Sunday, September 1, 2013


Our mission has us working in the Los Angeles Family History Library Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Here is a summary of what we do each day:

  • Arrive at 8:45 for prayer meeting (except Tuesdays, when we arrive earlier to help with a "deep cleaning" of the library). Someone gives a thought, we review the scheduled visits by groups for the day, discuss any issues, and have a prayer.
  • Next we check our assignments. Mary and I are assigned mostly to the "help desk" or to "help," meaning to be aware of people who need help or to consult with people as they come in. Mary is sometimes assigned the cash register (The center charges for copies, thumb drives, and registration for classes) or reception. The receptionist answers the phone and counts people who come in, determining whether they are non-members (visitors) or if they are members of the Church. If so they are asked what stake they are in. We also note if this is their first time in the library. All of this is recorded. We both have been assigned to the film desk where we help people with microfilm, including helping with scanning a few frames.
  • Helping people is very rewarding. Max thinks it's fun. We have people who don't know anything about family history and others who know nothing about using a computer, and a few who know nothing about either. Others come with various levels of skills and experience. Some need no help at all. Yesterday Max helped a couple whose daughter was at the temple doing baptisms. The wife knew only a little about her grandparents and wanted to know more. He helped her get into FamilySearch. She was shown how to do records searches and found her grandparents in the census. She was thrilled. Max also helped a mother and daughter from Peru get the mother's sister's name for the temple and showed a brother how to find work to be done and to get cards printed. Mary has had similar experiences, for example, helping a sister who attended our ward today get names for the temple. When she saw Mary in church today she hugged her and said that she and her husband had done all the work this week, except for one endowment.
  • Max is part of a team of people working on getting the books in the library that belong to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Southern California into the the Family History Library. Cataloging is something he hasn't done for many years, but he is the only one on the team who has done it for before the mission. We use the Church History Library's web-based catalog system. This is part of a larger project to identify and catalog the books in all family history centers, so we get instruction from the catalogers in Salt Lake City. This is what he does when not "helping."
  • We both work on our own family lines when we are not otherwise busy. Max and Mary are both finding sources for their ancestors and adding them to the family tree. Mary is extending her line by searching for additional sources, either online or on microfilm. She was able to search the microfilms for St Peter's Church in Wolverhampton because the films are in the cabinets in our library here in Los Angeles.
We have been praying for the ability to be better helpers and to extend our own lines. We believe our prayers are being answered.

We usually have lunch around noon for forty-five minutes, unless we are in the middle of helping. Sometimes we take a sack lunch or on other days we walk back to the apartment for lunch. Evenings are free to do what we want. This week, as last week, we went to the temple one night. We also went to the Hammer Museum of UCLA one night and saw beautiful art by some of the European masters and a great exhibit of the work of A.Quincy Jones, an LA architect who helped create a local style. We went to the public library branch one night and signed up for a library card. And we sometimes do P-day stuff in the evenings so we have more time on Monday. We went to the grocery store last night and did our laundry here in the apartment building one other evening. We also enjoy cooking together.

Our mornings are settling into a routine. We arise and say our individual prayers; then Max goes for a brisk walk and then reads the scriptures. Meanwhile Mary showers and gets ready for the day. We have breakfast together, then Mary reads while Max showers and dresses. We have prayer together, then walk to the library. We also study together Preach my Gospel at night and read and study the scriptures associated with its lessons. Sometimes we do "tai chi" in the morning and sometimes at night.

We attend the Westwood first ward that meets here on Temple Hill from 10:20 to 1:20. Tomorrow we are going with Elder and Sister Livingston to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley. It's outside of the mission, so President Weidmann gave his permission. Last Monday P-day we went to Santa Monica and walked on the beach.
Amusement Park, Santa Monica Beach

Mary on the board walk, Santa Monica Beach

Pacific Ocean waves, Santa Monica Beach

We are having a wonderful time together and enjoying our mission.

We love you all and miss you.

Mary and Max