Serving Communities One Headstone At A Time
The lack of social gatherings and other side effects of the pandemic is also disrupting missionary work for the young missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in Bainville and Culbertson. They used to spend much of their week before COVID-19 teaching others about God and prophets, while performing 10 hours of community service. Under current conditions they are trying something different.
The president of the Dakota Mission, Scott L. Howell, a university administrator on leave from Brigham Young University, and a former sexton of a small cemetery and an amateur genealogist himself said, “I thought it would be helpful for our missionaries during this time of social distancing to get out in the fresh air and do something meaningful like take photos of headstones in cemeteries for genealogy purposes.”
One of the missionaries currently serving in Bainville, Elder Jared Peterson from Appleton Wisconsin said, “Taking pictures for Billion-Graves is a really good opportunity to help communities connect with their families wherever they live.” Currently, missionaries in the area have photographed thousands of headstones in the Bainville/Culbertson area and uploaded them to the BillionGraves website where other volunteers will transcribe the information so interested family and genealogists may electronically access the information and photo of the headstone from the comfort of their own homes.
If readers are aware of any small/ private cemeteries in the area that they would like photographed, they can contact the missionaries at 605-877-2761.