Brother Raul Ojeda, and his wife Yolanda, of Santiago, Chile know what it means to save others. Literally. Bro. Raul Ojeda served as a volunteer firefighter for 40 years prior to getting baptized. His father was also a volunteer firefighter. In Chile, all firemen are volunteers, given that there isn’t a paid firefighting program in Chile. Anyone that chooses to volunteer does so for “the love of the art,” a common Chilean expression.
Brother Ojeda was baptized on Saturday, March 21st at 5 PM. And, at 6 PM, the Con Con Ward held a Family History Discovery Day, with the Ojeda’s and their missionaries as special guests. The activity included family booths where members were able to share pictures and stories with the rest of the ward, as well as a special talk by Bishop Dinar Reyes and training on using FamilySearch. Bro. Ojeda was invited to bring photographs of his family and any stories that he would want to share. It was a beautiful sight to see – two new members with their hair still wet from getting baptized, being taught about preparation for another baptismal font, that of the temple.
Brother Ojeda shared a story of how he had been a part of a rescue operation in the burrow of Ñuñoa, in the city of Santiago. The mission involved rescuing more than 20 people from a burning building. His heroics are recounted in the book History of Chilean Firefighters. He was able to share his story at the ward activity, and he brought along the book with the pictures. He was teary-eyed as he talked about how he was able to help rescue the lives of others in such a selfless way. When asked about the details of his personal contribution to the rescue, he simply shrugged his shoulders and said that he did what any other firefighter would have done in his same situation.
Just as he finished his own story, he began talking about his father. He said “I have been able to rescue others, as my father had done before me. Now I get to prepare myself to rescue my father.”
The Con Con Ward makes a conscientious effort to hold family history activities as often as possible, and they also go to the temple at least once a month. The ward members and leaders use the Find, Take, Teach model to bring families together in family history activities and temple name preparation. Bro. Jose Lopez of the Con Con Bishopric has said that in his ward “we have been actively working with the missionaries in order to find the Lord’s chosen, and then we prepare them for the temple.” New members and long-time members regularly engage together in inspiring family history and temple experiences.
As a special gift, the ward gave Bro. Ojeda a framed copy of a photograph he shared at the Family History Discovery Day, wearing his firefighters’ uniform. He received the gift with tearful eyes. His life has changed. The word rescue has taken on a whole new meaning for him.