“A Way to Serve,” Ensign, Apr. 1997, 68–69
A Way to Serve
Maurine Ernstrom was the mother of four children and active in many Church and community activities when she developed crippling rheumatoid arthritis. Over the subsequent 35 years, her ability to perform normal daily tasks has progressively declined.
About a year ago her husband, Anthon, attended a stake leader’s introductory discussion about the Church’s family record extraction program.
“My husband volunteered me without asking,” Maurine recalls. “I didn’t want to touch the computer—I didn’t even want to dust it! My husband said, ‘Come and just sit down and try it.’ But with my fingers as disfigured as they are, it was a disaster. I thought, Well, that lets me out of it.”
When Maurine told her neighbor about her inability to use the computer, the neighbor suggested she try using a pencil to punch the keys. “That was sheer inspiration,” Maurine says. “I tried it, and it worked. I’m happy with the job. It’s wonderful to have something useful to do.”
Maurine admits that she’s not quick on the keyboard, but she averages about two hours a day entering vital records information. She has been able to complete batches of death and marriage records. Each batch usually contains from 1,000 to 1,500 records.
“I feel this is a fulfillment of a promise in my patriarchal blessing that in my declining years I would be called to do some responsible things,” Maurine says. She is a member of the River Heights Third Ward, Providence Utah Stake.—Gayle L. Brackner, River Heights, Utah