Family History Unites Families
Yael B., Argentina
Illustrations by David Habben
I came across a Personal Progress goal that motivated me to get started on my family tree. Whenever I went to my grandparents’ for lunch, they told me stories from their lives and from those of my other relatives. I began going to the family history center and gathering information about my family.
I remember when I found information about my great-great-grandmother. She had been just a name until I found her name in a record. While pregnant, she came to Argentina on a ship. During the voyage, she buried her son at sea.
Through my research, I became even closer to my grandparents, and I came to know my ancestors as if I had lived with them. I found information about my ancestors, shared the glad tidings of eternal sealing, and helped bless many generations.
I continue to discover hidden treasures thanks to FamilySearch.org. I love what President Thomas S. Monson said: “I testify that when we do all we can to accomplish the work that is before us, the Lord will make available to us the sacred key needed to unlock the treasure which we so much seek” (“The Key of Faith,” Ensign, Feb. 1994, 5). Through our efforts, we will discover the keys to our eternal treasure, and one day we will be able to meet our ancestors in person.
Praying for Peace
Joseph G., Kentucky, USA
A couple of months ago, I was going through a rough time and felt that my life was falling apart. I’d been told many times that our trials make us stronger, but remembering that didn’t take away my pain. After one particularly rough day at high school and a stressful evening, I felt alone. I was in the midst of despair, and I couldn’t see a way to overcome what I was feeling. Then I had an overwhelming desire to pray. I resisted at first—that solution seemed too easy to bring the peace I was seeking—but then I changed my mind. I prayed for comfort and for the strength to rise above my trials. As I did so, my pain and grief were taken away and were replaced by an overwhelming, all-encompassing feeling of peace and joy.
I rarely cry, but that day I wept. That was the moment I really understood that I am a child of God and felt how much I matter to Him. Now, every time I feel alone or am in pain, I pray. Sometimes the relief doesn’t come instantly, but it always comes. Prayer is how I withstand the teasing, temptations, and other hard things that sometimes come into my life. I’m so grateful to have the gospel in my life and to be a child of God.
Becoming the Ward Organist
Elaine N., Utah, USA
When I was 10 or 11, I started learning how to play hymns on the piano. I enjoyed playing the piano, and I really wanted to learn to play the organ too. Playing the organ would be so much fun!
My mother, who teaches me, told me that I could start learning to play the organ when I learned to play 100 hymns on the piano. That seemed like a big task, but I was driven to succeed. At first, I learned a hymn once every few weeks, but eventually I got to the point where I would learn two each week. The number of hymns kept growing.
The summer that I learned my 100th hymn, my mother organized a small group of students and taught us all to play the organ. Learning the organ took a lot of practice.
At the end of the summer, the first counselor in the bishopric pulled me aside during a bishopric youth discussion. “Our ward needs a new organist,” he said. “The bishopric has discussed this, and we would like to call you as ward organist.” I felt the blood draining from my face, but I nodded.
My first time playing the organ during sacrament meeting was terrifying. I arrived early to play the prelude music. I played the opening hymn, which went rather well; there were only a few jarring notes. As I played, I had to be careful to watch the chorister, press the keys with my hands, and use my feet on the bass pedals. Between the opening hymn and the sacrament hymn, I was very nervous. But when I played the soft and sweet notes of “How Great the Wisdom and the Love” (Hymns, no. 195), I felt the Spirit fill me with joy and peace.