Family History

Family History – App Created to organize and share mission experiences also aids family history work

At the BYU Women’s Conference in Provo (from left to right) are Hailee Platt, Jane Tibbitts, David Wade, Kevin Wade, Callie Freshour, McKenna Milne and Jamie Armstrong. Front row seated are Ashtyn Heninger, Lexee Evans and Lynette Schloer. Photo courtesy of Kevin Wade.

At the BYU Women’s Conference in Provo (from left to right) are Hailee Platt, Jane Tibbitts, David Wade, Kevin Wade, Callie Freshour, McKenna Milne and Jamie Armstrong. Front row seated are Ashtyn Heninger, Lexee Evans and Lynette Schloer. Photo courtesy of Kevin Wade.

As reported in the April 2017 issue of the Beehive, the Gilbert-based company App Developers has created exciting new mobile apps that make organizing and sharing missionary information a breeze. (See “Award-winning, interactive displays bring missionary work to life” by Cecily Markland Condie.)

While CEO and founder Kevin Wade enjoys presenting the technology to local stakes, many of the events he has been invited to lately are family history-related. Surprisingly, the Called to Serve and Missionary Display apps have been recognized as powerful tools for gathering and saving the mission photos, letters, and journals of not only current missionaries, but their ancestors as well.

Brother Wade, of the Highland Ranch Ward, Mesa Boulder Creek Stake, describes the Called to Serve app as a ‘camera’ collecting and organizing the information. The Missionary Display app is like a ‘television,’ displaying the information for family groups to see.

He views a 2014 Facebook post by Elder Dallin H. Oaks as validation. Elder Oaks shared pictures of a world map that hangs in his office. He said, “This map…is one of my most prized possessions. It details all of the missions that my [family has] served. For me this map represents faith in the Lord, love of fellow man, and a family which has answered the call to serve.”

Similarly, the Missionary Display apps provide families with a virtual map of where everyone has served, and it’s literally at their fingertips on their phones. But it’s so much more.             “The really cool thing,” Brother Wade says, “is that people can use the app’s ‘voice to text’ feature to read in all of their old missionary letters.”

For example, he wrote 42 letters home while on his mission to Japan over 30 years ago. (He admits he wasn’t the best writer.) Instead of possibly spending two weeks transcribing, he dictated them into the app in about four hours.

“My phone can type faster than me and is an excellent speller.” His niece dictated his mother’s missionary journal in one day.

Without this technology, his parents’ mission mementos would still be in a shoebox gathering dust, and once passed down to one of the children might never be shared with anyone. Now families have the ability to digitize photos, stories, letters, and journals for all to enjoy.

Preserving treasured mission memories just got a lot easier, and will be accessible to generations for years to come as families create a legacy of missionary service to the Lord.

The free apps and can be found in any app store. Go to http://www.missionaryapps.com for more information.

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