Family history moments: Treasure in the pines

One evening I went with Frank Webster - our elders quorum president and my brother-in-law - to give a priesthood blessing to Ethel Sprow. He was her home teacher.

On the way home, I talked with him about Sister Sprow's family history. At that time I was the high priests group leader, and it was my responsibility in the ward to encourage family history and temple work. I gave him a challenge to help Sister Sprow get to the temple and be sealed to her late husband.One year later, Brother Webster achieved that goal as Sister Sprow was sealed to her husband and family members. She could not, however, find information on her great-grandfather and great-grandmother, so their temple work could be done.

The next year, between Christmas 1987 and New Years, Frank and I went grouse hunting on South Mountain on a clear morning after a 3-inch snowfall. We were about 230 yards into a pine grove when Frank hollered, "Joe, come over here quick!"

When I got there, Frank was standing beside two gravestones. We were amazed. They were in good shape. Having no pencil or pen, we took out our hunting knives and scraped the names and dates on the raised back of our hunting license.

The next week, Frank went home teaching to Sister Sprow and mentioned our experience on the hunting trip. She asked what names were on the markers. He told her John and Mary Ann Baker, with a death date of 1905 for John and 1886 for Mary Ann. Sister Sprow excitedly told him they were the great-grandparents whose information she needed. She could now do their temple work.

Sister Sprow was born within a mile of the site, but her family had moved several miles away. In succeeding generations, the location of the graves had been forgotten.

Three-and-a-half years later, Brother Webster took Sister Sprow to the pine grove where the stones were. She was delighted.

I can certainly see the worth of a home teacher. I am so glad and thankful to my Heavenly Father for this spiritual experience. I will treasure it all the days of my life. - Joseph C. Rock Sr., Chambersburg (Pa.) 1st Ward

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