"The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." --Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, December 7

Wirth Remembering

Carin and I went down to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional tonight in Salt Lake. It was really good. The messages were excellent and the conference center amazes me every time I go there. As the entire congregation closed the meeting by singing Silent Night, I thought back on my mission where the song originated. Silent Night was written in Oberndorf Austria and holds a special place in the hearts of Austrians. So much so that it is sacrilege to sing it but on the "Holy Night" which is Dec. 24th. They take their Silent Night pretty seriously. Pictured above is the Silent Night memorial chapel in Oberndorf Austria wear Franz Gruber first played Silent Night on Dec 24, 1818.

I also thought of the wonderful man that we lost this week in Elder Wirthlin. Elder Wirthlin served in the Swiss/Austria mission as a young man and always has loved that part of the world. His daughter lives in our ward and he was in a sacrament meeting at our ward just after I received my call to Austria. He was so excited to hear of my call and spoke with me about the spiritual time it was in his life.

Eighteen months later, while serving in Innsbruck, I got word that Elder Wirthlin was coming to Salzburg for a young adult fireside. I obtained permission to take an investigator who was very close to baptism to the meeting in Salzburg. Most in the congregation spoke English and as Elder Wirthlin spoke, I started to translate for my investigator. After a few minutes he told me I didn't have to translate anymore. He could feel Elder Wirthlin's spirit and knew what he was saying was true. He sat and enjoyed Elder Wirthlin's spirit the whole meeting with tears in his eyes.

After the meeting, I took our investigator up to meet Elder Wirthlin. He saw me and recognized me as the Elder he met in North Ogden going on a mission to Vienna Austria. Mind you he was 82 at the time and probably met thousands of people at each speaking engagement. This impressed me and I wrote that night in my journal about Elder Wirthlin and the spirit he brought to the meeting. He signed a copy of our investigator's Book of Mormon. It became a treasure for this man and his family who thereafter became the first family to be baptized in Innsbruck in 20+ years.
I hold a special place in my heart for Elder Wirthlin. He will be missed. I won't soon forget him.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Wow - I'm sitting here in a training classroom in Atlanta, GA, but I was really touched by this post. It caused me to reflect on my time meeting with President Hinckley on my mission in England, the land in which he served and loved. May these feelings and memories live forever. And may we all take our Silent Night's a little more seriously. Great post.