As I write this, our hearts are drawn out to everyone affected by Hurricane Matthew. And, we’re especially praying for all our family and friends in North Carolina. Hope they are all safe and sheltered from the storm.
We attended a wonderful dinner last night at our stake center. Our RS put on an international dinner. We have a lot of people here from other countries, so it was truly authentic foods from 13 different countries. I helped a sister from Armenia with some of her food prep and setting up. I also enjoyed getting to know her. She is Sister Zohrabyan and her mission assignment involves writing software for the Family History Library that is specific to research in Armenia.
Sister Zohrabyan with her son (who lives in Orem)
and all the beautiful food she made.
and all the beautiful food she made.
When I’m not auditing or scanning for the mission, I am often working on my own family history research. I’ve truly come to appreciate (more than ever) the work being done by indexers, everywhere. From time to time, in recent years, I have kind of dabbled with indexing because I thought it was a good thing to do. Until I came here, though, I really didn’t GET the need, and the urgency, for doing indexing. Of the millions and millions of records in the Family History Library, (and more are added every day) only about 30% have been indexed. 30%!!
When records are indexed they are easily searchable, and it makes the research go w-a-a-a-y faster. Without the indexing, once you locate a record, you have to go through the labor-intensive task of scrolling through every single page in hopes of finding what you’re looking for. I am SO grateful for indexers!!
This past Wednesday, we had our first “up-close” apostle sighting. We were on our way to lunch and passed Elder Bednar, in the hall, in conversation with a couple of other men (who were unknown to us).
Most days we have our lunch in the cafeteria located in the basement of the Church Office Building. One nice perk about that is that every day, we are serenaded by lovely piano tunes. The man who comes in each day to play for us is W. Herbert Klopfer, president of the Ensign 3rd branch (that’s the other branch in our mission. We’re in the Salt Lake 2nd branch.)
Pres. Klopfer has a fascinating story. If any of you listen to the audio conversations on the Mormon Channel, you may have heard him tell it. He’s an amazingly accomplished musician and he and his wife co-wrote the hymn, “Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth.”
He was born in East Germany in 1935. His family lived in a small town in the southern part of E. Germany. When it was clear that WWII was about to break out, the Church pulled all of their American missionaries and personnel out of Germany, and Pres. Klopfer’s father, though only 28 years old, was made the mission president for all of East Germany. His father was also drafted into the German army shortly after that, so, he had to wear two very different hats during that time. His counselors in the mission presidency were both too old to be drafted, so, when he was deployed to other areas, he communicated with them by phone and letter to carry on the business of the mission. (There were full-time German sister-missionaries still serving.)
Eventually, as the war progressed, his father was captured, and, the family later learned that he died in a camp in Russia. In 1950, when he was 15 years old, Pres. Klopfer, his mother and his younger brother, made a daring escape into West Berlin (traveling through Checkpoint Charlie.) After they were safely in the west, their family was sponsored so they could come to the U.S.
At one time Pres. Klopfer was stake president in the Salt Lake Stake, and was the stake president to three different prophets — Presidents Benson, Hunter and Hinckley. He visited each of them as he served in that calling.
And now, he serves as the branch president for one of our missionary branches — and he plays the piano for everyone in the COB during lunch. With his talent, he could command audiences in some of the best concert halls there are, and, yet, he comes each day — though largely ignored among all the people moving about, the rattling of dishes, and the hum of many conversations — and he plays the piano to enrich our day! We are blessed by his service!
And, we feel blessed to be serving where we are.