Several years ago I had the opportunity to return to Italy and look for my family names. To me the task of seeking out my ancestors was like a mountain to climb. I just didn't know where to begin.
In 1983 I received a call to serve in the Italy-Catania Mission. With my mission president's permission and with the aid of willing companions, doors were opened. While I was serving in the city of Palermo, Italy, I found my father's name, Antonino Accetta, in the telephone directory.
I jotted down the address and my companion and I paid the family a visit. Antonino Accetta turned out to be my father's first cousin. I found out that I had many relatives living in Trappeto, a small town located in the province of Palermo.
On preparation day, we went to Trappeto and soon found my family. Up until that moment these were strangers to me, but they met me with open arms and hearts of gold. Quickly, barriers of distance and lands were overcome with love overflowing and a bond of family.
My cousin Francesca was 16, and we looked like sisters. We became instant friends.
I was born in another land to other parents, yet the bond that I felt with my relatives seemed to surpass all boundaries. They were not members of our Church yet lived many of the principles of the gospel. I was grateful to my Father in Heaven for the privilege of meeting them.
They took me to the municipal building and introduced me to the archivist and asked those working in the office to give me anything that I needed. During the short visits I made on preparation days I was able to collect more than 50 names from Trappeto, where my paternal grandfather was born, for temple ordinances.
After my mission we kept in touch, and within two years I returned for more research and was able to spend an enriching month with my family. With the Lord's help I was able to collect more than 200 more names to take to the temple for ordinance work.
On May 4, 1991, many of the sealings were performed for my ancestors in the Los Angeles Temple. I felt great joy as spirit touched spirit, finally binding each other for eternity.