Missionary moments: Unseen families

I served from 1970 to 1972 in the Northern Hamburg Germany Mission. In the fall of 1970, my companion and I were tracting in West Berlin. We knocked on the door of an elderly woman. Before we had time to introduce ourselves, she told us that she knew who we were and that she did not have time to talk to us right then, but would we please come back for lunch.

We returned at the appointed time and were invited into her home. We noticed that this woman did not have much in way of earthly possessions. As we ate our lunch, we wondered why she had invited us to her home.

She told us that towards the end of World War II, when her city, Berlin, was being shelled repeatedly, she remembered as a little girl, sitting in the back of her bombed-out home. It was during a cold German winter. The only thing remaining of her home was the back wall. Two of her loved ones lay dead in the rubble. She and her little brother sat there freezing with no food, no warmth, no protection from the elements, nothing.

At some point, a truck pulled up in front of what was remaining of their home. The people in the truck brought them a box. The box contained food, clothing, blankets, and hope. She explained to us that this box was sent to them by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It saved their lives. She then proceeded to tell us that she had never joined our church and didn't know why she hadn't. However, she stated that over the years, whenever any missionaries knocked on her door, she had always invited them in for lunch. She stated that it was her way of expressing her gratitude to the members of our church for saving her life.

Then she stood up and went to the back of her humble apartment and brought out an old quilt. Embroidered in the corner of that quilt was written "The Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

I'm sure I speak for her when I say thank you to the good sisters of the Church, who touched the lives of this woman and many other unseen families, far, far away. — William (Bill) Pettingill, Twin Falls 11th Ward, Kimberly Idaho Stake

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