“Samantha Roth of Station-Siggenthal, Switzerland,” Friend, July 1995, 30
By the way people turn and stare, smile and wave when the Roth family drives down the streets of Station-Siggenthal, you might think that they were celebrities. Although they don’t know everyone in the village, everyone seems to know them.
In Switzerland, where most families have only one or two children, the Roth family is extraordinary because besides Hans and Valerie Roth, the parents, there are ten children. And when they all pile into their van for an outing, it is quite a sight. Being all together is something Samantha (7) wishes that they could do more often.
With all of their busy schedules, it is sometimes difficult to see each other every day. Samantha, for instance, goes to school from 8:00 A.M. until 11:00 or 12:00 o’clock. Then she goes home for lunch. School starts again at 1:20 P.M. and goes until 3:00 or 4:00 o’clock. On Saturday, school is from 8:00 A.M. to 11:00 or 12:00 o’clock. Each child in the Roth household leaves for and comes home after school at different times.
Because of all this coming and going, not to mention other activities, Samantha wants her family to be together for supper each evening. It is a special time with everyone helping to get dinner on the table, sharing what’s happened to them during the day, and cleaning up afterward. If someone is not home, Samantha asks if he or she will be there the next night, because she really misses him.
She is grateful for family home evening, too, because it gives her family another to chance to all be together. A favorite family activity is to go on picnics. Mom makes and packs some “snake bread dough,” then they take hot dogs to one of their favorite spots, wrap the dough around the hot dogs, and roast them over a fire.
With such a large family, there are always things around the house that need doing. Shoes, boots, and coats all need to be kept in their proper places. Sports equipment is organized so that it’s easy to find. And household chores must be done daily.
“When you ask Samantha to help,” her mother said, “she never says, ‘No, I don’t want to.’” Samantha likes to vacuum, and she loves to wash dishes by hand, even though the family owns a dishwasher.
“She’s a good girl, and she helps a lot with the smaller children,” her father said.
She is always happy, smiling, and singing. “Samantha’s a very good singer,” said Naëmi (15). Sarah and Jessica (17), who are twins, appreciate her being always willing to help and to listen when they want to talk about their joys or problems.
When they have time, she plays basketball with Jérôme (16) and Joël (12). Manuel (10) is teaching her to play table tennis. But her favorite sport is swimming. Every chance she gets, weather permitting, she heads out the back door and down a grassy path to the nearby community swimming pool. She sometimes wishes that she could be a dolphin, leaping through waves and playing in the water all day.
Tending Semjon (4), Moana (3), and Jeshua (1) also helps the family. Once she learned a lot about faith and prayer. Semjon had wandered off, and she frantically searched for him for half an hour but couldn’t find him. She turned to Heavenly Father for help. After praying, she went on searching and sang “I Am a Child of God.” She feels that singing Primary songs pleases Heavenly Father. Soon she felt that she should return home. When she got there, she found Semjon. She was very grateful that Heavenly Father had answered her prayers.
She thinks all children should remember that when you have problems, you can always turn to your Heavenly Father in prayer. Sometimes it takes patience. Her brother Jérôme had worked very hard and saved money to buy a bicycle. When it was stolen out of the Roth’s garage, he prayed every day that he would get his bike back. After three months of praying every day, he felt impressed to go play in an area where he’d never gone before. He found his bike there. Samantha knows that Heavenly Father helped her brother find his bike. She knows He helped her find her brother Semjon. And she knows that although He doesn’t always answer prayers the way we want Him to, He does listen and answer everyone’s prayers.