Our Season of Service

Inspired by some friends of our family, the Marshall family has decided to try a new way of exchanging Christmas gifts in 2012. We hope it will become a wonderful family tradition.
For years, the four Marshall children, their spouses, and their parents exchanged gifts every Christmas, but in 2011, we decided the gift-giving tradition may need a change since we are all so blessed and in need of truly nothing. We decided we needed to find a better way to celebrate the true Christmas spirit.

We suggested that we each perform acts of service in the name of the sibling whose name we were assigned at random. Our service will be kept a secret until Christmas Day.

Our friend drew the names for us and notified each of us privately of the person who should inspire our service. On Christmas Day, we reveal who we were given and how we chose to serve by posting our stories on The Marshall Family Season of Service blog.

We hope this tradition will help us focus on serving our communities and each other during the annual celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

We invite you to come back to our blog on Christmas morning to read this year's service.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Dear Anthony,

As I set out to make my service goal for this year, I thought and prayed and struggled with finding the "right" project. Then as I was reading in an old Ensign magazine, I came across this information about FamilySearch.org,

We currently have a backlog of over 3 million images for active projects that need to be arbitrated. That’s 3 million images and their respective indexes that aren’t published on FamilySearch.org because they haven’t made it through arbitration. They could be published in a matter of days if they were all arbitrated today. It’s just a matter of having enough volunteers to do the work.

That information was from April 2012.  The current backlog is over 12 million now.  

The article continued, "How do we fix the backlog? Easy—we just need more arbitrators."

I felt called to help!  And I loved the idea of helping people find their ancestors. But considering I had only ever indexed a batch or two before and it had been years since I'd even done that, I certainly wasn't ready to be an arbitrator.  Experience indexing a variety of record types is the main requirement.  So this year I have worked on indexing so I can become an arbitrator.  Thousands of records and lots of hours later, I can finally say I'm experienced and ready to become an arbitrator!

A couple things about indexing I had previously read about and now have a strong testimony of, are that, indexing allows us to all help one another with our personal family history and also that the names I, and others, have submitted, are not just names...they are people!!  Those names are sons and daughters of God, many of whom are waiting to be found so they can enter into temple covenants and all of whom Heavenly Father wants to bless.  It has been a fun project to undertake and I have felt the promised blessings and spiritual protection from participating in the Spirit of Elijah.

Merry Christmas!


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