Temple moments: A way opens

Although she is serving in the demanding calling of stake Relief Society president, Idala Lerma de Serna of the Centro Ward, Chihuahua Mexico Chuviscar Stake, is also very involved in family history work. So is her husband, former stake president Humberto Enrique Serna Gonzalez, a dentist by day and Family History Center director by night.

Sister de Serna began her quest for family names for temple work in 1982 when she and her husband were called as stake family history advisers."As we were trained, we felt the Spirit very, very strongly," she remembered. "We started to work on our family history. We found a lot of information, but for many names we could find nothing.

"I prayed but help did not arrive. Yet we continued to work.

"Then one day six years later, a heavy yellow envelope, mailed from Drayton Plains, Mich., arrived.

"To my surprise, I found the envelope contained more than 150 legal-size sheets with certificates, pedigree charts, complete family group sheets and copies of the IGI microfiche. I could not believe it. I could only cry for the joy I felt. There were 1,437 family names.

"Later, I learned that the names had been sent by a distant aunt, Anna Trevino, a non-member who did research at a local Church family history library. She had found my name in the Family Registry. From her, I also learned that I have a large family in the United States."

While thrilled with this breakthrough, the Serna family worked to overcome another impediment. The nearest temple was in Mexico City, a 45-hour bus ride away.

"Every year, my husband and I traveled to Mexico City in the stake temple excursion to do work for these deceased relatives," she said. "There is great interest among the members here in doing family history work." With the help of other stake members, the ordinances for about 500 of Serna family members were completed over several years' time. About 1,000 remain.

"The experiences in the temple were so wonderful that I cannot speak about them," said Sister de Serna. "Then last year we heard that a temple was announced near Nuevas Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, (the Colonia Juarez Chihuahua Temple), which is only a four-hour ride away. We will be able to do many more of our family names there."

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed