On my mission in Germany in 1967 we baptized a girl named Gabrielle Christine Kreisel. This is her story.
Gabi was 17 when we knocked on her door. She stayed at home to take care of her baby while her mother and older sister worked. We asked if we could return later when the rest of her family was at home. They belonged to the Catholic Church, and her mother appeared to be very pious. The family treated Gabi with distain because of the embarrassment she had caused the family. She felt miserable because of her sinful past, and wished that there was some way she could change her life. She had prayed every day for many months to heavenly father asking for forgiveness, and for help in changing her life. She told us her family would never listen to us if we came back later, and begged us to come in.
We decided to teach her about prayer, and told her about Joseph Smith. When we handed her the pamphlet of Joseph Smith’s First Vision she began to cry. We said a prayer with her and asked her to read the pamphlet before we returned.
When we came back the next day her face was beaming and she related the following to us:
Each night for many weeks following her prayer,
she experienced the same vivid dream. It was always the same and very clear, and she wondered what it meant. She asked her family, and they told her it was of the devil. Her friends told her she must be going crazy. In her dream she saw a young boy kneeling in prayer, with two glorious people standing above him in the air. No one seemed to know what it meant. She had heard of angels visiting people, and apparitions of angel visits, but wondered what this dream meant for her.
One night she asked heavenly father what the dream meant, and promised him that she would do anything He asked her to do. That night after she went to bed, she dreamed a different dream. This time she saw two young men walking down the street. They stopped and came to her door carrying with them a picture of her dream. She knew that this was an answer to her prayer, but she still didn’t know what it meant.
The next day, as she opened the door to us, she began to cry, for she had seen me and my companion distinctly in her dream the night before. She asked us in. She listened carefully as we told her who we were, and then waited patiently for us to produce the picture she had also seen in her dream.
Then we gave her the pamphlet with the picture of Joseph Smith’s first vision on the front. She knew that it was true before she read it. She cried and read it several times before we returned again the next day. We taught her and her family many times. Her sister and mother usually sat in the kitchen, and would not join the Church, but they appreciated our efforts to try to “save her soul.”
Gabi going to her baptism, Mannheim, August 5, 1967
After she was baptized and her sins had been washed clean through the atonement of Christ, she was a constant fixture in Church, and participated in every activity available. She brought her baby and the Sisters in the branch helped her care for him while she completed her assignments and activities.
Later she introduced us to her boyfriend. He was a young American soldier stationed Mannheim. He agreed to listen to the discussions, and was soon baptized and confirmed a member of the Church. They attended church at the servicemen’s branch, but often came to the German branch as well. They were soon married, and set a date to be sealed in the Swiss Temple a year from their wedding day. Following my return from my mission I received word that they had kept their commitments and were sealed in the Swiss Temple prior to moving to Virginia. It was a great day when she had her baby sealed to them for eternity in the temple. He was still in the military, and their second child, born in the United States, they named Joseph.
Gabi and Fritz, new converts Mannheim, 1967