Our Work Helped Others

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“Our Work Helped Others,” Ensign, Feb. 1996, 8

“Our Work Helped Others”

In Friedrichsdorf, Germany, just north of Frankfurt, two missionary couples recently shared their talents in the family history program. Located here is the Church’s Family History Service Center, where microfilm files containing millions of facts about censuses, births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths are stored and maintained. Upon request, these files are sent to any of the 250 family history centers throughout Europe.

Two missionary couples recently shouldered most of the responsibility for sending and receiving the microfilm files. Manfred Hechtle, a native of Mannheim, Germany, and his wife, Karin, born in Koenigsberg, German East Prussia, moved to the United States more than forty years ago. They returned to Germany as missionaries because “we knew it would be wonderfully rewarding to help people all over Europe discover more about their family history,” explained Sister Hechtle.

The Hechtles also spent quite a bit of their mission time on the road.

“When they asked us, we taught the family history center directors and their staffs how to use Church computer programs,” said Elder Hechtle. “These visits also gave us a chance to repair and maintain the microfilm and microfiche equipment.”

The couple also helped present family history seminars. “We piled our equipment into a station wagon and headed out,” said Elder Hechtle. “We then taught members and others interested in learning about the Church’s family history programs.”

Serving with the Hechtles were Rudi and Erika Mueller, both of whom were born in Europe but moved to the United States more than forty years ago.

“We worked ten or eleven hours a day,” said Sister Mueller. “On busy days we received and sent as many as one thousand microfilm boxes. They all had to be numbered and computerized.”

Elder Mueller pointed out that “we were so happy to be there because we got such a sense of satisfaction knowing our work helped others.”

The Muellers celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary “on the job.” But they said that they couldn’t think of “a better way to observe it than in the work of the Lord.”