Uncle Gilberto's Memory

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By Esther Labibe de Beruben

When I began learning about ordinance work for the dead, I was inspired by the great love my husband showed for his grandmother in seeing that her temple ordinances were performed. This motivated me to learn more about my own ancestors. In the years since then, many brothers and sisters, including those at the family history center near my home in Guadalajara, Mexico, have helped me learn to do the work for my ancestors.

In 1991 I received my patriarchal blessing and was instructed that I should be concerned about my deceased relatives and dedicate myself to them. I set a goal to do this, which led to daily discussions with my parents, who were not members of the Church. I often asked questions about my family, but my mother could tell me only about my grandparents.

One day my mother told me that Uncle Gilberto, my father's brother, had suffered a heart attack. "I know he would love to talk with you," my mother said. "He has a great memory, and he could give you a great deal of information about the family."

When I called him at the nursing home where he was staying, his wife answered and told me that my uncle was doing poorly and couldn't talk. I gave her my best wishes and told her that I would pray for them and their family.

The next day I called the nursing home again. To my surprise, my uncle answered the telephone.

"Uncle Gilberto!" I said. "I called to tell you that I have prayed fervently for your recovery and that I love you."

"Thank you very much, Bibi," he replied. "I woke up this morning feeling much better. Tell me what's going on with you."

I told him of my eagerness to know the names of family members who were from Arabia and Lebanon. My mother was right about my uncle's memory. He knew names, dates, and places for four generations on my father's side of the family.

When I hung up the phone, I felt that our conversation would be the last one we would share in this life. I was right. But the Lord had blessed us both so that I could obtain information I needed to unite our family—both now and in the eternities.

October 2007 Ensign Magazine - Latter-Day Voices