Latter-day Saint Life

Ever since I was a busy doctoral student, this is how I bring God's power into my life

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Service and sacrifice don’t have to involve significant amounts of time to make an impact. Followers of Christ can reap the blessings of sacrifice by giving any time they have to offer.
Davids C/ -

While pursuing a doctoral degree, I found myself easily distracted by indexing. Before getting to work on a paper or an assignment, I would sign in to FamilySearch and index at least 10 records. Sometimes it was more like 20, 30, or even 50. I guess I didn’t feel guilty procrastinating my homework by doing it.

After indexing, I would begin to work on whatever I originally sat down to do, and I was always able to finish my assignments and papers. I felt God’s power to help me with my schoolwork and other areas of my life by devoting some time to family history work.

In an effort to experience that power again, I recently reevaluated how I serve. I knew that God would bless me for my efforts, no matter how small, so I set some goals around temple and family history work.

At first, this felt like a sacrifice. My schedule was already tight with managing a full-time teaching load, a busy calling, and professional responsibilities, as well as helping my family where I was needed. I found myself thinking, “I don’t have time for temple and family history work.”

But, when I really evaluated my schedule, I realized that my calendar had never been as full or as busy as it was when I was a student on top of all of those things. Even then, I consistently made time to index.

I looked closer at where I could carve out a few minutes here and there. I downloaded the “Get Involved” app and use it instead of mindlessly scrolling social media. I even review records on the app when I have trouble sleeping. When possible, I get up a little earlier on Saturday mornings and spend time at the temple. If I have less time, I do initiatory work instead of longer ordinances.

Not long after I had renewed my commitment to family history and temple work, I received an email from FamilySearch. It explained that a person whose name I had indexed in 2015 had been taken to the temple in 2022; my contributions had led to that person’s temple ordinances being completed. I was elated!

Not only had I received God’s power and felt the happiness that comes from keeping covenants, but also I learned that my contributions made it possible for someone else to receive the blessings of the temple. This news motivated me to continue to sacrifice my time to support temple and family history work.

While this name is the only one I’m aware of to date whose temple ordinances were completed as a result of my indexing, I have since discovered that four others had the source I indexed attached to their FamilySearch records. This helped me know that my efforts are making a difference and will continue to do so.

It was seven years from when I indexed the person’s name to when their temple ordinances were performed. The results are not immediate, and perhaps I’ll not know the end result in all cases, but knowing I made a difference for one is motivation enough to keep me going. It’s a win-win because I’m also reaping the blessings of God’s power in my life and a feeling of happiness.

Most of the time, we don’t know how our service helps others. In Mosiah 18:8–9, we learn about our baptismal covenant to be “willing to bear one another’s burdens that they may be light,” “mourn with those that mourn,” and “comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” Small and simple steps to help others can have far-reaching effects, and the intention behind the service is perhaps more important than the amount of time it takes.

I learned this firsthand when my sweet infant nephew passed away recently. Many people blessed my life in a big way by mourning with me in small ways. For some, it was a quick text, and for others, it was a phone call, a personal visit, a handwritten note, a thoughtful gift, or a mention of my family in their personal prayers.

These things often didn’t require significant time, but I felt lifted and comforted during an incredibly difficult season because of their efforts. I’m overwhelmed when I stop to contemplate their outpouring of love as they helped me bear my burden and made it feel lighter.

In his talk, “Do You Want to Be Happy?” Elder Yoon Hwan Choi of the Seventy said, “As we yoke ourselves to [Jesus Christ], we can do things we couldn’t do on our own because He can do the things we cannot do for ourselves.”

Christ magnifies all of our righteous efforts, even the smallest actions. Indexing seemed like a simple way to spend my time, but it has become a powerful way to grow closer to my Savior and show that I want to stand by Him. Even when I can’t devote as much time as I’d like, I know He consecrates my service and brings added joy and power to my life.

▶ You may also like: What we may be misunderstanding about the Savior’s command to ‘take my yoke upon you’

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