Gratitude is defined as “a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation.” It’s something Gethro Nerosil of Port-au-Prince, Haiti strives to live with every day.
Despite living in a nation plagued by economic struggles and still trying to recover from a devastating earthquake in 2010, Brother Nerosil finds hope in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is one of about 20,000 LDS Church members living in the Caribbean island nation. He is currently serving as a stake president there. And, he is leading by example in fulfilling his divinely appointed responsibility to find family members and qualify them for temple ordinances as a means of giving thanks to those who have come before.
Accepting the Temple Challenge
In 2013, Brother Nerosil had the opportunity to meet Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles when he visited Haiti to commemorate the Church’s 30 years in that country.
Brother Nerosil never forgot the feelings of love and gratitude associated with meeting an apostle of the Lord. It’s part of the reason he said he felt compelled to accept Elder Andersen’s challenge issued earlier this year to help prepare family names to take to the temple.
“It comes from an apostle so the Lord wants us to do it,” he said.
Although the Temple Challenge was expressly issued to youth, at age 28, Brother Nerosil knows he can do it too, and he has invited everyone under his stewardship, young and old, to search out their ancestors.
Using the My Family booklet
About six months ago, Brother Nerosil was introduced to the My Family booklet.
“I felt a good spirit about it and wanted to share it with my ward and stake,” he said. “My wife and I decided to work hard to find our family.”
An uncle shared how this great grandfather changed his surname to Nerosil after moving to another city. That piece of information opened up a whole new line of descendants. He also learned from his mother that this man, nicknamed Papa Nero, used to tend him as a child.
“I was so happy to hear that,” he said.
This grandfather died when Brother Nerosil was only two years old. He has no recollection of him in life, but through stories, suddenly feels a connection.
“I can’t wait to meet him on the other side of the veil,” he said. “I want to ask him why he changed his name and thank him for babysitting me.”
And, he wants to live with him forever.
“I feel a responsibility to bless him,” he said. “Everything good in my life is because of the gospel and because of my family. I want to meet him with a big smile knowing I did everything I could.”
Going to the Temple
There is currently no temple in Haiti. The closest is in the Dominican Republic, a 10-hour bus ride away. Because a visa is needed to travel there, many Haitian saints aren’t able to attend the temple as much as they’d like.
In Haiti, the saints are focused on finding family names and praying for opportunities to take those ancestors to the temple.
In September, Brother Nerosil had the opportunity to travel to Boston. While there for two weeks, he was able to attend the temple to perform saving ordinances for his grandparents, great-grandparents, and two aunts—including sealing them together as an eternal family.
“It was the best part of my trip,” he said.
He recently received the temple cards for those family members in the mail. He is grateful to have them as a reminder that through his efforts, his family can live together forever.
“I would not be the man I am if they did not exist,” he said. “All of my efforts are a sign of gratitude for all they have done.”