Sweet Somethings: My German Heritage

 

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My Great Grandma Gretchen Rabus Lifferth; Portrait by Ann Nelson (from Gretchen’s Autobiography)

One hundred and twelve years ago, my Great Grandma Gretchen Rabus (and when she was married she added Lifferth) joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints when she was baptized on a cold February night in Germany. Her decision has blessed (and continues to bless) the lives of her posterity-which is hundreds of people!

Every February the Lifferths gather for The German Dinner to celebrate our wonderful heritage. Obviously, being in Alaska, Ben and I weren’t able to make it this year. Even so, I always look forward to the opportunity to look back and remember the blessing of my Great Grandma’s testimony and the legacy she has left for so many.

Below are the words she wrote recounting the night of her baptism:

“So that evening, February 18, 1904, we were baptized. It was a bitter cold night as our feet crunched through the deep and sparkling snow with a bright full moon showing us the way. I will always remember that beautiful, but oh so cold, night as we walked so far with the Elders and a few Saints to a stream that was far past the city limits. We found the stream with a solid sheet of ice several inches thick.

The elders chopped a big hole in the ice. Our dressing booths were blankets hung over nearby bushes. And God himself furnished the lights by the moon and stars shining brightly. It was a night never to be forgotten. As soon as we came up out of the water our clothes and hair froze stiff. The sisters helped us change into dry clothes quickly and then we started on our long hike back home again.

We stopped at Sister Gertrude Hasse’s home where we were confirmed and we all had some nice hot peppermint tea. It was far past midnight before we reached our home. The next morning I felt well and strong and went to school. Both Mother and I gained a strong testimony of the divinity of the Gospel through this wonderful experience.”

 

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