A simple act of kindness by one woman changed the life not only of an entire family, but our entire Church, leading to the conversion of our beloved apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
After President Dieter F. Uchtorf posted a picture of himself and his wife in their home with a beautiful painting behind them, many people began asking about that painting.
It turns out the story behind that painting happens to be the story of President Uchtdorf's conversion, one he shared on Facebook:
On January 13, I posted a photo of Sister Uchtdorf and I seated beneath a painting in our home. Several of you asked about this painting. I’d like to share with you the story behind it, as it shows a wonderful moment in my life that shaped its course forever.
At the end of World War II, my father was drafted into the German army. As the fighting moved from Russia toward our town in Czechoslovakia, my mother felt we would be safest if we fled to Germany, where her parents were living.
After an extremely long and treacherous journey on a refugee train, we reached our grandparents’ home in Zwickau, East Germany. There were frequent nighttime air raids, and I recall going to a bomb shelter some distance from our home. During these dark and dangerous times, it was a constant challenge to find food, clothing, and shelter. Whenever we heard that something might be available, we would stand in line, not knowing what goods might be offered.
One day, my grandmother Auguste Opelt was standing in such a line, talking to the person next to her. The person was a friendly, elderly, white-haired lady who invited my grandmother to come to her church services on Sunday. She immediately liked this woman and wanted to hear more about her church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Soon our entire family was going to church with this dear woman.
After a time of darkness, fear, and disaster, light came back into our lives because of the gospel. All this was made possible for us by a wonderful angel-like sister. Her act of kindness, though it may have seemed small at the time, changed all of our lives forever. Interestingly enough, this elderly, single sister’s name is “Ewig,” which translates into English as “Sister Eternal.”
We never know what kind of eternal impact our everyday acts of kindness may have for others. How eternally grateful my family is for our own “Sister Eternal.” This story shows the power of one.