20951_000_018Before she could receive the blessings of the temple, I first had to find her.
After months of preparation, the day finally arrived. While I sat in the baptistery awaiting my turn, excitement overcame me as I realized how long Maren, who died nearly 200 years ago, had anticipated this day. It was her day of baptism, and I had the inspiring opportunity of performing the ordinance in her behalf.
Maren Christensdatter became a special person to me because of a Young Women project. The first time I encountered her name was at our stake Family History Center. I was searching through computer files for family names to prepare for temple ordinance work. After having gone through a few family lines with no success, I decided to check the line of my great-grandmother who had recently passed away. To my surprise, I actually found one female name for whom no temple work had been done—my great-great-great-grandmother, Maren Christensdatter.
Over the next few weeks, my Mia Maid class returned to the Family History Center several times to complete our work. We then had to enter the names, along with other information, into a file and submit them so temple cards could be prepared.
Doing baptisms for the dead is always a spiritual experience. But when you do it for your own ancestor, whose name you have found and prepared yourself, it becomes incredibly personal and satisfying. As the young women from our ward entered the baptistery room at the temple that day, I could feel a special spirit there.
And when I was baptized by proxy for Maren, I felt a closeness to her, even though I had never met her. It was an awesome experience to give her this most priceless gift, the opportunity to become a member of the Church.