Alone at Christmas

Several years ago at Christmastime I asked Heavenly Father to provide a way whereby my mother could spend Christmas with another family that had children. We had two youngsters at the time, and I knew she missed them, but because of the great distance between us, we could not celebrate together.

I felt I needed to do something in return for this blessing, so I invited our next-door neighbor, who was also living alone, to our home for refreshments Christmas Eve and again for dinner on Christmas day. She seemed very pleased to be with us.

A week later I received a letter from my mother in which she told me that on the night before Christmas she didn’t feel like eating alone, so she went to a little nearby restaurant. It so happened she was the only one dining there when a young man came in and asked her if she was going to be alone on Christmas day. When she said yes, he said, “Oh, no, on Christmas you can’t be alone!”

He then invited her to his house for dinner the next day, explaining that although he was Jewish, his wife was Lutheran and therefore they celebrated with their children. My mother was apprehensive, but she accepted the invitation. The next day when she arrived, the children enthusiastically showed her their house and all their Christmas presents, and later they enjoyed dinner together. My prayers had been answered.

Lois E. Chamberlain Kingman, Arizona

My Sister Nancy

I would like to thank the Hawkes family for “Sharing Sarah.” (June 1981.) I had a little sister, Nancy, who was born with heart defects and at four months suffered a heart attack that did considerable brain damage. In our family, Nancy was a major part of our lives. Talking with her or doing things for her would bring things back into proper perspective. She had a profound effect on all that met her.

I have found that even in faraway Japan, where customs and life-styles are so different from mine, people like Sarah and Nancy penetrate all barriers and teach great lessons.

Elder Ernest B. Blodgett Japan Tokyo North Mission

Ideas for Home Teachers

One addition to the list of “Ideas for Home Teachers” might be to request home teachers to set up their next appointment. This would be optional, of course, but at least it would initiate the next formal home teaching visit.

R. Ripple Redmond, Washington

On “Alcohol Addiction”

I was encouraged to read “Alcohol Addiction: Hope for Understanding and Recovery” (June 1981).

As a professional worker in the field of alcoholism and drug abuse, I totally endorse Mr. James Goodrich’s comments as to accuracy and appropriateness. His thoughtful and educated look at the health problem of alcoholism will go a long way in helping families with this problem.

I think it is extremely important that people recognize the problem. At the Walker Center we see people from all religious groups, and we support the increased awareness of various churches. We are glad to have you address this very real problem.

Carl P. Bergstrom, Director Walker Center for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Gooding, Idaho

Gathering Records in Pre-War Germany

When I read “The Langheinrich Legacy” in the Ensign (June 1981), I felt I could supply an earlier beginning to the story of how these genealogical records came to the Church.

In January 1935, when I had been in the German-Austrian Mission twelve months, I was called to Berlin to take over the genealogical work for the mission. I was twenty-three years old at the time. We had about eight thousand Saints in the mission, and they were sending upwards of seven thousand names yearly to the temple in Salt Lake City. It became my job to further this research and to check the names for accuracy before they were sent in.

Interest in genealogical research in Germany had grown by leaps and bounds. The “Office of Family Research” had just been formed, and the general filming and gathering of all parish registers had begun in Germany about the same time I arrived in Berlin.

Soon after taking the assignment, I received a letter from the First Presidency in Salt Lake City instructing me to cooperate in every possible way with the new office. I was to go the extra mile in offering my services and those of the Church. This I endeavored to do. The spirit of Elijah was beginning to open the door for the day when this great work of microfilming and gathering of records could be made available to the Church and to the world. Had the records not been gathered and filmed, most would have been lost in the war.

Apparently Paul Langheinrich moved to Berlin shortly after I left the mission in November 1936 and was assigned to the position I had previously held.

Rexford W. Harrison Pocatello, Idaho

Making Progress

Seventeen years ago I fell away from the church and family and was excommunicated. I finally ended up in prison. However, my mother and stepfather (both active members with strong testimonies) have been a good influence for me here, and I am looking forward to attending church when I am released. Although we still have some problems in communicating, we have begun to find love and new direction through the restored gospel.

Name withheld Tennessee Colony, Texas

Hope for Isolated Saints

A special “thank you” for the article “Taking the Church Anywhere” (June 1981). We had to move 250 miles from our home town about eighteen months ago. The nearest church is thirty-three miles away, a long way for us to travel regularly. However, we have located two more LDS families in our area, and we are hoping to establish the church nearer. Your article gave me just the hope I needed.

Mary Rooke Newtown, Powys, South Wales

“Abide in the Vine”

In my day-to-day associations with the Saints, I find that almost every topic in the Ensign—gardens, Primary, etc.—can be readily discussed. But the one dearest to my heart—the daily greatness and mercy of the Lord in directing our paths, answering our prayers, filling us with divine peace and joy as we learn to “abide in the vine”—is often more difficult to share.

Thus Mormon Journal, Speaking Today, and other personal experiences help me to rejoice with a feeling of, “Yes, yes, it is so true! And there really are others who are feeling and experiencing what I am.” Vicariously, we rejoice together in our Father’s greatness. I love the doctrine of the kingdom, but I especially love seeing its fruitful application in the lives of the Saints. Thank you!

Elisabeth Andersen Syracuse, New York