilled to find that she could also be sealed as a child to her parents.
Weeks ago when we first planned the trip Darla didn’t want to go. Later she agreed to came along because it was a chance to get out. We were going to show her the new FHC Discovery Center but never got there. Once there she became excited to add her child’s information who passed away in infancy many years ago. There was no record previously in FamilySearch.com. While doing so the presence of her infant child was felt strongly by her, Sister Jex, and the FHC worker assisting them. It was a great spiritual experience to know that her daughter was there with them and excited to have her mom’s heart turned to her and her heart turned to her mom. Darla became excited as she found her parents and one grandparent’s line. They sensed other deceased relatives standing beside them as they were putting the pieces together. Darla, who months earlier wanted nothing to do with religion, now was excited about the opportunity to be sealed to her parents and do genealogy work for other ancestors.
In the FHC photo op you see us as proxies for our deceased ancestors on the dock at Ellis Island after arriving in America. Surely they were excited to land on the dock after their long and difficult journey from England. They probably cried, cheered for joy, and kissed the ground. Surely they were also excited when we entered the FHC and started finding information about them and connecting them to Sharlene and Darla’s family tree. Their hearts were turned to us and our hearts were turned to them.
August 2, 2016 – Salt Lake City Temple Experience
On Friday we went through a Salt Lake City temple for the first time since being in Utah. We planned to be in the 9AM session but ended up in the 10AM one. We just happened to be there at the same session while our Salt Lake City Mission President Spendlove and his wife were there with departing elders and sisters. We also just happened to be there the same time our previous Guam Mission President was there. Elder Jex sat with one president to his side and one president directly behind him. What are the odds of that happening! If that wasn’t an omen, don’t know what one is. Our only mission president missing was in still in the Philippines.
It reminded Elder Jex of years earlier when he worked at Intel in Oregon. He was encouraging a previous Provo, Utah co-worker from Signetics Corp to join his team at Intel. While his co-worker, Charlie, was in Oregon trying to prayerfully make a decision he went to the Portland temple. In the temple session room, Charlie came in and sat down next to Elder Jex. Talk about surprised looks. Charlie, who was big into symbolism, took this as a sign and answer to his prayers. The two co-workers were able to be co-workers again in Intel.
Our Guam president told us that a previous Guam missionary, Elder Kearl, was being married in the temple right after. Because of the series of events we were able to attend the marriage of our dear Guam Elder, meet one of his previous missionary (temporary) companions from Twin Falls, ID, and meet his bride – his new eternal companion.