I love family history! When many people think of family history, the picture that immediately comes into their mind is of old people sitting in a dark, dusty room, turning microfilm readers for hours, reading through ancient, unreadable records. That's not the way I see family history. To me, it is exciting, riveting, and inspiring! I wanted to help my siblings to feel this excitement too, so as the school year was coming to an end, I had an idea.
I got my siblings together and we set a goal. We decided that we would index 25,000 names during the summer! Yes, it took a little bit of gentle coaxing and a lot of enthusiasm to get them on board, but eventually, we all were excited. As a reward for accomplishing this goal, we decided that we would go out to an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant at the end of the summer.
One of the keys to staying excited about something hard is to see your progress. So we took a really big piece of butcher paper, wrote "25000" in big bubble letters, and then divided the paper in 2500 squares. For every 10 names we indexed, we would get to color in one square.
As the end of summer approached, however, we began to realize that we were not going to accomplish our goal on time. In fact, we were very very very behind. So instead of trying to spend all of our time indexing and making it a burden, we decided to extend our deadline. We would get halfway by the end of the summer, and then continue to work on the goal. Unfortunately, the moment school started again, we all had significantly less time that we had previously had, and our progress slowed dramatically. But when New Year came around, we set it as one of our family's resolutions to finish our indexing goal.
As soon as school was out, we began indexing a lot. Yes, there were times when some of us were tired of indexing, but because there were so many of us working on it, we helped each other keep going. Our banner started to get more and more colorful. Just before the end of the summer, we finished our 25,000 names, and we went out to a restaurant to celebrate!
Since then, we have kept indexing, though not nearly as much as during this goal. Accomplishing this goal ended up being harder than we had originally supposed, but it was also really exciting. If ever we doubt whether it was a good way to spend our time and energy, all we have to do is to remember that every one of those 25,000 names was a real person who lived on this earth. Each of them had a real story and a real family. And each of them is loved by God - so much, in fact, that He sent His Son to prepare a way for them to return to live with Him. In a small way, our efforts have helped their descendants who are now living to find them, so that their Temple work can be done and all of God's blessings can be unlocked to them.
Now that is really exciting.