Youth FamilySearch Challenge Brings Ordinance Blessings to Ancestors
Contributed by Ann Bernhardt and Quincy Hansen of the Taber Alberta Stake
In the 2011 October General Conference, Elder David A. Bednar spoke about Family History work and challenged the youth to get involved. He said, “I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead (D&C 124:28–36). And I urge you to help other people identify their family histories.”
This challenge, by an apostle of God, was taken seriously by the youth of the Taber 2nd Ward, in Taber, Alberta. The young women and men of this ward planned youth night activities to learn more about how to use FamilySearch and find names of their ancestors. They also scheduled temple trips to the nearby Cardston temple, where they took the names they had found and did the necessary ordinances for those names.
Michelle Olsen, a Laurel, started searching her family history with the help of her older sister. She said, “It is an awesome feeling when you find a name that needs ordinances performed in the temple. You get so excited and feel like you have found a long lost friend.”
Quincy Hansen, a Mia Maid, chose to take this family history challenge even farther. She made it the centre of one of her Young Women projects. “I did a personal progress goal of learning to do family history with my aunt’s help. I prepared names to take to the temple and then I performed the ordinances for those I could. My grandma was the only member in her family, so her other descendants and I are the ones who need to do the work. On my other side, the work is largely being done due to more members and generations. I have loved the feeling I get as I look through my family tree and try to make things right. When I reserve an ordinance, I get so excited that this person can finally have their work done. This is the Spirit of Elijah and something that I hope we can all feel more in our lives. The feeling I get and the joy I have is something I don't want to stop. This is a project that doesn't end after 10 hours. It is something I will do for the rest of my life and hope more of my family can do it with me.”
Elder Bednar also said, “As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase.”
This promise of Elder Bednar’s seems to be happening to Quincy as she heeds the call to pursue family history. “I recently got to go to the temple to do the baptisms for some of my ancestors. It was great to know that I was providing a service for them and that finally they can have those ordinances. After hundreds of years, they can finally embrace the gospel which I have been so blessed to have been born with. These people made me the person I am and gave me the opportunities I have. Enabling their work to be done is the only way I can think of to thank them for the many blessings I have.”