Las Pinas Stake (Diocese) Members Collect 17, 371 Names for Family History

News Release
 

In celebration of the 26th National Family Week and in an effort to strengthen family ties through family history work, members of the Las Piñas Philippines Stake (Diocese) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church of Jesus Christ) collected a total of 17, 371 names during their Cemetery Documentation Project held at the Muntinlupa Public Cemetery. 

Before the activity, Church members gathered in the Muntinlupa Chapel (meetinghouse) to receive initial instructions from the organizing committee and a message from Las Piñas Stake President Raymond Vicente.

"The Lord is pleased with our efforts," President Vicente said. "But we know that the work does not stop there. We need to show the same kind of enthusiasm and spirit in fulfilling the next chapter of the project, along with starting new ones in other places."

Although it was a well-planned activity, the members faced multiple obstacles, ranging from weather to logistical concerns. Some members even had to walk more than a mile through narrow, flooded roads to reach the cemetery. Despite the challenges, their desire to serve and help others in their genealogy did not waver. 

Upon arrival, 250 members devoted 500 man-hours capturing photos of gravestones and uploading them to the Billion Graves app.  By the end of the day, members captured 10,848 headstone images and made them available for transcription and web search.

Yvo Manalo, a 5 year-old-boy and one of the youngest participants in the activity, said that he was happy to clean the graves and help his family.  Some members were enthusiastic to see their own surnames that could be linked to their family trees. A newly converted couple, Mr. and Mrs. Roja, also shared their feelings of happiness after participating in their first Church activity.

"We are amazed at how the Church cares so deeply about the dead," they said. The Roja couple was not aware of the cemetery documentation project until they attended the event. According to them, taking part in the activity helped them understand clearly their purpose in doing family history work.

In her closing message, Ms. Malou Enriquez, Community Affairs and Development Office (CADO) representative, expressed her appreciation to the Church for conducting such an organized and beneficial activity. “I love people who love the dead,” she said. “You will always be welcome to volunteer here.”

Romeo Elisan, a member of the organizing committee, closed the activity by sharing the important roles family play in redeeming their dead ancestors.

Although doing family history work is one of the most popular hobbies in the world, participating in genealogical work is more than just a casual pursuit for members of the Church. Latter-day Saint families believe that family relationships perpetuate beyond the grave. This is possible through family history work and sacred sealing ceremonies performed inside the temple. 

FamilySearch is a non-profit organization sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ to help individuals and families find the names of their ancestors to build their own family trees.

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