The Spirit of Elijah Like a Fire is Burning Within My Heart
A letter I wrote to the Missionaries serving from my Ward
March 13 2016As missionaries you often speak with the “tongue of angels” when testifying of Christ and His church. Yesterday it was my privilege participate in this glorious, joyous, and sacred gift of the Holy Ghost while working at the FamilySearch History Center.
I’d prayed several times in days previous that I might be helpful to the patrons who were going to come. Then I began to pray for people to be prompted to come that “needed” to be there. Finally, I prayed for a specific member who had called me saying, “You are the only one who has ever gotten me the least bit interested in doing my own family history,” so can we get together again? I met Rafael in my water aerobics class three years ago and invited him to begin working on his family history at the center; he came once. This time, I gave him homework (get a three ring binder, notepaper, pen to bring) and any documents he might have, and come to the center at 9 am, Saturday. His reply was, “He didn’t have any documents, and that we’d put everything he knew into FamilySearch already.”
He came and miracles happened. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and never knew his father, who left his mom when he was about three. His dad was born in Puerto Rico. Rafael was there promptly at 9:00 a.m. when we opened. We always have a prayer with the volunteer workers before we begin. I was just sitting down with him at a computer, when in walks a non-member patron, Juanita, who had a microfilm she had been viewing for the past few weeks. Juanita is an expert in Puerto Rican genealogy. She helped found a Puerto Rican Genealogy group in New York City when she lived there!
I introduced the two, left them together as she began teaching him the importance of documenting sources, recording and organizing his research, finding census, death and marriage records, birth records and even translating them in full for him for the next four hours. Just before closing, she rushes in to me saying, “This really is God’s work, I just found Rafael’s second great grandmother and she was born on March 12, 1890…. March 12th…. March 12th … Oh, my gosh!” “126 years ago exactly!”
At this point I testified that this was true and that our ancestor angels attended us as we worked on finding them in the records they left on earth. Both Rafael and Juanita found joy in their discoveries. She never got to read her microfilm, but she didn’t care.
Now, this was not the only sacred event that happened at the center. Another woman, Darlene, a non-member that I’d also met at water aerobics and helped her to get started on family history several months ago at the center, came in to look for immigration records for her Swedish line. She’d told me how she’d just gotten hooked on this new hobby and couldn’t stop doing it! She’d say to her husband, “Just a minute, just one more thing, and an hour later….” I know the feeling. “It’s addictive, she said.” Yes, I know, and had previously told her about the Spirit of Elijah, and how that was the Holy Ghost testifying of the divinity of the family. She is planning a trip to Sweden in August with her son to go see their ancestor’s church and homeland!
I sat her at a computer, next to another non-member patron, John, who never puts anything into FamilySearch but is an engineer who methodically has documented his family including sending away for naturalization records…via snail mail and ordering microfilms. I asked John if he would help Darlene find some immigration records. Four hours later, they were both so excited at having found what she was looking for and more. I apologized to John that he didn’t get to do much of his own work and he said, “Actually at the last minute I found a record that I’d spent years searching for. It was just right there!!!!” I testified to him that this was a reward for the generous help he gave Darlene, and that God was indeed helping them both! Both were uplifted and edified.
I shared both these stories with the other volunteer workers testifying of the power of prayer in this work. And I “speak with the tongue of angels,” again to you, that I know if we pray diligently for patrons to come into the center, they WILL come. God prompts them to come, then prompts others who can help them to come. We are a Center for feeling the Holy Ghost as powerful as when missionaries testify in the homes of members and investigators.
So missionaries, bring your investigators to the local FamilySearch Center. Arrange for special hours to visit with the Center director, if regular hours aren’t convenient. Listen to the promptings and include members who can help, youth who can help, to come at the same time. God will work miracles for you, too. It is all part of the Plan of Salvation and angels will assist.
With all my love,