Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Miracle of Family History

This week I have discovered a whole new love for Family History. I have always loved hearing about my ancestors ever since I was a child. I remember when I was growing up, Dad would always share a story with us about our ancestors. Or whenever we traveled to Grandma and Grandpa Slade's, Dad would always share a story he remembered about Great Grandma and Grandpa. I have come to really appreciate the name "Slade" from learning so much about my ancestors. The more I learn about the leadership and courage that ran through my family blood, the more I wanted to find out about other ancestors I had not heard of. My passion for Family History started at a young age. Whether it was listening to Dad tell stories, or getting dirty on road trips from finding their graves I always loved the adventures that came from learning about my descendants. Whenever Dad would tell a particularly funny story about one of our descendants, my ear would zone in. Particularly that of one of my Great Grandfathers William Rufus Slade. I always enjoyed his story so much because it involved a young 16 year old boy being bored to death in his school class, throwing a book at his teacher, and jumping out of the window to run  away from home. Once he was away from home long enough, he changed his last name to his mothers maiden name. This name happened to be Slade. Our records never indicated why he ran away from home which is why I thought it was a random funny story. What crazy kid throws a book at his teacher for no reason and runs away?

Ok, by now you should be asking yourself "Why is she rambling on about a bunch of dusty old books?" First I had to express my appreciation for the work. And now, I will explain why it is so incredible. This last week my new companion and I had the opportunity to visit a family from our branch. I love this family to pieces! They are absolutely hysterical and I always feel so at home when I am around them. We don't usually have the opportunity to go over much because their daughter is a pro golfer (practically) and has golfing tournaments on the weekends. Anways, in a previous visit prior to this one I was talking to Mrs. F. when she points out that she has some "Slade's" in her family. I told her that it would be really neat if we were related but that in reality crazy grandpa Rufus went insane and changed his name to "Slade." A little disappointed  from our visit Mrs. F. went to tell her mother (who loves family history) that they had a Sister Slade in their branch. Her mother was surprised and said, "Well we are probably related!" In a saddened voice Mrs. F. responded to her mother saying, "Probably not. She is actually a Slocum." Her mother, having done some Family History lately, informed her that they were related to Slocum's as well and began to give the account of my Great Grandfather. When we returned in three weeks to see Mrs. F. and her family she was overjoyed to tell me that we were distant cousins. I was overjoyed to learn that the family connection was that strong. No wonder I felt so comfortable in that house! Looking at how all of these events unfolded made me really gain an appreciation for Family History. If I hadn't paid attention to those stories as a kid then I never would have brought it up in the lesson with our member. I am thankful to my Dad for sharing these stories with me that helped me prepare for this moment in time. Only God would know that out of all the missionaries in the world I would be called to North Carolina, where I would be called to the Pittsboro branch specifically to find my cousin. It is a miracle, and it is no coincidence! God put's us in places for a reason. Sometimes it is for the person we are serving, and sometimes it is to learn something from someone who is meant to touch our heart. God is good, and he is all knowing. I am grateful to my God for giving me the opportunity to meet such incredible people in North Carolina. And for reassuring me that this is where He needs me for His work. We all have a purpose. Alma 37:6 "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass..." 

I add my testimony to that of Alma that by small things great things are brought to pass. The Lord is using us as instruments in His work if we will let Him. Whether it be good or bad descendants, we can always learn something from the past. Learning about my family name and the history behind it has made me want to be a better person. It has made me want to live up to those great names that have come before me. If it be bad, it has made me want to strive harder to follow my savior and to learn from the mistakes that they have made. I feel a part of something bigger, and it helps me to feel close to those who have passed on. I believe we do Family History mainly for those who have passed on to have the opportunity to accept the Gospel in the next life. But also, so that we can become close to who they were as a person. So that we can recognize them when they are around to comfort us.

Lovetta Linea Anderson (my Great Grandmother)
William Rufus Slocum aka "Slade" ( my 4th Great Grandfather)