They Waited 2,000 Years
September 2007

“They Waited 2,000 Years,” Ensign, Sept. 2007, 27

They Waited 2,000 Years

As a new convert and the only Church member in my family, I felt a great responsibility to find the records of my Chinese ancestors. My patriarchal blessing had promised that I will rejoice with my forefathers as they receive the blessings of the gospel through my family history work and temple service. But I had no idea how to begin.

A couple of decades passed, and I had exhausted all available resources, including the immigration archives in San Francisco. Discouraged, I wondered if I would ever be able to fulfill my responsibility to my ancestors.

Then one day my father called and told me that a distant relative in California had found a Chinese book in his aunt’s attic. I immediately called the relative, and he was excited to know there was a family member interested in the Chung family records. He then explained that in 1930 a family member had gone to China and found the Chung family ancestral temple still intact. He had written down thousands of Chinese names and much family history information contained in the temple. The copied records were then brought back to America, where the relative had eventually found them in that attic 75 years later. When I asked if I could pay for a copy of the records, the relative said he would mail them to me at no charge.

When the records arrived, I knew I first needed to verify that they in fact related to my family. As I began to search, I immediately found my grandfather’s name at the end of the book. I couldn’t believe it!

My wife and her older sister spent months translating the Chinese characters into English and arranging the names in their proper order. Hong Kong Temple workers also assisted and discovered that my oldest known ancestor was born in 474 b.c. The first 1,200 names have been entered into the Church’s family history database. Our family is now attending the temple every week to perform ordinances for our ancestors, some of whom have been waiting more than 2,000 years for this time to come.

“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6). The blessing of Malachi’s prophecy is a reality for my family. Many of our deceased ancestors have now been given an opportunity to progress in Heavenly Father’s kingdom for eternity.

Top: Chung family history, showing the name of the author’s grandfather. (Photograph of Chinese characters by Welden C. Andersen; Chinese characters created by Maya Nakahara.) Above: Chung family temple in Guangdong, China, built in the 1500s. (Photograph courtesy of Google Images.)