Visit helps relatives bridge miles, years

My wife, Shauna, and I just completed a tour of Europe and visited the town of my mother's ancestors in Hanusovce Na Toplu, Slovakia.

We had some old addresses and sent letters asking the family members from my mother's father's side of the family if we could visit. Little did we know that they had been praying for more than 50 years that our family would be reunited.We arrived in Brataslava and met Mother's cousins at the U.S. Embassy. They drove us 4 1/2 hours through Slovakia to their small village of Hanusovce Na Toplu near Presov. There we met other of my mother's cousins and their family.

They treated us like kings. We gave them copies of the Book of Mormon, translated into their language. Included was our testimony. At the dinner table of the first night we were presented seven generations of genealogy from my mother's side of the family. Before that day we had no genealogy on my mother's side completed. We had not even figured out how to ask them for this information or how we could get it.

We cried and laughed and cried together for three days. We left each other with a deep impression of the power of the family. The last night we were there they discovered amongst themselves that my mother's mother's brother was living in this same small village with his four sons and their families. We met them the next day.

Even though we had been separated for more than five decades and had never known each other, we all felt a strong love for each other. The spirit of missionary work and family history was strong. In three days we broke down the barriers of language, war, repression, poverty and time, and reunited the Velebir family with its ancestors both past and present. We brought elements of the true gospel of Jesus Christ to a village that has been waiting more than 1,000 years for the truth.

We found that all the family records are located in Presov and have hired the translator to go and search our family out. We expect to go all the way back to the 1500s at least. Through all the wars and destruction of the country, these records have remained intact.

This is a testimony of the Spirit of Elijah, the power of missionary work and the Spirit of God working to bring about the fulfillment of prophecy. It is also a testimony that the Lord will provide a way for us to do our family history work.

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