Thursday, February 21, 2013

Temple and Genealogy

By Debi

Debi is at the Stake Center on the second floor-temple in background
Genealogy, we are doing it!  Remember that Primary song.  Every time I start doing genealogy I sing that song in my head.

Greg and I have had a little down time while we are waiting for the audits to start coming in for the year end of 2012. 

We decided that we are missionaries to the living and to the dead.  We have spent the last two weeks working on our family genealogy.

The Church has a new program that is awesome. It is called Family Tree.  If you go on to the Family Search site, you can then go to the new Family Tree program.  The years of frustrating experiences of trying to straighten out all of the duplicates and mistakes are over.  This new program allows for editing of a family’s duplicates and inaccurate information.  It has been fun and exciting but also very addictive.  Once we start it is hard to stop for lunch or for the day. 

The very exciting experience we have had is that we have actual been able to find a few names on our family tree that need their temple work to be completed.  We are so thankful to be able to do the work for some of our ancestors.

Yesterday, Greg and I went to the Temple and he baptized me for four of my ancestors and 6 of his.  It was a very special experience.  I then went and did some of the other Temple work for Rebecca Ann Haws.  We have finally got the genealogy bug and we are happy about it.  I think it will be awesome that when someone sees where these people’s work was done it will say the Ghana Accra Temple!

When I was a young mother and I would hear all of the conference talks about doing genealogy and helping our kindred dead I always felt guilty.  I talked to my mom one day and she wisely told me during that time of my life I was doing the important work for the living, raising a family.  She told me that there is a time and a season for everything and there would be a time in my life that I would be able to do genealogy.  Well, the time is now and I am so thankful for this opportunity.  I hope my mom, who was a very dedicated genealogist for 40 years, would be proud of my first efforts. I can still see my mother in my mind’s eye sitting up late at night with all of her long family pedigree sheets spread out on the kitchen table.  As I have scrolled down the list of family names and looked at their temple work all finished with dates in the Ogden Temple I know that it is my mother’s work.  I have felt my mother’s love and dedication as I have followed her trial of work that she accomplished over the years.  I am sure that her family will always be grateful to her for her hard work and loving devotion.  Thanks to my mother for her example.

Genealogy, I am doing it! 


By Greg:

We are studying the life of Lorenzo Snow this year in Priesthood and Relief Society.  I have done significant research on this great man.  In the early 1870s he went with a small group of people on a world trip that took them to Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle-east.  I have even thought about retracing their steps someday.  They published their letters (his sister Eliza R. Snow also was in the group and was quite the writer) in a book called Correspondence from the Palestine Tourists. One of the interesting things is that President Snow later was the President of the Salt Lake Temple and also the President of the Church.  I understand that he actually had an apartment in the Temple.

Well, other than President Snow, I don’t think there are many people who live or have lived closer to a temple than we have here in Ghana.  We live just a few hundred feet from the Accra Ghana Temple.

When I was a new missionary in Alabama-Florida, in 1971 to 1973, the Church had just announced and was building the Ogden Temple.  The folks down South were not that happy that another Utah temple was being built while they needed one.  When the Washington D.C. temple was announced, they were very happy.

All my adult life I have been just a bit more than 10 miles from a temple; now, just a few hundred feet.

People from all over West Africa come here.  The Church has built a hotel type building, called the Ancillary Building.  They have many apartments, which is where we live (even though we are temporarily living off campus while repairs are being made—but we will return in a few weeks).  Also, there are lots of rooms that have many bunk beds.  There is a common restroom and laundry on each floor, and there is a big lunch room where the people can make their food and eat it.  This is where a lot of the smells come from as they cook up whatever they are going to eat.

The groups come in waves.  They come on buses.  They travel day and night and they have to carry their own food.  When they arrive they are tired, hungry and sometimes really dirty.  They want to go to the temple so much that most clean up as best they can and go right to the temple.  Others arrive the night before and get up early and clean their clothes and themselves and then go to the temple.

We usually go to a temple session on Fridays at 4:30 and stay for a sealing session at 6:30. Usually, one of the Area Presidency presides.  This is mainly for the Area Missionary couples.  The names have always been provided by the Senior Couples.

As Debi said, we have had some down time. I decided, after looking at the family tree program, to perform an “audit” of my family tree. I have worksheets, diagrams, and flowcharts.  I am combining families, deleting duplicates and joining people together that I hope really want to be together.  It is like a major jigsaw puzzle.  This is right up my alley.

We have a saying that we use when we train priesthood leaders about records.  “If it is not recorded, it did not happen!”  This is true in family history.  If there is no record of an ordinance, then we must do it, or it did not happen.  Unfortunately, much duplication has and will continue to occur.  But, hopefully, with the work we are doing, much of the duplication will come to an end and real family history research will continue to occur.

As I said, some of the people come to the temple without the benefit of being able to cleanup properly.  In the baptism area, we noted that there are showers available.  We followed a large group from Abomosu and the water was a little cloudy.  Debi almost went and got her pool test slips to test the water.

We were told something kind of funny.  The temple is carefully monitored by Church headquarters.  Of course, they do not want to deviate from the approved plan.  But, given the local condition, they wanted to provide a foot washing area near the baptismal font.  The people here have dirty feet, and many come needing a foot wash.  Well, washing feet may have another meaning to some, so it took a meeting or two in Salt Lake before they agreed to allow the Accra Ghana Temple to put out some tubs with soap and water. 

We are traveling tomorrow to the last two countries we have not visited, Benin and Togo.  We will have more to report next week.

I am sure that we are all cousins.  Especially after looking up the family tree.  So cousin, be happy and visit a temple.
P.S.  Directions to the Area Office and Temple from the Airport.  Exit the Airport going west until you reach Independence Avenue.  Turn left at the intersection/light and travel south until you cross the Ako Adjei exchange.  This is the intersection of Ring Road and Independence.  This is a three level intersection, the middle level is a round-about.  You will be on the top, just keep going. The Temple is ahead on the right, just after the Barclay sign.

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