A Dream

Today we celebrate Teresa’s 55th birthday. As I always used to take a day off from work to do something special with her, so I did this time. We usually went on a hike to the mountains. Today it came to my mind to write down a dream I had about one and a half years ago with Teresa playing the leading role. I should say that I am dreaming of her very rarely. In addition, after waking up I have either very fragmented memories of my dream or I even do not recall at all what I have dreamt. This is the dream I had in January 2016:

I dreamt of Teresa the other day. In my dream I visited her in hospital. She seemed to be doing quite well actually, and we spoke about going out for lunch. Then a nurse joined us and asked Teresa to follow her to a different room. She said it will only take a short while, but then both of them were gone for a longer time and I began to worry. Eventually, I decided to look for Teresa.

Soon after, I heard loud voices. When I finally found Teresa I realised the nurse was yelling at her. Hearing this, I rebuked her and told her she is not allowed to yell at my wife. However, the nurse reacted very aggressively, and so I tried to push down her hands. As she appeared to be very strong, she resisted and we struggled with each other for a while. The situation was very difficult, and Teresa took advantage of this short moment to pass by me and rescue herself. When I knew Teresa was safe, I let up on the nurse. After this undelightful experience, Teresa and I went to another hospital.

In the other hospital, Teresa had a very small room. At first, she had problems with unlocking the door with her key. She eventually managed to open the door so we could get in. Then we discussed our plans to meet for lunch frequently. I had to cry all the time and told her how happy I was because of her. However, Teresa replied it does not look like I am happy. If I were happy I would not cry without interruption. This answer caused me to feel even unhappier, and I had to cry even more.

Then I asked her about her lymph nodes. Teresa said everything was much better already, and the cancer was not so obvious any more. Of course, she continued, there is not much to be seen, since the cancer is hidden inside of the body. Anyway, after hearing this, I felt great hope that she would be able to recover at last. Together we searched for a place where we could have lunch, but at first we found nothing convenient. There were only shops for household goods and similar stuff, no restaurants.

At this point I woke up. What could be the meaning of this dream? I imagine the nurse represents the academic medicine Teresa deeply distrusted. She found a refuge from academic medicine at a small clinic south of Pirmasens in the Palatinate Forest. There she was given hope for recovery which hope however – as we all unfortunately know – eventually did not come true. On our wedding day, February 12, 2014, we went on a date for dinner for the last time. On a very winding road, we drove across the nearby border to France. I had to drive extremely carefully to not let Teresa feel sick. When we returned to the clinic, however, she felt very weak and eventually had to vomit. At that time I did not realise it, but it has been our last date, and she had been very valiant.

Teresa’s third anniversary of death

On April 14 2014, the Mission President Richard L. Miles and his wife Brenda visited Augsburg and came to the ward meeting house. Both of them wanted to talk to me after the meetings were over, and so we went to an adjoining room where they presented me with  a precious gift: Besides a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD (“Peace like a river”) they also gave me an album with the testimonies of many missionaries who knew Teresa. Some of them even did not know her at all, but have heard of her during their mission. Most of the testimonies and accounts moved me to tears. It became clear to which extent Teresa had internalized her love towards people. This love was her inner motivation and enabled her to achieve exceptional results. I am very grateful for this precious album.


Album of Missionaries

Dear Brother Gebauer,

I am honored to write to you my memory of your dear wife. She is an amazing woman, a great member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a faithful missionary.

The first time I talked with Sister Gebauer was when she approached me very early after we had arrived to serve our Mission. She just wanted me to know that she was available to organize and carry out a musical fireside for the members of the Munich Stake but most importantly for the investigators of our missionaries. She was so excited and persistent. I was beginning to understand what an amazing person she is. Her excitement was very contagious; she never stopped smiling and serving.

The many stories of her missionary work that I continued to hear for the next two and one half years always brought a smile on my face. She was truly an amazing missionary. Sister Gebauer personified the declaration given in a talk by Elder M. Russel Ballard in the fall, 2013 General Conference when he said:

“If you have an abiding love and hope within you, the Lord has promised if you ‘lift up your voices unto this people [and] speak the thoughts that [He] shall put into your hearts, … you shall not be confounded before men’.”

We all know Sister Gebauer was not confounded before men in this life and I am certain she is not being confounded on the other side of the veil. She is a disciple of Christ, through and through, true to the Gospel she loved with all her heart. May we all give of ourselves as she did. We love her very much.

President Richard L. Miles

Continue reading Album of Missionaries

Teresa’s Memorial Site

Today, September 29 2016, is Teresa’s birthday. The creation of her memorial site on the Stätzling cemetery took more than two years, but to my opinion, it has been more than worth waiting for so long.

Recently I took a friend to visit the site and explained to him beforehand that he would get to see a few things Teresa really loved. His spontaneous reply: “That must certainly have something to do with music!” Hearing this made me chuckle. Describing good music in proper manner by words  is surely difficult enough already. But to express it in sculpture would require even more complete artistry. However, besides music other things have been important to Teresa as well. This may be the right moment to mention her cat Mao-Mao. Teresa was not only kind to animals, but she had the gift to empathise with animals in a most special way. And she had a very intimate relationship with him as can be seen on some of the following pictures:

Whenever Teresa left the house, Mao-Mao followed her, accompanied her to the bus and waited for her in front of stores. He indeed was some kind of a soulmate, and she was able to communicate with him on a spiritual level. Following a serious illness, Mao-Mao had to be put to sleep in December 2011. Teresa was deeply convinced she would meet her cat again in the afterlife.

Although Teresa devoted a lot of time to the music, the animals, and finally yet importantly her husband, her life always focused on Jesus Christ and His Gospel. When I thought about how to design Teresa’s memorial site, I found it appropriate to depict those two aspects of her life. Therefore, while discussing with the sculptor, I outlined a combination of sculptures with Christ as main character. In opposite of Him I pictured a kneeling woman holding a cat in her arms and looking at Him. After a long period of planning, I finally was satisfied and granted approval for the manufacture of the sculptures. The Christus figure is an exact replica of the famous Christus Statue of Bertel Thorvaldsen, which can be visited in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Christus he created is kind and opens His arms to welcome all those who want to come unto Him. No other depiction of Christ can compare with it, and I know Teresa loved it a lot. The woman on her knees with the cat represents her. She wears a humble dress, carries Mao-Mao on her arms, and awaits her Redeemer, whose faithful servant she has been throughout her life. The tombstone is elegantly curved, and reads in German and in Chinese: “Thy Will be done.” In fact, these words are her life motto and were her last words before she gradually lost control over her body and consequently also over her language due to her illness. They are an expression of her unwavering and solid faith that deeply imbued her.

Teresa’s memorial site on the Stätzling cemetery invites to take a rest and to ponder. It is supposed to remind of a great, faithful, and christlike woman who would not let the adversities of life throw her off the track and who persistently walked her path. It is supposed to remind us as well that death has no power over us. Thanks to Christ, man one day will rise over death and live eternally in the presence of his creator among those who walked the path before or who still have to walk it.

Teresa has left this path behind her and has entered into the rest of the Lord. She has rid herself of her mortal concerns and, with a joyful heart, waits for a reunion with us still dwelling on this side of the veil.

Teresa’s Second Anniversary of Death

Teresa 1989 at Youth Park in Taipei
Teresa 1989 at Youth Park in Taipei

Today is Teresa’s second anniversary of death. The past two years have been exceedingly turbulent, especially in the beginning. Living without Teresa was just impossible for me to imagine. I did not count the nights crying myself to sleep, or getting up full of grief in the morning trying to fulfill my daily duties somehow, however without any hope of recovery. Neither did I count the sudden attacks of misery haunting me over and over during the day, trying to hide my feelings from my workmates. The comforting words of friends and loved ones – that time will heal all wounds and I would one day recover from that tragic loss – they sounded hollow and vapid to my ears. I thought by myself: They do not have any idea what they are talking about, they did not experience this firsthand. Surprisingly, little by little, I received consolation through something totally different.

At the end of April 2014, Teresa had passed away for not even two months, I began with my search for traces. I could not help being struck by a certain thought: I wanted to contact the Augsburg theatre in order to get an audition for being a member of the extra choir. Teresa herself used to sing in this choir for about five years and has been involved in numerous opera productions at the grand opera house as well as at the open air theatre. I followed the prompting, and to my great surprise I immidiately succeeded to be accepted into the choir. So I spent the early summer 2014 on the open air stage singing My Fair Lady, the musical Teresa had sung at the very same location 15 years before. Many of the choir members of both extra choir and opera choir still knew Teresa and had kept her in good memory. I stepped into a world that had been reserved to Teresa, unknown to me and now opening to me a bit at a time.

What an unparalleled adventure! Teresa always had spoken about music’s healing effect, and now I was doubtlessly able to feel it! My heart filled with gratitude, night after night I stood on the stage – first the open air stage, later the stage of the grand opera house – and experienced the master pieces of music theatre firsthand. The overture of Lohengrin for instance is adorably beautiful, and since the choir was staged as a still life and was not allowed to do the slightest move, I was able to literally absorb the music. The effect was almost hypnotic.

It has been the choir where i met Constanze. She answered my e-mail message I wrote to all extra choir members expressing my gratitude for having been received so well. We wrote one another once in a while, saw each other of course on stage and during rehearsals, and eventually fell in love on January 2 2015, when I accepted her invitation for dinner and visited her in Munich. We have been a couple ever since, however we kept it a secret towards our theatre colleagues for a while. Funnily enough, the director of Macbeth, Lorenzo Fioroni, staged us as a couple in this production, and we strolled over the stage arm in arm although nobody knew that we actually belonged together. Fioroni felt it!

Constanze and me were planning our wedding ceremony for August 8, 2015. This is a special day, as Augsburg is holding the Grand Peace Festival – a public Holiday –, but the civil registry office in Friedberg is opened. One day later we took off to the USA for our honeymoon and spent never-to-be-forgotten days in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas. One of the many highlights of our journey was a rehearsal together with the Tabernacle Choir in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City under conductor Mack Wilberg.

Constanze had to turn her back on her beloved Munich. She quit her job and moved in with me to Friedberg, which meant a great sacrifice to her. One of her first ideas about how to beautify our common home was to enlarge Teresa’s beautiful portrait photo, place it in a nice frame and hang it on the wall in the entrance area. Below the portrait also a Christus statue – a replica of the renowned Thorvaldsen Christus statue – found its place. It has become a beautiful and peaceful site, a site of reverence and remembrance towards a woman with an abundant life who had blessed so many people.

During the recent months, not many postings have been published by me on Teresa’s website – the grief just still weighed too heavily on me. Her legacy and her memory, however, have by no means been forgotten. On the contrary: Today, I am more grateful to her than ever. And the great number of material existing from and about her – in the form of photos, journal entries, discourses, notes, music, and videos – will be made available over time, little by little, as she has deserved it and meanwhile I am feeling capable to do it. For me, Teresa is and has ever been one of the truly great women of our time, and I am overly grateful to my Heavenly Father that he granted me the privilege of taking care of her for the course of 26 wonderful years.

Teresa and Auditions

Participating in auditions is necessary for a singer to be successful, which basically means to become known to a broader audience. Auditions usually take place in a Theatre or at an agency that will find suitable jobs for singers.

Teresa has started taking private voice lessons at the age of 27. Very soon she realized her talent for singing, so when her voice began to develop it is needless to say she was interested in knowing whether she would do well as a singer in front of a wider audience. So one day she applied for an audition in Munich. As far as I can still remember, it was organized by an agency and took place at the Bavaria State Opera house. Later on Teresa told me that the jury seemed to be very pleased with her voice, and they offered her to accept an engagement at an opera house in the provincial backwater. Since she did not want to leave Munich in order to live separated from her husband in a remote town this option for her was not really worth considering.

Later on she was auditioned at the Municipal Theatre in Augsburg and took part in the extra chorus being able to contribute with many productions in the grand hall and on the open-air stage (including My Fair Lady, Frau Luna, Nabucco, Lohengrin, …). However, the theatre environment for various reasons was not suitable for her. For instance she was not pleased with the fact she occasionally needed to perform on Sundays. To her the Sabbath was the day of the Lord and in this respect she would not want to compromise. This was one of the reasons why she soon left the theatre stage again. Instead, on rare occasions she would give recitals for an entire evening or she would perform individual music numbers or – being the Music Chairman of the Munich Stake – she would make sure that others would be given the opportunity to shine.

One day – it must have been in 2007 – she noticed that a well-known conductor in Augsburg was looking for a solo soprano for the performance of sacred works. So she applied and was granted an audition which took place in the concert hall of the University of Augsburg. At this place a Steinway concert grand is located, and Teresa brought a friend of her, a Russian pianist, who was supposed to accompany her during the audition. The conductor took a seat in the audience, and I sat right next to him. Teresa recited some of the pieces she came to appreciate and to love throughout her singing career, particularly works from Puccini, her favourite composer. She had practised and sung these pieces over and over throughout the years, and she visibly felt comfortable with them and in them. I still remember the conductor tracking what was happening on stage with wide eyes, and from time to time he would exclaim with great emotion: “That is virtually incredible!” or “Awesome!”.

Apparently Teresa had made a lasting impression on him. After the audition was over he offered her to sing the soprano role in Mozart’s Requiem which was to be performed at the St. James Church as well as at another venue. Teresa was very happy the conductor placed a great deal of confidence in her and she started preparing for the concerts to her best ability. After all this was the first time she would sing with full orchestra and being a chamber musician she was not used to work under a professional conductor. There were but few soloist rehearsals prior to the concert and when the day of the performance finally arrived, Teresa did not feel very well.

Then happened what had to happen. The rehearsals did not exactly run smoothly, and Teresa did not always get along well with the conducting causing her to be uncertain at times which in turn caused the tenor to have a dig at her. All who are familiar with Teresa know that this kind of behavior certainly does not lead to an increased performance of her. On the contrary her uncertainty increased, and at the day of the concert she had intonation problems and some of her entries did not fit well. Just before the end she omitted an entire beat during her closing solo driving sweat into the conductor’s face. Now even the last auditor in the well-filled church knew that something must have not been quite right.

The second concert went better. But even then somehow the magnificence was lacking, and Teresa’s voice was lacking a bit of the brightness and pervasive presence normally characterising her. To this day I cannot comprehend the reaction of the conductor. Instead of comforting her and discussing the cause of the flaws with her in order to avoid them next time, he dropped Teresa like a hot potato and never talked to her again. Furthermore, she was deprived of the fee that actually would have been due to her. When I look back on this experience only one term comes into my mind: Malevolence. This shows us quite plainly how big a role vanity is playing in the professional music world. Sad to say, benevolence can scarcely be found in this métier. Understandably enough, Teresa refrained from further audition adventures after this experience. She very much preferred her role as observer, tutor, and teacher.

Funeral Service – Address of Lutz Herber

In his poem Abendlied (evening song) the German poet Matthias Claudius writes:

“Behold the moon – and wonder why half of her stands yonder, yet she is round and fair. We follow empty visions and artisans’ ambitions because our minds are unaware.”

Some of us may have known Teresa Gebauer only while she was standing on stage as a soloist or chorister inspiring the audience with her soprano voice and attired in an evening gown. If you would have met her 14 days later in the meetinghouse – wearing a pair of jeans, sweater, and carrying vacuum cleaner and cleaning bucket – you might not even have recognised her. This also was another half of that moon we may not have been aware of.

Teresa Gebauer Wang was a devout Latter-day Saint, and the purpose of life for her was not to coquet with her musical talents. Instead she saw her mission in being there for others – also of course with her musical talents, but also simply by hands-on serving and fulfilling less esteemed tasks and assignments. She was fully aware of the fact that this life is the time we prepare to face our creator again any time. Moreover in our ward she was called as a teacher, teaching the principles of the Gospel to children of a certain age group – about five or six years old –very affectionately every Sunday. She not only took the children to her heart, but the children loved her as well and they burst into tears when they learned last Sunday that their beloved Teresa will not return. And one of her pupils, six year old Dennis, painted a farewell picture, a picture depicting this day today, the subsequent interment that is still to take place, and he explained what he has painted. It shows Teresa with a weeping sun and weeping people who carry her to her grave. But Teresa is laughing because she beholds Jesus! She can see him. In his poem Von guten Mächten (By Gracious Powers) the marvellous protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhöfer writes amongst other things:

“By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered, and confidently waiting come what may, we know that God is with us night and morning, and never fails to greet us each new day.”

Her life was determined by this certainty that she is clothed in the love of a loving Father in Heaven, and of his son Jesus Christ.

And she shared this love with others. She spoke with others about her faith and was able to cast a spell over people by means of her faith. For instance she was present in our meetinghouse on certain days in order to welcome visitors of our family history centre and to provide help with their family research when necessary. And one of those couples yesterday wrote an email of condolence to me. I would like to briefly quote from this message. They write:

“We have met Mrs. Gebauer Wang for the purposes of genealogy and have grown to like her. We will very much miss her friendly manner, the wonderful discussions and conversations and her willingness to help. We are very grateful we had the pleasure of getting to know her.”

She has now passed into another sphere of existence where she is wonderfully sheltered by gracious powers and awaits the day to be reunited with her husband Wolfgang to live with him in eternity. This wonderful faith of six year old Dennis, who painted the picture, is an example and a pattern for us. Children are great. Their simple way of having faith and not bringing everything into question or wanting to know an answer for everything, but being able to accept something knowing as it is should be an example for us. Jesus Christ once called a child to him, set him in the midst of a multitude and said:

“Except ye … become [as pure and faithful] as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3.)

Teresa possessed this childlike faith in the positive sense. And during the difficult weeks of her illness she never lost her confidence in the love of God. Now today we say farewell to her, knowing that one day we will face this very hour as well. And then it is my hope that we can say we have tried our best to lead a good life and to love our neighbour. And as we know we are only in the service of our God when we are in the service of our fellow beings. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Funeral Service – Life of Teresa Part 4

Earlier on the question arose why Teresa did not focus her energy on one of her many talents in order to really cause a stir with it. Her voice for instance always brought Maria Callas to my mind. One single note sung by her was enough to know: This is her! Callas was Teresa’s only example regarding vocal technique, timbre and charisma. It is interesting to notice that Maria Callas grew but a few years older than Teresa; however she passed away as a lonely and unhappy woman, whereas Teresa – as far as I can judge – has been leading a happy and fulfilling life. She would never have wanted to do a swap with her. Though Callas received the applause of the world she was unhappy as she had to subordinate everything to one sole objective: becoming world-famous.

This question is not easy to resolve, but there is one principle behind it: Teresa’s journal entries imply she has used plenty of time to refine her character and to develop christlike attributes with the aim of drawing closer to God. She always felt inspired to learn the will of God and put it into practice without asking lots of questions.

Without any doubt she felt sincere, unfeigned joy when she was able to help others to develop their talents. While she was serving as Stake Music Chairman she initiated many activities causing ongoing excitement among all participants. At about the same time when the Kammerchor Vocalis was established she laid the foundation of the Deseret Vokalensemble. It was supposed to support and to strengthen all units within the entire Stake area with regards to musical activities fostering mission work. Over many years the ensemble performed on numerous occasions in all Stake units. The Deseret Vokalensemble was almost exclusively driven by Teresa’s energy and sustained by the enthusiasm of the participants. She meticulously would plan the rehearsals and make sure everyone who participated was kept in a good mood. She would always bring something delicious to eat when people rehearsed. She relentlessly would travail in order to give a treat to as many people as possible and to plant the seed of the Gospel into their hearts.

Later on she initiated the legendary Musical and Film Score Nights. She managed to motivate a great number of people with varying background to participate and especially focused on the youth. Her organising abilities will forever be unforgettable. Until today it is a mystery to me how it was possible to mount events within a few months with relatively little rehearsal time capturing the imagination of all age groups.

Teresa always stood for enthusiasm. She was the most enthusiastic person I have ever met and she was living for her righteous goals.

Her most essential feature maybe was the ability to look deep into the souls of others and to win people’s sincere and heartfelt friendship. This affection brought about her sharing the Gospel with others. She was involved with numerous conversions without accepting any credit for that. She rather preferred to stay in the background, which is why she could hardly be heard in Church as solo singer. Instead she always would yield to others.

The last three weeks of her life must have been very difficult for Teresa. Her body deteriorated in strength and motivity almost every day, her faculty of speech was increasingly impaired and eventually she was helpless as a small child and had to be fed. However, she did not drink or eat enough for her tortured and aching body to ever recover to full strength again. I was with her around the clock and was animated with but one desire: to serve her exclusively without doing anything else. She eventually passed away in peace in my arms on Thursday, March 6, 2014, at 2 o’clock in the morning. She did not feel any pain and passed into eternity with a smile on her face.

A few weeks before while Teresa already was plagued with heavy pain in the cancer clinic in the Palatinate Forest, she wrote a song I discovered in a music booklet lying on the table in her room. Melody and lyrics bear testimony of her sublime talent, of the fierce battle she was fighting, and of her hope to see again her heavenly home. This burning desire of her has now been fulfilled.

Click here in order to have access to the MP3 files of the funeral service with Teresa’s composition Ich komm aus einer Welt.

Funeral Service – Life of Teresa Part 3

Teresa was family and home centered. She loved her family very much, and since family history plays an important part in the Church she wanted to identify her family in China by all means. However, after having moved away from China there were no connections to the remaining family at all. Following now is a report written by Teresa herself originally intended for being published in the Liahona magazine:

United Forever

I have been raised in a traditional Buddhist family in Taiwan. Ever since my youth I have been searching for the true creator. At the age of 18 I found the Church of God and quickly decided to get baptized. Just like many converted Latter-day Saints, after my baptism I was facing a number of challenges. Since I became a member of a foreign Church, my brothers thought I did something shameful to our ancestors. My mother disagreed with my decision as well. However, she had compassion with me due to the accusations of my brothers. So an entire year went by, and my mother became sick beyond recovery.

While she was ill she frequently spoke about her family in China she never met again after she had to leave China. Due to political circumstances she never had the chance to contact them. I could feel her great yearning for her family in her native homeland. However, at that time I was too young to fully comprehend all her concerns. Though my mother was not a Latter-day Saint she was a virtuous woman. She would keep the family together after my father was taken severely ill and eventually passed away 10 years before. She was the best mother I could imagine, and she dedicated all her life to her children until the very end. The most wonderful and last experience I had with her happened one day shortly before she passed away when she was lying in the bed aching with pain. I asked her whether she would want to pray with me, since the God I had faith in would be able to relieve her pain. She agreed, and so together we spoke our first and last prayer. After we finished she was able to sleep quietly. A few days later she peacefully passed into the Spiritual World.

As new members of the Church we are taught we should do family research and perform sacred ordinances in the temple vicariously for deceased family members. This is what I did for my parents. After this was done I thought my duty is fulfilled, since I would not know how to carry on my family history work. Unfortunately, the information left behind by my parents was extremely sparse.

Then came a turning point, because the Lord let me know that what I had been doing for my ancestors was not at all yet sufficient.

In October 2003 President James E. Faust spoke about family research at General Conference. His teachings deeply penetrated my heart and would not leave hold of me any more. I had the feeling he spoke to me in particular. All the time I had to think of my ancestors in China and of my mother. I realized I needed to take action. Fortunately at that time the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan politically had moved together closer. It was possible for Taiwanese citizens to travel to the Mainland in order to visit their relatives. The Mainland Chinese Government created a department for Taiwanese citizens to get help with identifying their relatives in China. So I planned my first family history trip to China.

In the spring of 2004 I arrived in the native town of my parents, in Wuhan. With the help of the aforementioned government department I was able to identify the area where my parents used to live. However, the names of the places had changed and many genealogical records had been destroyed during the “Cultural Revolution”, making things even more difficult. I could not stop thinking of Nephi who was always intent on keeping the commandments: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Nephi 3:7.) So while searching for my living relatives I walked from village to village, step by step. One week later I finally found the street where my father used to live. An old man sat by the roadside. I inquired him after my family. Suddenly he looked at me with sparkling eyes and asked: “Do you know who I am? I am your uncle, the brother of your father!” He told me much about my parents and introduced his entire kinsfolk to me. That was just the beginning of the family history miracle.

One year later I resumed my family research. With the help of my living relatives in China I found a number of ancestor books in a remote place with a record of descent and history of my father’s family extending over more than three centuries. I was exhuberantly happy, however I was not able to identify my relatives on my mother’s side. The government department promised to do more research on my behalf about my mother’s family after my departure from China.

Several years went by, but I did not receive any word from the Chinese authorities. I was yearning more and more for eventually finding out something about my mother’s family. Early in 2011 I decided to travel to China again in order to find my mother’s younger brother. But where should I go? How could I accomplish it? Before my departure I asked my husband for a Priesthood blessing. Then I faithfully set forth on my journey into the unknown.

I knew my grandfather – my mother’s father – was highly esteemed in his neighbourhood due to his willingness to help others. There should be someone who has heard of him, or there should be any clues to be found that would lead me to his descendants. I decided to once again call upon the government department. The officials told me they were not able to identify anyone and apologised there was nothing more they could do. I left the authorities with great disappointment. Desperately I asked my Heavenly Father: “What shall I do? Shall I give up? If you do not want me to give up, where do you want me to go?” At the same time I noticed a few people animatedly conversing on the street. I inquired them about my family. They discussed a little and then the oldest of the women replied: “You rather turn around and go back. There is an old man living on the right side of the street about 100 meters away. He might know more.” I did what I was told. There was an old man indeed playing mahjong with a few other guests in his house. We talked for some minutes, but I soon realised my grandfather was unknown to him. I was about to leave when a very old woman sitting at the gambling table exclaimed: “I used to know such a man. His grandchildren are living closeby.” I was overwhelmed with joy. Soon after I had found one of my cousins. Through her I was able to get in contact with my mother’s younger brother. He told me how much he missed us. He had been travelling to Taiwan twice in vain in order to try to locate us. Filled with joy I remembered what has been promised to me in the blessing I received before my departure: “Your ancestors will guide you, and you will find them.” I also had to think of the scripture I had been reading that morning: “And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst. … I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward.” (3 Nephi 21:25-29.) All of a sudden I conceived how the work of the Lord is accomplished. We do not only work with the living but also with the deceased on the other side and with the angels. We are all linked to each other by means of the Priesthood and we are all reliant on each other. Thus we reach out and help each other.

The words of Malachi are true. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ the true meaning of the family is revealed. The gap between life and death is bridged by the power of heaven. We are verily lost without divine help. God enables us to see our family from a different point of view such that our appreciation for the bond of love between family members is greatly enlarged. When we turn our hearts to the hearts of our ancestors our love is powerfully growing, and how great are the hope and joy we thus receive! The Lord has restored his authority and he has thus enabled us to perform sacred ordinances in the temple for and in behalf of our ancestors. Together with them we hereby can feel the greatest joy God has promised to his children. Knowing this truth makes me feel humble and grateful.

Following we will hear the Recordare from the Requiem by Mozart. Recordare means to remember, and I do love remembering Teresa’s angelic voice hovering over the voices of the other singers.

Click here in order to have access to the MP3 files of the funeral service with the Recordare from the Mozart Requiem.

Funeral Service – Life of Teresa Part 2

Teresa never denied a calling in Church. She believed in the authority of the Priesthood conferred by God and knew she would insult God if she would reject a calling brought to her attention. In her journal she states:

„My wish to serve is so strong that I never feared to accept any calling. I wish to draw nearer to God and to gain further knowledge through what I am doing.“

This attitude enabled her to achieve excellent results in the assignments given to her. Shortly after her baptism for instance she was called to be choir leader but had no experience neither in conducting nor with music in general. So she sat down, prayed and got down to work. She truly was hungry for knowledge and read and learnt a lot. The foundation for this attitude was laid in those days, and she kept this hunger for knowledge and her eagerness to learn for a lifetime. As choir leader she became very successful with her little ward choir. With this choir she once even participated in a choir contest eventually won by her.

Teresa has embraced the Gospel completely and utterly and unconditionally with every fibre of her being. As logic consequence, she therefore prepared for fulfilling a mission. When she turned 21 years old she was at first called to serve in the Taipei Mission for five months from where she was sent to serve another regular mission of 18 months in the Taichung Mission. This means altogether she served her mission for almost two years. Up until then her mission time was the happiest time in her life, and she frequently would share with me special experiences she had. When we both travelled in Taiwan we would also visit some of her former places of activity where lots of good memories were brought to life again.

After her return from Mission life was difficult. Teresa accepted a job in a restaurant where she was responsible for accounting and also was serving as waitress. She worked hard in order to make her living. If I remember well she was supposed to have only two days off every month, but she insisted to be free on Sunday in order to be able to attend Church meetings. On all other days she needed to work from early morning until late at night.

I met Teresa short time before her 25th birthday, two years after she had returned from her mission. We met in the restaurant in opposite of my place of work, the newly erected National Theatre in the centre of Taipei right next to the Chiang-Kai-Shek Memorial Park. When I tried to date her she told me she did not have much time and it would only be possible on Sunday. She invited me to come to Church with her and then have a walk in a park nearby. That is what we did, and soon we developed great trust which encouraged me to invite her to come to Germany in order to show her my native country and to introduce her to my mother.

Five months after we met for the first time – on February 12, 1988 – we got married and moved to Germany. At that time not as many foreigners as nowadays were living in Germany, and for a long time Teresa did not seem to feel well and accepted. Time after time she would tell me how homesick she was, however, she found joy and strength in the Gospel and increasingly in the music as well.

She had a beautiful voice by nature and started taking singing lessons. A little while later she also took piano lessons. Soon after she acquired a broad repertoire of art songs and opera arias. If you want to study singing in Germany you must not be older than 25 years when you apply for the admission examination. Therefore it was necessary for Teresa to take private singing and piano lessons. She loved singing very much and her voice developed quickly. She was a high soprano being able to reach the high E flat. Moreover, she had a flexible voice like a coloratura soprano, but with a more beautiful and round timbre, and she was able to perform even dramatic parts powerfully without sounding penetrating or sharp. Her singing voice was blessed with a high recognition value, but at the same time it was versatile as well. Moreover, she took dancing lessons with a chinese dance instructor who introduced her to the art of peacock dance. With this she also attained a very high level during her first years in Germany, and she danced in public on a number of occasions.

Teresa’s culinary art was legendary. The skills she was taught by her mother enabled her to improvise and vary at will without using a recipe book. She would not only cook dishes from her home country for numerous excited missionaries who went in and out of our home, but also dishes from Germany and other countries or she would simply invent new ones. All this she did at breathtaking speed.

 I sometimes believe she could have found worldwide acclaim on each of the beforementioned fields if she would have expended the necessary effort and would have subjected all her objectives to but one ambition. The question may arise why she did not do it. I would like to expand on this a little later.

 After having overcome the initial difficulties Teresa picked up a very good German with a remarkable accent-free pronunciation. Also the rolling R – for sure desperately necessary in artistic singing – was no problem for her. She once told me she needed to practice for a very long time in order to have mastery of the rolling R. But when she had the chance to practice and to learn she was completely in her element.

Once before in Munich Teresa very succesfully served as escort interpreter for Siemens. In this role she was looking after Chinese delegations, escorted them on guided tours and in restaurants and took care for them. She often developed deep affection for the reference persons she was dealing with. For instance it was common in those days that smoking was allowed in restaurants. Since most Chinese are heavy smokers, the official banquets frequently took place in a very smoky atmosphere. Teresa valiantly endured this, however, she always very kindly would point out to her leader it would seriously affect his health if he continued with smoking so heavily.

She once told me a few years later she met him again on the street. He apparently suffered from larynx cancer and great parts of his head were deformed by the disease and also by surgery such that she hardly could recognize her former boss. They briefly talked on the street and he regretted he did not listen to Teresa’s counsel back then. Soon after she had to cope with the news about his passing away and she wept bitterly for him since she sincerely liked him.

Teresa was a born teacher and she understood children very well. The reason for this could be that she managed to keep a childlike and cheerful disposition in the best sense. She was able to see the world through they eyes of a child, she laughed a lot, and sometimes it would happen that she answered the phone and the person on the other end of the line would ask her to call her Dad to the phone. I sometimes would tease her with that.

It was a piece of luck for her that one day she got the offer to teach in a private music school in Aichach since she did not have any formal education. Instead, she acquainted all of her skills in private music lessons. A Russian friend quit her job as piano teacher at the School and she asked Teresa to continue teaching instead of her. So Teresa introduced herself at the music school and got the job as piano teacher and vocal Coach.

Many times I witnessed how well Teresa responded to her students. She purchased loads of sheet music and other material in order to make learning an interesting experience and she had the gift to adjust herself to the needs of every student. Teresa always thought that good music can heal wounded souls, and she planted her sincere and heartfelt love for music into the hearts of her students. She completely lost herself in this assignment.

A recent anecdote may provide evidence for that. When on January 2nd 2014 Teresa had the intake interview with the head physician of the cancer clinic he told her she needed to stay at least five consecutive weeks for therapy, maybe even longer. Teresa replied this would in no way be possible. She would need to be back within two weeks at the latest in order to go on teaching her students. She overran for one week already and she would have problems to catch up on the lost lessons.

Moreover, she said, she could not disappoint her boss. The senior physician was very much surprised to hear this, and when two weeks later it became obvious to Teresa she would have to remain in the hospital she was deeply saddened and hesitated to call her boss in order to tell him she would be absent for such  a long time.

Following we hear a very intimate song performed by Teresa 2005 in a recital in the kleiner goldener Saal in Augsburg which perfectly shows her longing for simple Beauty.

 Click here in order to have access to the MP3 files of the funeral service with the song Amarilli mia bella.