Summarized by Jennifer Livingston
LDS Missionaries Display Great Commitment
Baltimore MD Sun 31Mar00 D1
By Heather Tepe: Special To The Sun
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND -- At 19, Steven Lundberg served a 2 1/2-year
mission in Germany for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. At 55, Lundberg is now a colonel stationed in Adelphi at the
Army Research Laboratory. He serves as bishop of the
Catonsville/Ellicott City ward, one of three wards that meet at the
church building in Ellicott City. Together, membership in these three
wards totals 1,400.
Young Latter-day Saint men 19 years of age are eligible to serve
two-year missions. Women in the church may serve for a period of 18
months upon turning 21. Married couples, usually retired, are also
much needed in the mission field and perform a variety of services.
Natives of Idaho, Roma and Harrison Barrus came to Howard County to
serve for a period of one year. Sister Barrus, who works in the
mission office, has a special perspective of missionary work. She
commented that missionaries serve far from home, whether it be in
another state or another country. "It's a great commitment. They
get up at 6: 30 in the morning. From 9:30 in the morning to 9:30 at
night, they proselytize. They learn dedication and learn how to work
and focus on what they're supposed to focus on."
Columbia Stake President Brent Bargeron further commented, "Their
general charge is to strengthen the church. They teach about the
church and teach the Gospel. They also have a responsibility to serve
in the community."
Latter-day Saints are also greatly interested in personal genealogy
research. President Bargeron informed that the LDS Church has the
most extensive genealogy resources in the world. "The apostle Paul
said that we would not be saved without our ancestors, so we need to
be involved in knowing who they are and identifying them," he said.
In LDS temples, ordinances are performed vicariously for the
ancestors of temple patrons.
"Families are forever," Bishop Lundberg said. "We believe that
families and their ancestors will have a continuing relationship as
families in the next life."
The Family History Center is available for public use. Resources at
the center are excellent and include books on family genealogy
research, microfilm and microfiche readers, and computers with access
to the LDS genealogical database. The center is staffed by 30
volunteers, half of whom are not members of the Church. "It's an
invaluable resource for anyone interested in their family history,"
added Dottie Aleshire, a member of the Howard County Genealogical
Society and Family History Center volunteer. "There's no other
facility to compare to this."