My Burden Was Made Light


Our family lived in Hamburg, Germany, during World War I when food was rationed. City-dwellers often tried to purchase food from farmers, who sometimes had a little surplus. When I was fourteen years old, my mother gave me money for a railroad ticket and sent me to the country to try to buy food.

After a two-hour train ride, I arrived at a village where I began walking door to door. Though I visited more than forty houses, no one would sell me anything.

I was determined not to return home empty-handed and decided to walk the 4.5 kilometers to the next village where the train did not go. After walking about forty-five minutes and visiting all the houses along the way, I found a farmer who sold me forty-five kilos of potatoes. I could not believe my luck! The most I had hoped for was some butter or a few kilos of bacon.

The farmer lifted the sack of potatoes crosswise onto my shoulders, and I started back the way I had come. Before long, I realized the difficulty of my task—the potatoes weighed at least as much as I did. If I dropped my load onto the roadside and rested, I feared that I might not be able to lift it back onto my shoulders.

In the midst of this dilemma, I recalled my mother, who had taught me the scriptures and the power of prayer. I remembered an episode in the Book of Mormon where the Nephites, who were in bondage to the Lamanites, asked the Lord to lighten their burdens. The Lord had answered their prayers, and it occurred to me that the Lord might also lighten the weight of my burden. (See Mosiah 24:15.)

I began to pray. Instantly, I felt as if the load had been taken off my shoulders. I was able to walk with ease all of the way to the train station without resting.

At the station, another miracle occurred. Village police had the authority to confiscate any food found on passengers. Many people tried to hide their food, but there was no way I could hide the forty-five kilo sack of potatoes. However, as I boarded the train, nothing was said and I was allowed to take the potatoes home to my mother.

My search for food brought my family the physical nourishment we needed during a difficult time and developed in me an unshakable testimony that the Lord hears and answers prayers.

[illustration] Illustrated by Doug Fryer

Horst Scharffs lives in the Grant Eighth Ward, Salt Lake Grant Stake.

Sandra Dawn Brimhall is also a member of the Grant Eighth Ward.