Ever since Grace Dywili Modiba and her mother and sisters were baptized in 1984, Grace was drawn to family history work. “I gathered what I could from my aunts, uncles, and other relatives,” says Grace, a member of the Atteridgeville Ward, Pretoria South Africa Stake. “However, I became frustrated at every turn as I tried to find leads about my great-great-grandparents.”
The answer to her prayers began to unfold one Monday morning in 2001 when her mother called to tell her about a cousin who had passed away. They made arrangements to travel to the funeral, which was in the area where her parents were born. Since it was approximately 120 miles (200 km) north of Atteridgeville, near the border of Botswana, they had seldom visited that area.
Sister Modiba remembers, “I left with my mum and two sisters on Friday, the day before the funeral. When we arrived at my aunt’s house late that night, we found the house filled with family members and friends. After finishing the arrangements for the funeral, we were tired, but there was no place for us to sleep. One of my cousins graciously invited us to stay at her place, if we didn’t mind a long walk. We agreed to go. It was a very dark night, but the road was quiet, safe, and peaceful. When we arrived, everyone quickly fell asleep.
“The next morning I was the first of the visitors to awaken, and I found my cousin already up and busy. She gave me water for washing, and after I finished, I experienced a prompting that I should go outdoors.
“As I walked a few meters away from the house, I was surprised to see two tombstones in the yard. I slowly went to them and was astonished and thrilled to find that they were the tombstones of my great-great-grandparents. They had the names and dates I so urgently needed! I ran back into the house and excitedly told my cousin of my discovery and how long I had been searching for these ancestors.
“Now, as I reflect on these events, I know that things happen for a purpose. I know that God lives and that Jesus is my Savior, and I am thankful to them for leading me to this information.”
Excerpted by Marnae Wilson from “I Found It!” Ensign, August 2005