In Peru, one good FHC director’s personal efforts to inspire youth to participate in family history and indexing, has brought forth wonderful, even miraculous results.
Sister Maria Manrique of the Las Brisas ward, Magdalena stake, has always had a deep desire to make family history and indexing an integral part of the lives of the young men and women in her ward and stake. By inviting them individually to her home for family home evenings, and by extending the invitation to participate in indexing and family history work, sister Manrique has helped them come closer to their Savior.
Sister Manrique takes every opportunity she can to show the youth how to find ancestors, and how to make ancestral names available to others by way of indexing. The young men and women who have participated in home evenings have found great joy in this, and have been subsequently moved into action on behalf of their own ancestors, visiting the temple and taking their names for vicarious ordinances. They have also been inspired to teach others to “go and do likewise.”
Throughout 2014, several young men and women have participated in these very special family home evenings, accepting Magdalena center’s call to serve. This September, this exceptional group came together to share their testimonies and experiences in a Stake Youth conference. Aided by their bishop, Renato Arenas Schwarz, they recorded their testimonies and shared them with the rest of the stake in order to help others feel the Spirit of Elijah and accept the call to index, to go to the temple, and to share their experiences with others.
Patricio Arismendiz, a priest and family history consultant from the Las Brisas ward, shares how he was invited to contribute, and how that invitation has changed his everyday spiritual preparation. Patricio makes finding names (for his family and for others) a daily priority. “Sister Manrique had me over for a family home evening, and she told me that ‘by indexing one batch we would be saving souls, and we would be giving the Lord great joy. So imagine the Lord’s joy if we save many souls!’ Now, along with reading the scriptures for fifteen minutes every day, I make sure I do indexing for half an hour as a part of my daily routine.”
Antonella Cheves’, Assistant Family History Center Director for the Magdalena stake, shares her testimony, which has been strengthened as she has actively taken ancestral names to the temple. “I know that families can be together forever, and that we can help others find their ancestors so that they can come together as an eternal family.”
Ximena Gutierrez, a young woman in the Magdalena stake, tells of her experience being invited into Sister Manrique’s home, and how her life has been all the better for it. She has found tremendous joy in sharing her experiences with her own family. “I was invited to her family home evening, along with my sister. She explained the importance of indexing to us, and how to begin indexing. As I started participating, my love for my family began to grow, as well as my patience and kindness for each one. As I saw a change in my family, in my friends, and in myself, we started to participate less and less in things such as social networking and watching TV, and spent more time doing the Lord’s work.”
Sister Manrique’s family home evenings came as a response to a growing need that she perceived in the Magdalena Family History Center. “We saw that our youth weren’t coming to the center, much less indexing. So we decided to take the experience to them, by inviting them to family home evenings with my family.” She continues by sharing her desire to teach others to do their family history, something she wishes she could do on a full-time basis. “My testimony is so very strong, that sometimes I wish that I could spend my entire time doing this work; not only doing family history directly, but also teaching others to do the same.”
Bishop Arenas shares his feelings these inspiring words: “I testify that family history is one of the ways we have to hasten the work of salvation. Our youth are special sons and daughters of God that know the tools and technology that the Lord has given us to hasten the work. They are most valuable in this special work, and have been prepared to serve in these days. As we saw the youth begin to participate as consultants in their wards, we saw how families in our ward received blessings—even miracles.”
The youth of the Las Brisas ward, under the inspired service of Sister Manrique and Bishop Arenas, have found the personal satisfaction and spiritual power that comes as a result of finding ancestral names, taking names to the temple, and teaching others to do the same. The profound experiences that have come as a result stand as a testament to the work being done in Peru.