Shining moments: A valued friendship

Right after World War II ended, LDS branches in war-torn Europe received much needed food and clothing through the Church's welfare plan.

Robert Dodenbier, then a teenager living in a little branch in Apeldoorn, Holland, was ecstatic to receive a suit that arrived in a Church shipment from Salt Lake City. It fit him just right, and also gave him a great awareness of and appreciation for members of the Church far away who contributed so generously.While trying on the suit, Robert stuck a hand in one of the pockets and felt something hard and round. He pulled out a U.S. silver dollar. That dollar became his prized possession.

A short time later, Robert learned that the family of his close friend, John Dickman, would soon be immigrating to America. The evening before John left, Robert took his dollar and placed it in his friend's hand. He said: "Here John, I want you to have this. As long as you hang onto it in that far-away country, you will never have to say that you are penniless."

Robert moved with his family to Utah five years later, but lost track of his friend.

Almost 40 years later, Robert's son, Robert Jr., moved with his wife and children to Manteca, Calif. After a stake conference meeting there, Robert Jr. was approached by an older man who asked, "Is your last name Dodenbier?" Somewhat surprised, Robert Jr. answered in the affirmative. "Is your father's name Robert?" the man inquired. "Yes, sir, that's my dad," was the reply.

"Young man," continued the gentleman, "I've seen your name on the stake records. It's not a common name and when I saw it, I got very excited because I had a dear friend by that name. Did your dad come from Holland? From the town of Apeldoorn?"

Robert Jr. nodded.

The older man then said: "I came from the same town as your father. I knew him well. We were friends, but I remember him for something very precious. When I left Holland many years ago, it was your father who gave me one of his most valued possessions, a silver dollar. He then said to me, `John, as long as you hang onto this, you will never have to say that you are penniless.' "

Through Robert Jr., Robert Dodenbier and John Dickman were able to meet again and renew a valuable friendship and share testimonies of the gospel. - Christina M. Dobenbier, Forest Green Ward, Ogden Utah Weber Heights Stake

(Another in a series of "Shining Moments." Illustration by Deseret News artist Reed McGregor.)

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