Treasure from China
July 1995

“Treasure from China,” Ensign, July 1995, 62–63

Treasure from China

I first learned of the treasure on a beautiful Australian morning in October 1992. My husband, who is not a member of the Church, woke up and described a remarkable dream. He said that in his dream someone from my family had asked him for permission to let me go into mainland China to get my family’s genealogical records.

When I asked my husband what his response was, he answered that he did not want to be held accountable for not letting me go.

I was amazed. I had already planned to go to Hong Kong in a few months for my daughter’s wedding. It occurred to me that, after the wedding, I could travel to my family’s ancestral village on mainland China, where our records are kept. Because of my husband’s dream, I decided to make the trip.

Although I was excited to go to China, I was afraid to travel there alone. I was relieved when a son-in-law, who was also going to Hong Kong, offered to accompany me into China.

On 16 December 1992, we took a train from Hong Kong to GuangZhou, China. From GuangZhou, we took another train and traveled eleven hours to the city of MaoMeng; then from MaoMeng we rode a motorbike with sidecar three more hours to the village. When we arrived, my uncle was surprised to see us because he had received the letter announcing my visit only the night before. I recognized him immediately, for he looked just like my father. After we all got acquainted, I asked about the records.

My uncle brought out seven volumes that traced my family back nearly seven hundred years. Not only did they contain birth and death dates, but the records also contained a bit of history on each ancestor. I was thrilled.

However, I faced a major problem. The village was so remote that it had no running water, let alone a photocopy machine. Copying the records by hand would take months. When I expressed my concern, my uncle smiled. He said he had a spare set I could take. My son-in-law and I looked at each other in wonder. These people are not well-off; copying those records must have cost a lot of money.

For years I excused myself from doing family history work because I lacked records. Now there is no excuse. This experience has convinced me that many of my ancestors have accepted the gospel in the spirit world, and that is why the way was opened for me to secure their records—truly a treasure beyond price.

  • Jenny Shaylor serves as compassionate service leader and as social relations teacher in the Heathridge Ward, Perth Australia Dianella Stake.

Illustrated by Gregg Thorkelson

Illustration by Don Weller