I Found My Ancestors


When I attended stake conference that morning in March 1993, I had no idea how much my life—and the lives of my ancestors—would be affected.

Along with other members of the Brazil Santos Stake, I was enjoying the conference. Then, near the end of the meeting, a sister’s talk especially stirred something within me. She spoke about family history work.

My friend, Silmara Peres, was also strongly moved by the Spirit. At the end of the meeting, we approached one of the people responsible for family history work in our stake and volunteered to help with the family records extraction program.

The following Tuesday, the two of us went to the stake building to begin our new assignment. After we received our training, we began the work of extracting names and dates from microfilmed records so that the saving ordinances of the gospel could be performed in the temple for the people listed in the records.

Someone else was there working on a roll of microfilm. He graciously let us continue the roll he was working on, so that we could get started immediately.

We had just begun—we had extracted only two names—when I found myself reading the names of my great-grandparents! At first I was doubtful. Could this be a coincidence? We asked the supervisor what city these microfilmed records had come from. Noticing our excitement, she returned the microfilm to the beginning, where it showed the name of the town: Itirapina.

Silmara and I looked at each other in amazement. During a recent vacation with our bishop and his family, we had visited Itirapina. I had wanted to see the town because it was the place my father had come from. Now, as we looked at the names and dates on the microfilm, we knew that we really had found my ancestors! I was overcome with emotion, gratitude, and testimony. Now temple work could be done for them.

Since then, Silmara and I have continued to make this work a part of our lives, and our testimonies have increased. Every week we go to the stake building and give this service. As we extract names from the microfilms, we know that we are serving the Lord, for now these people can also be baptized and receive temple ordinances.

We are finding that this is not only a service—it is a blessing.

[illustration] Illustrated by Scott Snow