Did Jesus find you
I didn't find God - God found me
In 1975 my wife Sabine and I were married young and had a 16 month old son. We lived in Celle, which was part of the Hamburg Mission at the time.
The missionaries probably would not have found our house, which was hidden behind a gas station and a car repair shop. But they found me - when I was sitting on a bench at the train station one sunny day in June. I was probably smoking a cigarette there.
The two young Americans introduced themselves as representatives of a church. I don't remember what we were talking about, but I must have been interested because I agreed to visit our house the next day.
They arrived on time and started discussing principles with us that most people believe in. Both Sabine and I were positive towards them. We enjoyed talking to them. But then the language came to God. I explained to them that I didn't believe in God or in Jesus Christ. That seemed to make the missionaries sad. As they left, they gave us a booklet about the coming of Jesus Christ to America.
We didn't make a new appointment, but read the brochure carefully. Somehow we felt these two Americans were crazy. Christ in America! Who had heard of this before?
One Sunday in September we were near the house of some friends we hadn't seen for several months. We decided to just visit them. They were just getting ready to go to their new church, which they absolutely loved. We spontaneously decided to go with her. We too found the atmosphere in the branch appealing, and everything we heard seemed interesting and believable. We really wanted to go back the following Sunday.
We soon learned all about the Church from full-time missionaries and member missionaries. Brother Horst Klappert taught a class for examiners. We had a lot in common with Horst and his wife Rotraud. We became good friends. Soon the members were inviting us to all kinds of events. We enjoyed many a beautiful evening that was completely different from everything we were used to.
One of the full-time missionaries was named Max Fisher. When we finished the second or third lesson, Elder Fisher asked me - me, Jochen Beisert, who did not believe in God - to say a prayer. At that moment, an event occurred to me that was more than ten years ago.
At that time I lived in a large apartment block in Osnabrück, where almost no one knew the other. My apartment was across from the apartment of an elderly woman named Koehler. One day she asked me if I could thread a thread into her needle. I was happy to do that. Over the next several months, I would visit her once or twice a week to help her or just to chat with her. I was probably the first person to speak to her in many months.
Shortly before I moved to another part of the city, Ms. Koehler invited me over and thanked me for threading the thread into her needle and for helping her in many other ways. Then she asked me to take a seat in her favorite chair. She opened a drawer and took an old one Hymn book out and sang three stanzas of the song "Great God, we praise you" in a trembling voice.
I was touched. At that moment I knew for sure that there was a God, that He was my Father and that He was close to my heart. This experience made me humble. I promised Mrs. Koehler to visit her as often as possible.
Five weeks later I was back in front of the apartment block and rang the bell. An unfamiliar voice told me over the intercom that Ms. Köhler had died two weeks earlier. I was very sorry.
Over the years, I had completely forgotten about the hectic pace in my life and the many exams. But when I started to pray, everything came back to me. I spoke sincerely to Heavenly Father. Everyone present - our recently converted friends and the missionaries - felt the Spirit and were close to tears. A few weeks later, on October 18, 1975, I was baptized by Elder Fisher. Sabine was baptized by one of our member missionaries.
When I received my patriarchal blessing about a year later, the patriarch said, “The Lord wants you to know that you have not found Him. He was looking for you and found you for a wise cause. ”The Patriarch had no idea how much that sentence meant to me.
Sabine and I finally had three more children, all of whom grew up in church. Like Mrs. Köhler, my dear old neighbor, we too have every reason to sing: “Great God, we praise you”. I am so grateful to the Lord for leading me and my family to the truth.
Jochen A. Beisert is a member of the Worms Branch, Mannheim Stake.
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