New Zealand stake indexes 1.1 million records — thanks to help from youth 'Indexathon'

Inspired by President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to gather Israel, Latter-day Saints in the Christchurch New Zealand Stake set an ambitious indexing goal for 2021. 

When they reached their goal of 250,000 records in May, they set a higher goal of 1 million — and turned to the youth for help.  

Christchurch Stake President Uliki Moea Pongia counseled with youth leaders and together they planned an “Indexathon” — a cross between a marathon and indexing — to take place during the Tokyo Olympics, according to a release on the Church’s Pacific Newsroom.

During a two-week period, youth were invited to index as many names as they could. They met online for an opening ceremony, to check the leaderboard and receive regular updates and encouragement from their leaders.

Youth indexed close to 300,000 names during the Indexathon. The stake has amassed 1.1 million to date. Those who participated reported a strengthening of their testimonies, feeling the Spirit more and building a sense of community with others from their stake.

“Every stake president's prayer and hope is for the next generation to have a strong foundation in the Lord Jesus Christ and to have opportunities to strengthen their testimonies of the gospel and know they are loved,” President Pongia said in the news release. 

Elder Ian S. Ardern, a General Authority Seventy and president of the Pacific Area, virtually attended an event on Nov. 7 recognizing the indexing efforts of the youth. 

“I know there are many, on both sides of the veil,” Elder Ardern said, “who will benefit from the tremendous work done by those who participated in the Indexathon. In a very real way, the participants have made it possible for thousands to receive essential ordinances.”

Tevita Tu’itupou, a youth participant from the Cashmere Ward, said: “I felt good because I knew I was doing a good work to help others who had already passed through the veil. I also felt the Spirit cheer me on my journey through indexing.”

Sarah Ormsbya of the Mona Vale Ward learned that working as a group with a common goal was a strong motivation to do indexing. “It strengthened our testimonies and our relationships,” she said.

Related Stories
Interested in serving a family history mission or volunteering? Check out these updated FamilySearch resources
A look at how computer-assisted indexing is unlocking records on FamilySearch for people worldwide
How a Chinese-speaking ward in Utah found dozens of family names last month to take to the temple
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed