Personal Progress on My Family Tree

By Raisa Marcondes

The author lives in Manaus, Brazil.

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My brother and I are the only members of my family in the Church—at least that’s what I thought before beginning my family history work.

family tree

Illustration by Jim Madsen

I had always procrastinated doing my genealogy. But my desire to serve a mission led me to set goals to help prepare myself to be a better missionary. With the help of an inspired bishop, I decided to begin working on Personal Progress. In order to accomplish certain goals and good works projects, I needed to become involved in genealogy. So I went to work.

I know the Spirit guided me, because one Sunday night, after only three hours of work, something amazing happened.

As soon as I began, I remembered that my great-great-grandfather had been the governor of the state of Amazonas, Brazil. So I typed his name into an online search engine, and to my surprise, I found a Wikipedia page about both my great-great-grandfather and my great-great-grandmother! I immediately recognized in them talents and gifts I have, and emotion began to well up inside me. But there was still much more to discover.

Looking through the links on the page, I noticed one of them said “family tree.” I clicked on it, and I found branches of my family I’d had no idea even existed. But what most caught my attention was the name of my great-aunt, Rosalina Meireles, who apparently lived in Utah, USA.

I was astonished. I thought only my brother and I were members of the Church. Could there really be other Church members in my family? When I clicked on her name, I saw a link to a Facebook page, so I contacted her. Within two days I received a message from her, confirming that we were related and that she too was a member of the Church.

I felt immensely grateful to Heavenly Father for allowing me to feel such great joy as I felt in that moment.

I continued searching for my deceased ancestors, and Heavenly Father blessed me with so many family names that I could take to the temple. But He also helped me find living family members who are faithful in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And I owe it all to Personal Progress, family history work, and my desire to serve a mission.