Across the world, youth in the Church are responding to the challenge Elder Neil L. Andersen’s gave to them at the RootsTech conference in February this year. He said, “My challenge for you is to prepare as many names for the temple as you perform baptisms in the temple.” In July, this challenge was extended worldwide with the launch of the webpage templechallenge.lds.org.
The challenge is broken into four simple steps:
- Accept the challenge.
- Find a family name.
- Go to the temple.
- Share with others.
As youth accept the challenge, they can share their experience with youth around the world on Facebook with the hashtag #TempleChallenge. Thousands of youth are committing to the challenge. They can go to the site and click I Accept. A counter on templechalleng.lds.org shows how many youth have already accepted the challenge. Many of these young people are sharing their experiences and posting them on the LDS.org website.
This is a great opportunity for your family history center to support the youth in their efforts. Be sure your staff is trained and ready to assist these youth in reserving and printing temple ordinance requests. Many of these young people are finding family temple work for their distant cousins. To provide greater youth support, please take some time to review the consultant webinar New Tools for Finding Our Cousins with your staff. The webinar teaches about descendancy research and the new tools available through FamilySearch for success in finding these cousins.
Increasing or changing center hours to accommodate youth schedules can increase access to the resources you offer. A center in Canada opens two hours before and after the Sunday block. This gives access to youth who travel to their building with parents who have early or late meetings. The same idea works on Mutual activity nights. Many centers are opening Sunday afternoons and evenings for youth and their families.
In the April 2014 general conference, Elder Quentin Cook said, ““Much of the heavy lifting in hastening the work of salvation for both the living and the dead will be done by you young people. If the youth in each ward will not only go to the temple and do baptisms for their dead but also work with their families and other ward members to provide the family names for the ordinance work they perform, both they and the Church will be greatly blessed.”
Youth are enthusiastic and eager to learn the process of finding family names. Let your ward and stake members know that your staff is ready and willing to help the youth. Lead the youth in following the process outlined in the webinar New Tools for Finding Our Cousins,and they can be successful! Promote your center as a place to learn the tools for success. The lives of your youth will be blessed, and you will find that your family history center is filled with enthusiasm for family history and temple work!