This is the message to the missionaries that is included in the Rome Forum that is distributed each transfer.
Many times we feel our work is to baptize new members, and while this is a part, we are also to look at the bigger picture which is to build eternal families.
We have been taught repeatedly that our best referrals come from members. Family history work is a non-threatening way for members to share a gospel topic with friends, neighbors, or casual acquaintances.
I encourage you to have a copy of your 4 generation pedigree chart with you to show members and investigators. We have websites that we can share, ie. Mormon.org/family-history. You might consider helping teach a family home evening to members or investigators on family history. How about a white board tracting question of “Tell me about your family”.
We also have family history experts in the mission who are willing to help present a family history fireside.
We will soon have a wonderful resource at the new visitor center at the temple where the public can do research on their own families. The church is currently involved in a huge indexing project with the Italian government to index millions of Italian city and church records for public use.
The possibilities are endless. We all have interesting stories in our family history. Let me share one of mine with you.
One Saturday in 1870 Anson Call asked William Waddoups to hitch up his buggy and together they would go to Salt Lake and pay a call on Martin Harris, one of the early benefactors of Joseph Smith and a witness to the Book of Mormon, who had just arrived in Utah. This visit to Harris made a profound impression on young Waddoups. Ever after throughout his own long life, he loved telling the story of hearing Martin Harris’s testimony of seeing an angel of God. He told the story to his friends, to several congregations in church, and to his family, including his many descendants. The story goes like this, quoting Harris:
“Young man, I had the privilege of being with the Prophet Joseph Smith, and with these eyes of mine”, pointing to his eyes, “I saw the angel of the Lord, and I saw the plates and the Urim and Thummim and the sword of Laban, and with these ears,” pointing to his ears, “I heard the voice of the angel, and with these hands,” holding out his hands, “I handled the plates containing the record of the Book of Mormon, and I assisted the Prophet in the translation thereof. I bear witness that this testimony is true.”
Harris also told Waddoups that that frail man speaking to him was the “fruits of apostasy.” “Young man,” Harris warned William, “always be faithful and obedient to the presiding priesthood, and you will always be safe.”
I bear testimony that the spirit of Elijah is real and can assist you in a new and fruitful way to find investigators and to retain new converts.
There are many ways to do finding. Family history is one more way to add variety and to touch the lives of many Italians who love and are concerned for their family.
For more ideas read page 3 and pages 163-165 in Preach My Gospel.
I love each of you and pray for you daily.