This blog covers the years 2014-2016 when we (the Robisons) were at the Ghana MTC. To see the blog covering the period 2016-2018 click on this link: http://ldsghanamtc.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Generations Connect Through Personal Life Stories
NEWS RELEASE — 11 MARCH 2014
“In all of us,” wrote Alex Haley, author of the popular novel Roots (based on his own life stories), “there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage — to know who we are and where we have come from.”
That “hunger” is growing throughout the world. People are discovering that to understand better who they are, they must know the stories of family members who went before them. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are among those who have a desire to connect in a personal way across generations by researching their family history, gathering written personal histories, preserving oral histories and recording interviews of the life experiences of elderly family members for the benefit of posterity.
Mormons believe the family is ordained of God. They also believe the family is the fundamental unit of society and central to God’s eternal plan for His children. This belief impels older members of the Church to share the important, life-changing moments of their lives with children and grandchildren who, upon hearing and preserving these experiences, develop a stronger sense of family and belonging. With the knowledge of their forbearers’ accounts of strength over adversity, children and grandchildren become better equipped to overcome difficult challenges in their own lives.
“As we contemplate what those before us have gone through that we might be here, as we sense their faith and courage and feel their love for us and our love for them, we realize what is really important,” said former Church leader Elder John H. Groberg to a worldwide conference of Latter-day Saints in 1980. “We realize that so-called problems are only what we see when we take our eye off our eternal goal.”
Latter-day Saints focus on their family history for another reason — their belief that families can be together after this life. They research names and other information so sacred ceremonies and rites can be performed in behalf of their ancestors in Latter-day Saint temples, thereby exercising faith that they will be linked to loved ones as an eternal family.
Mormon youth worldwide are becoming more involved in seeking out personal histories and stories of their family members.
“It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies,” said Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one of the senior governing bodies of the Church.
Examples of such tools are the Family Tree and Memories features recently launched by FamilySearch. The new Memories feature allows users to easily upload and manage family photos online and to tell their favorite ancestor stories. With photos, faces can be identified and linked to the respective ancestors’ profiles in a user’s family tree, ensuring they will be accessible for future generations. Photos and stories can also be seamlessly shared via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and email.
Missionaries who arrived March 7 began that day to collect Family History Stories and prepare Family File names to take to the temple on March 11-12.
Among the people in Ghana who have taken an interest in knowing more about their ancestors are the young men and women who spend time at the Latter-day Saint Missionary Training Center in Tema where they receive instruction before departing to their assigned missions throughout West Africa and Madagascar. Elder and Sister Watson, from Virginia come to the MTC on the first Sunday of each MTC group to work with the missionaries in submitting names for temple work. (see photos)
Part of the training given to these new missionaries includes an introduction to a resource entitled "My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together." The booklet is an engaging way to capture and preserve family stories and provides simple steps for recording family information, including photos, names and important dates.
“It is important to know, as far as possible, those who came before us,” Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said. “We discover something about ourselves when we learn about our ancestors.”
Given the opportunity to document memorable family stories and transfer valuable records onto pedigree sheets during their stay in the MTC, Mormon missionaries learn the significance of preserving important ancestral information and are eager to share their knowledge and help others learn how to personally gather, share and record their family memories.