The Joy in Seeing Others Give

by Lyndie Jackson

My life is blessed and touched witnessing the willingness of so many people to volunteer time, resources, and energy to bring about this great work,” says Karla Briggs. As a volunteer herself, and the volunteer coordinator for the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project, Karla works hard to match volunteers with assignments and positions that line up with their experience and skills. She has found joy in seeing others give to such a meaningful project.

Karla became involved in the Project through her association with Jason Kotter, one of the Board members leading the Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation. Karla discussed the work being done with Executive Director Jennifer Mackley, and she was able to gain a portion of the passion Jennifer has for the Project and what can be learned from Wilford Woodruff’s records. That was what led her to volunteer for the Foundation.

As she works to help volunteers find tasks that they will enjoy, she is able to see the blessings of working on the Project through the experiences of those volunteers. “I love hearing about the tender mercies and insights that come to those transcribing and volunteering in other areas of the Papers.”

Contact with volunteers has allowed Karla to make small changes in her own life to be able to impact others. She says, “My friend shared her experience of being stuck in family history with a certain ancestor. The answer came in one of Wilford’s letters. Wilford recorded the first and last name of this sister’s ancestor when he wrote about an experience she had, which provided the clue the family needed to trace their line. This has impacted my journal writing to take the time to include the last names of individuals I interact with.”

More than anything, Karla has gained an appreciation for Wilford Woodruff’s inspired record keeping for more than 40 years. Seeing the Project progress has given her more energy and motivation as she strengthens her own testimony of Jesus Christ. 

In fact, the Project has found its way into Karla’s life in a very personal way. She notes, “I find if I wake up before my alarm goes off in the morning, it's a reminder I need to see if something has appeared in my to-do list. What a tender mercy to feel the promptings of the Spirit in this work.”

One of the best parts of working and volunteering with the Wilford Woodruff Papers is being able to involve the Spirit. If you or anyone you know would be interested in donating time to the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project, Karla Briggs will be more than happy to find the right place for you! Find out more about current volunteer opportunities here.