October 2006

“Home,” New Era, Oct. 2006, 31


I stepped out of the car in my Sunday best and opened my umbrella. My host father merely smiled and pointed to a red brick building, saying, “Das Gebäude dort drüben.” I thanked him and watched his car roll back into traffic.

When I left home in the United States to come to Germany I thought I didn’t need the Church, that I wouldn’t notice two weeks without sacrament meeting. But the past two weekends I had noticed. I noticed something missing that now made me quicken my pace as I approached the building shown to me the night before by the two missionaries serving in this small German town.

When I reached the door, an elder opened it and beckoned me inside. The room was about the size of my bedroom and had plain, whitewashed walls. Four rows of chairs and a plain wooden table holding one tray for bread and another for water were all this tiny room had in the way of furniture. White lace covered the windows.

Though the room was small and the people unknown to me, the first thought that entered my mind was “I’m home. I’m home.”

I sat down and the service began. We sang “The Spirit of God” (Hymns, no. 2) loud and clear in German, and my heart sang with the familiarity. Never had that hymn had a greater impact on me.

I wanted to laugh and dance and say to the people walking on the rainy streets, “Don’t you realize? Don’t you realize this Church is true? Isn’t it wonderful?”

The sacrament prayer began, and I bowed my head, listening to the familiar prayer in German. I listened intently, loving each word. I’m home. I’m home.

Tears began to form in my eyes as a plastic sacrament tray was passed. Though the congregation was small, the Spirit was strong. Others were crying too. I felt the Spirit burn and leap inside my heart as it never had before.

I looked through the lace curtains at the gloomy world outside and smiled through my tears. Thousands of miles away from my family, I knew I was at home in the Church.

Illustration by Roger Motzkus