There's a bit of rose-colored glasses with the article and the comments.
The people who called us up off the street weren't interested in the
gospel. They were interested in Americans (or other Westerners). They were
interested in the tiny VW Polos that the mission had some of us drive. In one
city people surrounded our Polo like it was the hottest new Bugatti supercar.
They were interested in the color TV with VCR that we dragged around. We were
mobbed in Rostock at a street display because we were offering Western books,
English, and a chance to see a video.The article does not give
percentages of how many people are still active, out of those who were hurriedly
baptized. My experience is that most did not stay. I don't
doubt that the Pauls were the right people for that time. They really did have
a lot of love for the missionaries who served in the Dresden Mission. Sometimes
it was tough love (at least with President) but you knew their love for you was
I served in the Air Force for a total of 9 years in Germany (not all at once)
and the stories were (are) amazing. During one tour, West Germany had accepted
refugees from Ghana and we were able to teach them before they were reunited
with their homeland. I look at what has happened to that wonderful country since
that time and see another miracle. Germany as a country may not have grown so
much as far as the Church is concerned, but the miracles that have happened
there are wonderful.
Thank you for this article. In the telling of this story, don't
forget the many faithful East German members, both men and women, who were
called as missionaries and served faithfully in their own country through the
Very inspiring article. I served in the Germany Hamburg Mission from 1980-1982
and was in West Berlin twice for a total of 8 months. So, perhaps to clarify,
some of these missionaries were the first to serve in Berlin, that would be the
East Berlin side. Missionaries served faithfully in West Berlin for years before
the wall came down in 1989. It was a very emotional time to see the wall come
down. I never thought that would happen.
morpunktI believe the official church membership for Germany in 1975 was
13,829. You may wish to recheck your data or possibly the church publication
that I just read was wrong.
I served my mission in West Germany from 1976 to 1978. The total membership of
that nation's LDS was 36,000. It is now 39,000. That's now including
the former DDR. It's no wonder that some of the German missions got
consolidated. Most of Germany's potential for converts waned, decades
President Paul was one of the strongest, most spiritual leaders I have ever met.
He and Sister Paul have a genuine love for the missionaries that I didn't
know people were capable of until I met them. Sis Paul was also a fantastic
cook. I have been trying for years to duplicate a certain salad that she made,
and haven't even come close.I have to echo the words of
President Paul and Elder Thueson from the article. People were overwhelmingly
curious about the gospel. In one city, as we would walk down the street, people
opened their windows and shouted for us to come up to their apartments, just so
they could talk to us about the gospel. It made going "door-to-door"
very easy.There really is no other way to describe it, other than
Wolfgang and Helga Paul played a prominent role in these activities. They are
shown in several of the attached photos. This article brought back fond
memories of my service with these two good and faithful saints.