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missionfetzer (Percy Fetzer)

Percy Fetzer — sow a seed, reap a bounteous harvest


A wonderful missionary success story related by President Thomas S. Monson

President Percy Fetzer related to President Burt and myself (Elder Monson) an experience from his missionary days in Germany. He described how one rainy night he and his companion were to present a gospel message to a group assembled in a schoolhouse. A protester had broadcast falsehoods concerning the Church, and a number of people threatened violence against the two missionaries. At a critical moment, a woman who was a widow stepped between the elders and the angry group and said, “These young men are my guests and are coming to my home now. Please make way for us to leave.”

The crowd parted, and the missionaries walked through the rainy night with their benefactress, arriving at length at her modest home. She placed their wet coats over the kitchen chairs and invited the missionaries to sit at the table while she prepared food for them.  After eating, the elders presented a message to the kind lady who had befriended them. A young son of the woman was invited to come to the table, but he refused, preferring his position of solitude and warmth directly behind the kitchen stove.

President Fetzer concluded the account with the comment, “While I don’t know if that woman ever joined the Church, I’ll forever be grateful to her for her kindness that rain-drenched night thirty-three years ago.”

Some brethren sitting in front of us in the Tabernacle, awaiting the start of general conference, had been speaking to one another also.  After a while, we began listening to their conversation. One asked the friend sitting next to him, “Tell me how you came to be a member of the Church.”

The brother responded, “One rainy night in Germany, my mother brought to our house two drenched missionaries whom she had rescued from a mob. Mother fed the elders, and they presented to her a message concerning the work of the Lord. They invited me to join the discussion, but I was shy and fearful, so I remained secure in my seat behind the stove.  Later, when I once more heard about the Church, I remembered the courage and faith, as well as the message, of those two humble missionaries, and this led to my conversion. I suppose I’ll never meet those two missionaries here in mortality, but I’ll be forever grateful to them. I know not where they were from. I think one was named Fetzer.”

At this point, President Burt and I looked at President Fetzer and noticed the great tears which coursed down his cheeks. Without saying a word to us, President Fetzer tapped on the shoulder of the man in front of us who had just related his conversion experience. To him he then said, “I’m Bruder Fetzer. I was one of the two missionaries whom you befriended that night. I’m grateful to meet the boy who sat behind the stove—the lad who listened and who learned.”


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