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{LDS How-to} Help the Church in 5 Minutes

SarahJo Ciotti - October 20, 2011

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In addition to the many traditional ways of providing service within the church, through callings, service projects, or setting up tables and putting them away, the Church now offers several opportunities to serve that can easily be managed in a short time frame and from the comfort of your home.

You can take five minutes from your day to visit Helping in the Vineyard (vineyard.lds.org) to apply your skills and talents to a greater cause. This official Church website for online service provides opportunities we can accomplish from our homes or offices for five minutes or however long we have to devote.
And with a variety of opportunities that are constantly updated, you can find something that perfectly suits your interests and abilities. Here are some of the ways you can serve right now:

1. Translation. One of the projects the website features is translating English documents into 31 different languages. Whether you’ve studied languages, gone on a foreign-speaking mission, or English is your second language, you will find several opportunities to use these skills to help the Church provide magazines, manuals, and other works to countries that would otherwise have to wait a much longer time to get the information translated in their language. If you know another language but do not feel comfortable translating, you can still help by voting on the translations. Volunteers right now are working on the Teachings of the Living Prophets institute manual that will encourage more people worldwide to listen and follow the words of the living prophets.

2. Document comparison. Don’t speak another language? Don’t worry about it. There are still many more activities to choose from. You can assist by comparing text from an original document to the online version, identifying page breaks, and paragraph matching. Each of these activities has an easy-to-follow how-to video that explains the steps you take. By making sure the information is correct and double checking the articles, publication of these works is able to continue at an increased speed. This feature will be available soon, and in the meantime, there are still plenty of other options to participate in.

3. Indexing. The Vineyard also connects the user to the Church’s indexing program as a free download. This quick and easy activity allows you to preserve and register important genealogical information into the Church database so others can more readily view and use information about their ancestors. This activity is simple and can be done while watching television, or in between other daily activities. This was my favorite activity out of the ones I tried out, and I was amazed at how simple it was to accomplish once I started. I think I’m an indexing addict now.

4. Photo reviews. Are you a photography nut? You can upload your own pictures to be used in church publications, blogs, and online searches. The website provides a list of images that they are looking for specifically with some suggestions on quality and demand for each category. Don’t have a camera? Pinterest addict? You can review pictures that already exist on the website and add search words to enable easy use.

These are just a few simple things available to do every day. Within each broad category, there are multiple activities to choose from, so check the site out even if one of these doesn't tickle your fancy. And since the website updates regularly with new opportunities and activities, you don't have to worry about getting bored. Whether you have two minutes, half an hour, or an afternoon to devote, the Church can use your help. The most important service comes from a simple thing: a smile, a word of appreciation, or five minutes. All of these things are manageable no matter your schedule.

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SarahJo Ciotti works two jobs (one of which is interning for LDS Living), rides a tiger-striped bike, and doesn’t have time to do laundry.

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