Saturday, July 25, 2015

Dallas's Miracle

Dallas Olsen with his Family 15 in 15

Dallas Olsen is one of the employees working in the Pacific Area Office.  He's a great guy who we have enjoyed getting to know.  He was born in Fiji, but his family emigrated to New Zealand when he was a small child.  For various reasons he lost touch with his extended family after they moved.  So now that he is interested in working on his family history he has no one to ask about the holes and brick walls in his family tree.

Dallas knew who his paternal grandmother was.  But he had no idea who her parents were and no idea how to find out.  He had written letters to the Fiji government, made phone calls and checked every record he could think of.  No luck.  So when he learned we would be traveling to Fiji, he asked us to see if we could turn anything up.
We had two problems with trying to find out any meaningful family information for our friend.  First, he had already tried contracting various official channels with no luck.  So we were not sure where to even begin.  Secondly, our schedule of teaching assignments was quite busy.  Even if we had known where to go look, we were not sure when we could fit it in.

However, when we found we did have a couple hours open on Friday afternoon, we decided to give it our best shot.  Not at all certain where to begin, we asked at the hotel desk where the government records were kept for birth and death.  It just so happened that at the EXACT moment that I was asking that question, one of the hospitality workers in the hotel walked by and heard us.  He stepped forward to say he had a sister who worked in the building we were asking about  He wrote down her name and told us how to find her office, assuring us she would help.  

As it turned out, when Fijians refer to a "sister" that can mean any sort of female relative, not necessarily an actual sibling.  But we were in luck that the building this woman worked in was within walking distance and we were able to find her without a hitch.  We found that not only did this woman (who as far as we could surmise was actually some relation by marriage), indeed work there, she held an important position as the principal administrative secretary for the ministry of justice.  She invited us into her private office and interrupted her work for about an hour to help us.  She had several other people looking in various records and came back with some key information.
Because the grandmother was born on one of the other islands in the Fiji chain, there was no record of her birth here, so we still did not have her parents’ names.   We did get documentation about marriage and death.  The secretary gave us “unofficial” copies so there would be no cost.
Now, in a city of of this size, how we “just happened” to be staying at the one hotel where a relative of this woman worked and he “just happened” to be walking across the lobby at the precise moment we were asking for directions to the government building is too much to call coincidence for me.
But it doesn’t  end there.  On Saturday we did a training in Suva Stake that went exceptionally well.  The spirit was very strong and everyone there was feeling surrounded by the presence of ancestors.  Knowing of our search the previous day, our friend Brother Senikuraciri felt prompted to ask the Stake president if he knew of the Olsen family.  

THIS MAN KNEW THEM WELL.  In fact, his wife had babysat for Dallas Olsen when he was an infant and her brother had lived with the Olsen family for a time.  This good Stake president was thrilled to learn where Dallas was and now is looking forward to helping him reconnect with his extended family.
It is experiences like this which assure me we are exactly where we need to be right now, and that this truly is Heavenly Father’s work.

No comments:

Post a Comment