The Keepapitchinin blog has recently been posting photos of groups of LDS people from various places which I find fascinating. I urge you to go look here and here. The photos of saints in Germany brought back a memory worth sharing.
I spent part of my mission as a desk jockey in a cubicle farm. My companion and I were office elders, and served as the mission clerk and commisarian. Others around the mission derisively called what we did “pushing paper for the Lord”, and I guess they were right. Anyhow, one day as we were diligently pushing papers across our desks as fast as we could, the doorbell rang. I only knew what a telegram was from watching old movies, but here was a real woman on a real bicycle, delivering a real telegram addressed to the mission office. I opened it and saw that it was from a person who identified himself as a branch president in East Germany. The telegram read as follows:
We have heard a rumor that President Lee is dead. Is this true?
This was in October, 1974. President Lee had passed in December, 1973, and somehow nobody had thought to notify the colonies. I’ve wondered sometimes how it would be to attend church in a place that was so far off the radar.
The final ironic twist came a few years later. After my parents finally convinced my brother and me to move out and get married, they decided they missed having overgrown adolescent boys around, and turned our basement rooms into a missionary apartment. One day my mom called to tell me excitedly that a new missionary had been transferred in who was from East Germany, and that his name was Elder ________. I recognized the surname and his hometown. He was the son of the man who had sent the telegram.