599 Baptisms
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“599 Baptisms,” Liahona, Aug. 2005, 16

599 Baptisms

Inspired by a growing love for my ancestors, I did family history work for hundreds of them.

When I was 18 I was the first in my family to find the restored gospel. After my baptism I began to really understand how the gospel could help my family.

As a result of these feelings, I started to do family history and my love for my ancestors grew as I worked and exercised my faith to find them. My desire to find them was so strong that on several occasions I traveled to my ancestors’ places of origin. Each trip brought new experiences, and my heart was turned to my ancestors (see Mal. 4:5–6).

Some time later I was called to serve as a family history consultant in my ward. My heart began to expand, and I began to love the ancestors of each person in my ward. As I searched parishes, archives, and libraries, I came to better understand the purpose of redeeming the dead.

Once I had my family history computer disk in my hands, I realized that the most important part of the work was still missing. I needed to go to the temple and provide my family beyond the veil with the ordinances that would enable them to be saved and join my family’s generations for eternity.

I was able to go to the temple when I went on my mission to Cochabamba, Bolivia. I began preaching the gospel in October 2000. A few months later my companion and I visited the temple with the youth from the ward where we were serving. I took my disk and was able to provide 599 names for ordinance work.

While I served as witness, my companion baptized the young people on behalf of my ancestors. What great joy I felt. The Spirit was with me, testifying of the truthfulness of what we were doing. I could feel my ancestors’ happiness and gratitude.

But there were other ordinances that still needed to be done. Because there were so many names, I turned them over to the temple. But I kept the names of my great-grandparents and their children, and later that month my companion and I, with the help of other missionaries, performed the work for them.

I am grateful to my Heavenly Father because, although I was far from my country and perhaps thought that I would baptize only the living, I was also able to participate in the work of redeeming the dead.

I am still trying to bring more souls to Christ and encouraging others to seek out their ancestors. I love this work, and I know that it is true and that Jesus Christ lives and loves us.

  • Wilson Arley Ocampo is a member of the Envigado Ward, Medellín Colombia Belen Stake.

Illustrated by Roger Motzkus