Remembering—One by One

Salli Hollenzer*

During the fall of 2014, while my husband, Ken Hollenzer, and I served in Cambodia as Family History missionaries, a middle aged Cambodian church member of a local LDS branch, walked into the Family History office. He didn’t speak English, but through the interpreter he brought with him, we learned that he had felt a compelling urge over the previous days to submit his family names to the temple. He told us that he was the sole survivor of his family after the Khmer Rouge. I sensed the deep pain he carried at the loss of his family so many years before and gently asked him how many brothers and sisters he had.

Once he understood my question, he closed his eyes as tears slowly dropped onto his cheeks. He raised his hands and began to count his fingers: one, two, three, four…. I saw the hurt in his face as he pictured their faces, one by one, in his mind; dear faces he had not –––due to the grief of such an incredible loss––– been able to allow himself to picture for decades.

Slowly, he was able to communicate to me that he had had four brothers and four sisters ––– and that he, himself, was the youngest child. All his siblings, as well as his mother and his father, had perished during the genocide years of Pol Pot. He was the only surviving member of his family.

And now, more than 30 years later, after finding the gospel of Jesus Christ, and learning of the eternal nature of the family, he had come to begin the process of sealing his precious family together forever!


*Salli Hollenzer and her husband Ken served as family history missionaries in Cambodia for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from September 2013 to August 2015 Both have continued to play lead roles in the project since returning to their home in Oregon.