Healed Hearts and Family History
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“Healed Hearts and Family History,” Ensign, Dec. 2005, 32–33

Healed Hearts and Family History

Although we live on the east coast of Queensland, Australia, we are Germans. My husband, Siegfried, was born in Danzig, and I was born in what is now the Czech Republic. When we considered going on a mission, we had concerns. Our family is constantly growing. The separation would be very hard for us. Our little house couldn’t be rented, and there were financial worries. We discussed it together and spoke about all the pros and cons. But in the end we knelt down and asked our Father in Heaven for guidance. After that it was very easy. We both had a good feeling and the certainty that we should go on a mission.

In the application the bishop gave us, we could list the country we wanted to go to. Of course that was Germany. And although it seemed rather doubtful that we would be sent to the other side of the world, our Heavenly Father knew exactly what we needed. We were asked to fulfill a temple mission in Freiberg, Germany. I was excited because I still understand the Czech language from my youth and can speak a little bit. I knew that members from Eastern Europe often visit the Freiberg temple.

We began our mission on February 25, 1992. Our temple president was Jirí Snederfler, and his wife, Olga, was the temple matron. What excellent people they were—loving and always friendly.

We experienced only good things in Freiberg. Everyone was helpful and nice. We worked hard, and we were a large family of temple workers who loved each other. We still keep in touch with many of them.

The highlight of our mission was the visit from the first members in Ukraine. We had prepared ourselves. The mission president’s wife spoke Russian, and even I learned part of one of the ordinances in Russian. These members had such a reverence for the house of the Lord. As they came and left, they bowed in humility. They were so happy they could receive their endowments, and many cried for joy and didn’t want to leave the temple.

Polish members come often to Freiberg, and at first my husband was nervous about meeting them. His grandmother had starved in a camp in Poland after World War II. But through meeting with these brothers and sisters and worshiping together with them, my husband was emotionally healed. This was a great blessing brought about by our mission.

My great blessing was becoming acquainted with a Czech sister named Marie Smidova. With her help I was able to begin work on my family history. There were no Church microfilms from the region I needed, and my knowledge of Czech isn’t sufficient to write to Czech officials for information. Sister Smidova has done much for me, and I am very thankful for her help.

When we returned home after 18 months, we were amazed at how our financial situation had improved. Our little house waited for us, and our children prepared a lovely welcome. After a year we went to Sydney, Australia, to serve a temple mission there for a year.

We are thankful for the experiences we have had through our work. We would remind every senior couple of the saying of President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985): “Do it now!”

Elder and Sister Gehrmann have served temple missions in both Germany and Australia. (Photograph courtesy of Brunhilde Gehrmann.)