“Seeing a Connection,” Ensign, Oct. 2007, 69
Chen, Yang Su-yuan has been blind since 1981, when she developed complications after cataract surgery. But losing her eyesight helped her find the gospel and ultimately helped her see the importance of temple and family history work.
Having recently gone blind, Sister Chen didn’t realize that the two young ladies at her door asking for a glass of water were missionaries. Inviting them in made all the difference in her life.
“Most people considered me useless because I was blind,” Sister Chen says. “But that’s not what God wanted to tell me. He sent me missionaries after I lost my sight to teach me that we are all the children of God and that He ransomed us at a great price. I learned my worth because of the ransom Jesus paid. I am priceless.”
Since then, Sister Chen has served in many callings in the Chung Li First Ward, Tao Yuan Taiwan Stake, as well as serving in the temple since 1992.
But losing her sight wouldn’t be the only trial Sister Chen would have to face. In 1987 she almost died after developing a large cyst that required the removal of a rib. She survived, but the medical bills wiped out her life savings. She wondered why God hadn’t just taken her.
She said His response was, “You have many things left to do.”
Not long after, she felt the call of family history.
“I wondered, how am I going to do genealogy if I can’t see?” she says. “But the feeling didn’t go away.”
With the help of a dear friend, she has researched 22 generations of her main family line and done all of the ordinances for the women herself. She is now working on related branches. Along the way, she has come to appreciate the inseparable connection between temple work and family history.
“There are many ordinances we receive in the temple, and they are all important,” Sister Chen says. “But we must do our family history. We can’t give these ordinance to our ancestors without doing our genealogy.”
“Family history and temple work are one work,” said Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander of the Seventy. “Family history research should be the primary source of names for temple ordinances, and temple ordinances are the primary reason for family history research.”1
Sister Chen is now battling a new disease and the aftereffects of a minor heart attack. Twenty years after first asking God why He had left her, she found herself asking the same question—and receiving the same answer. “Haven’t I already told you?” she felt Him say. “You still have temple work to do.”
So Sister Chen continues to spend one week per month at the temple.
“These are things we have to do for our ancestors that they cannot do for themselves,” she says. “With my situation, I don’t have the time commitments that others have with work and such. I need to work hard now while I can.”