`A special opportunity to hear the prophet'

The Uhlig brothers - Benjamin, 6, and Julian, 4 - had no trouble identifying President Gordon B. Hinckley as he stepped from the car in front of the Marriott Hotel in Frankfurt June 5.

"Oh, they recognized him alright," said their mother, Angelika. "We have a picture of President Hinckley hanging in our living room. He is part of our family."The Uhlig brothers, along with a cousin, Ida, 5, and Magdalena Roegner, 4, greeted President and Sister Hinckley as they arrived at the hotel by presenting them with flowers.

Eight stakes had been invited to the member meeting that evening. More than 8,000 filled the standing-room-only Ballsporthalle. Among those attending were five bus loads of members from Munich in southern Germany near the Austrian border.

Others, such as Reinhold and Ingrid Rahn, came from the Mannheim region. "This is a special opportunity for us to hear the prophet," they said. "We cut our holiday short so we could come and hear President Hinckley. No place is too far away to come," Brother Rahn said.

Following the music of the 200-voice choir that sang, "I Believe in Christ" in English and German, President Hinckley admonished the youth to "Be smart, Be true, Be humble, Be clean, and Be prayerful.

"If you will accept and live these suggestions," he promised, "20 years from now, when the Church is much larger and much stronger, you will be strong, faithful, clean, prayerful - and you will be happy."

President Hinckley then turned his attention to the parents and said: "Yours is the great opportunity and responsibility to bring up your children in truth and righteousness."

He encouraged the brethren to "be good husbands, fathers, missionaries, friends." He urged the sisters to "cultivate a spirit of love and peace in your homes, develop a mind of freedom."

Sister Marjorie Hinckley accompanied President Hinckley on the tour and also spoke. In her remarks, she said of her husband, "I have never known him to say or do anything unbecoming a prophet of God."

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Seventy and president of the Europe West Area, after reflecting on the three days of visiting members in three countries with President Hinckley, said, "President and Sister Hinckley blessed and strengthened the members and all the people of central Europe with their presence. Their messages lifted all to new heights.

"Our lives have become better through their visit. These glorious days will mark a new beginning in establishing the Church in Europe. There was a strong feeling of Zion after each meeting, visitors embraced each other and bore testimony of a living prophet. Many tears were shed because prayers had been answered," said Elder Uchtdorf.

He then quoted a non-member who said: " `President Hinckley has a radiance of goodness, love and youth about him that is beyond human imagination. When he speaks you feel the spirit of divine peace.' "

During his comments, President Hinckley referred to Brother and Sister Immo Luschin in the congregation. Brother Luschin translated the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price into German during a five-year period from 1976 to 1980. Each page required an average of nine hours to translate. President Hinckley noted that it was a son of this couple who was the project manager for the Preston England Temple.

President Hinckley also mentioned Magnus and Ingeborg Meiser, who had accepted a calling several days earlier from President Hinckley to serve as president and matron of the Freiberg Temple in (former East) Germany.

"My wife and I will go where the Lord wants us to go," President Meiser said after being set apart. "I made my decision when I was baptized in 1954 to accept any calling extended to me."

Gareth Hatton came to the meeting in a wheelchair. "I had abdominal surgery this morning, but I had to come. I wouldn't have missed this for the world."

Mikael Habermann, 11, attending with his mother and sister, wore a "Future Missionary" badge to be like his brother who is serving a mission in Utah.

Stanley Lowis, a branch president in the Hannover Germany Stake and a fourth-generation member of the Church, related how his great-grandfather joined the Church in London as a result of a street meeting in Hyde Park. "When I was 8 years old, President Hinckley had dinner in our home while serving as a missionary in the North London Branch."

Like a number of others, Elizabeth Kruger de Schaal left the meeting with tears streaming down her cheeks and a heart too filled with the spirit of the occasion to speak.

Cynthia Machner attended the member meeting at the invitation of the parents of two of her students in school. "I'm not a member, yet," she said, "but I'm very impressed with this Church." - Shaun D. Stahle

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