Missionary Moment: A Young Girl’s Example
Contributed By Ryan Morgenegg, LDS Church News staff writer
- A young girl in a post-World War II German school spoke up about her religion. Because of her example Sister Isolde Haertl Dellenbach was baptized.
- Sister Dellenbach married in the temple and raised a righteous family.
- She recently found her friend who introduced her to the Church on Facebook.
“To me she seemed different, and one day she talked to me of her church. She explained it was the restored Church of Jesus Christ, which had living prophets. I had never heard of it.” —Sister Isolde Haertl Dellenbach
In 1946, shortly after World War II, the city of Munich, Germany, had been bombed and many of the schools had been destroyed. The outlook for young people looked meager. By searching, 14-year old Isolde Haertl Dellenbach found a commerce school where young girls were admitted to study.
After starting at the school, she soon met another girl named Lola. “To me she seemed different, and one day she talked to me of her church,” Sister Dellenbach said in recounting her conversion to the Church. “She explained it was the restored Church of Jesus Christ, which had living prophets. I had never heard of it.”
When the schoolgirls had religion class, Lola was often curious about what was being taught. She talked about her religion, telling others that her church had meetings at a rented place in the city. “Lola encouraged me to pick up a Book of Mormon and, perhaps, receive missionary lessons,” said Sister Dellenbach.
Lola immigrated to the United States with her mother, and after she left Isolde ventured to the indicated meeting place Lola went to church. She read part of the Book of Mormon in German and started attending LDS meetings.
“By studying and by miracle, I joined this new religion without my family knowing,” said Sister Dellenbach. “My future husband, Fred Dellenbach, baptized me.” Sometime later, she left her hometown and moved to California, leaving her family behind. In 1953, she and Fred Dellenbach were married in the Mesa Arizona Temple.
“To my great surprise, my two sisters and my mother were baptized into the Church in Munich and then immigrated to California,” she said. Sister Dellenbach said in the course of her married life she raised six children who fulfilled missions in New York; Japan; South Carolina; Georgia; and British Columbia, Canada. Two of her sons were called as bishops.
“My oldest sister served in the Los Angeles Temple for 28 years as secretary to the temple president,” said Sister Dellenbach. “After my dear faithful husband passed away, I was called on a mission for 18 months to Switzerland.” In 2004, she moved to St. George, Utah, where she has served as a temple ordinance worker since March 2005. She is a member of the Sunset 7th Ward, St. George Utah Sunset stake.
Sister Dellenbach has wondered what became of her first missionary friend in Munich. “We had lost contact over the years, and I wanted so much to be able to tell her what happened when she spoke up so many years ago,” she said. “I just recently found her on Facebook. What a joyful surprise and reunion for both of our families.”