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

I have always admired Sister Gebauer since the first day I met her. She has such a contagious smile and is so warm and friendly to everyone she meets.

She has so many wonderful qualities – especially her musical talents! There were so many musical productions that she took the time to put together for all the people in the Stake and community. It was always so fun to come and see the Broadway musical excerpts that we performed so beautifully. She helped many people share her musical talents through these programs and productions.

I enjoy the music that the group she was a big part of with “Vocalis”. It was such a professional group, and I know she had a big part in the excellent music they created. We loved one of the CDs so much – we bought many of them to give to our missionaries as a wedding gift!

Aside from her musical talents – I think her greatest attribute throughout her life was her desire to share the Gospel with any and everyone she came in contact with. She was truly a dedicated member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many hours were spent in her lifetime teaching lessons with the missionaries and she was such an amazing example to our missionaries. We are so thankful for her great example of always being a missionary.

Isn’t it wonderful to understand the Plan of Salvation – and to know that we will all be with her again some day! I know she is busy right now continuing the missionary work she so diligently did on this earth!

Sister Brenda Miles

 Dear Bishop Gebauer,

I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I have so many fond memories of the time I was able to spend as a missionary in Augsburg, and most of them include you and your wife.

I think that my two favorite memories were when I had the opportunity to perform together with your wife, once when we sang a duet of The Phantom of the Opera during the closing gala event (after the ward’s family history booth at the city expo), and the other was when I played guitar for her solo at the local Chinese New Year celebration (picture attached).

She was such a gifted singer and a wonderful example of someone that was always eager to share her talents with those around her. I am sure that she is working just as hard now, sharing her wonderful spirit and continuing to show love to all her brothers and sisters. And she is surely waiting anxiously to be reunited with you again.

I wish you the very best and hope that you know that your family, and the other wonderful members  of the Augsburg ward will always have a special place in my heart.

Your brother, Kevin M. Brown

What I love most about Teresa Gebauer: She was always prepared. Literally with everything! Helping someone, serving someone, loving someone. She was always prepared, and the Lord knew He could always rely on her.

Once I was at her home, and it was my birthday. I had turned 21 and was tremendously homesick. She secretly went into the kitchen and returned with a nice cake for me in her hands. She was prepared. No one was able to escape from her attention! On my first preparation day in Augsburg she called us, and we went everywhere to visit people. Afterwards, she bought us ice cream. On this day I wrote into my journal:

Today Sister Gebauer took us to visit Sister Hendriock. She is old and hilarious. She is deaf and has to shout in a scratchy old voice to be understood. She is very lonely and just awaiting for her time to go. As we sat with her, she began to brighten up, Sister Gebauer stroked her head and hands, and when we got up to leave she grabbed Sister Gebauer’s arm tightly and looked at us all with tears in her eyes.

“My husband is dead!” she screeched at us. She just looked down. … After a few seconds she looked back up at Sister Gebauer and shouted “Do you love me?” Sister Gebauer said “Yes, I do love you very much.” Sister Hendriock wanted to know if we loved her. An overwhelming sense of love came over Sister Powell and I. I’ve never felt more on the Lord’s errand. There are people to see and families to teach, but I am convinced that if Christ was in Augsburg the day, that’s where he would have been. Sitting next to Sister Hendriock telling her that he loved her.

I love Sister Gebauer, and I am already looking forward to seeing her again. We will sit down with Sister Hendriock and talk together about everything we did. About our missions and about how difficult the German language is. My motto which ever since helped me to safely press forward came from a book Sister Gebauer once gave me:

“A gifted person ought to learn English in 30 hours, French in 30 days and German in 30 years. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it.” (Mark Twain, The Awful German Language.)

Sister Olivia Christianson

 Dear Brother Gebauer,

I received the sad news about Sister Gebauer from President Miles. I could hardly believe it. I was not aware she was fighting against breast cancer. I will always be grateful for the example you and your wife set for me.

I would like to share a few of my thoughts. Sister Gebauer always helped us very much. She was always looking for opportunities to help people and to share her beliefs. A couple of times she invited us to visit an elderly neighbor to rake the leaves in her garden. We had lots of fun, and the neighbor was very grateful for the help we offered.

I will never forget the help Elder York and I received while we were planning the baptismal service for John and Moses. We did not know what to do regarding the musical setting. We pondered a little and then asked Teresa for help. She agreed and accepted the assignment. Within less than a week she had organized an entire choir for the baptism. Everyone’s heart was deeply touched by the profound spirituality the music conveyed. The program was magnificent! Unfortunately I missed to record it, otherwise I would have the chance to watch it over and over again.

I am really grateful I had the chance to meet Sister Gebauer during her lifetime. I also miss her very much, and I extend my deepest sympathy to you. Do not forget she is dwelling with her Heavenly Father and you are both united in eternity. Be faithful and do the best you can.

In heartfelt sympathy

Elder Adam Evans (in Augsburg June-November 2013)

 So I wanted to share a really powerful experience that I have had. So as you know we have been privileged to be a part of Sister Gebauer’s passing away. So I came to find out that nobody in the ward except the Bishop and a missionary who was home and the husband knew until after she was gone.

They had a funeral for her at the Church, and the entire Stake as well as several wards from other Stakes and people from countries all over the world showed up. I was able to talk to a lot of them and listen to the talks and testimonies and stories of this sister… I was shocked…

I did not think it was possible for a person like her to make that big of a difference, she was not anyone in any leadership position, she did not have any big calling or even a super amazing job. She was just her. But she lived her life to the fullest. I went through our area book and every single progress record has Sister Gebauer’s name on it.

She shared her testimony with everyone, she loved, she served. She was so selfless. I could not believe it. And Brother Gebauer is a soldier. I cannot believe the faith and the power of that family. He came to Church 3 days after she had died. When asked why he came, he simply said she would want me to.

I cannot justify this story in the least bit but completely “normal” woman who simply did everything she could, impacted so many lives by simply serving and being there for everyone. I am so bummed that I never got to meet her, but even though I have never met her, her story has really touched me and inspires me to “lift where I stand” and to do everything I can with everything I got.

Let that be a lesson for us all, one is never too small to make a difference. She is an example of a disciple of Jesus Christ, and Brother Gebauer, wow! I hope that if I ever have to go through something like this I will have the faith and testimony that he has.

Elder Jacen Sponseller

 I had the opportunity to work with Sister Gebauer while I was serving in the Munich 3 ward. A very sweet girl from Taiwan named Chia-Ling had several years earlier learned about the Church but because of family troubles she could not join. She came to us after searching for years through other churches but knew that she had felt the fullness here. She came to us ready with the desire to be baptized very quickly.

My companion and I were both very new to missionary work and we knew that it would be hard to prepare her alone and help her develop faith enough to endure to the end, and we knew it would be hard for us to explain everything to her in German as well.

Sister Gebauer was so ready willing to help. As soon as she understood the situation she reached out to Chia-Ling with so much love. She invited her to her home; she gave her a Triple Combination Set which Chia-Ling eagerly read. She came several times to Munich to be a joint teach, where she explained to her thoroughly her Gospel questions in German and Chinese and she eagerly brought others to her baptism so they could feel the Spirit that was there.

Because of the care that Sister Gebauer gave to Chia-Ling it was so much easier for Chia-Ling to stay committed to helping others in the Church and she really saw how we are supposed to be a family and to support one another. She made comments often of how the Church is like a family. I am very grateful for the example that she was for me as a missionary and the help that she was for a new member of our Church.

Sister Rebecca Smith

 I met her a few times while serving in the Munich 3rd ward. There are a few memories that I wanted to send that, although small, made an impression in my life. First I apologize this is in English. I didn’t know if German or English would be better, but I feel I can better adequately express the thoughts of my heart in English.

One wonderful memory I had with her was when she befriended dear Chia-Ling, a Chinese new convert member from the 3rd ward. Chia-Ling had a birthday celebration one day and all of the people who came to that, Sister Gebauer came and helped out with all the cooking and made a beautiful cake. She put her heart into everything and everyone walked away from that experience filled not only with cake but with the love of Christ.

This is actually not one, many instances when I met her in the kitchen of the Church while she was working away, with a huge smile on her face. She was always so friendly and willing to meet anyone who came in the kitchen. It didn’t matter if she knew you or not. I always felt instant acceptance from her.

As missionaries you work a lot with people you don’t know. But I knew I could always rely on her to smile and be a source of peace even though I barely knew her. That is the feeling I imagine people felt their first time meeting Christ: unconditional love without judgement or guile.

I’m so grateful for the time I had to serve with her and experience her wonderful and strong spirit. She will be an incredible missionary on the other side. She was a part of what my mission has made of me and in turn will ripple out to my kids, their friends, their friend’s friends and their kids, my grandkids, great grandkids and so on. Life is so short and precious. I’m honored to have had a small part of the full life Sister Gebauer had.

Best wishes and with Love,

Sister Nicole Packer (served in München 3 with Sister Rebecca Smith and Sister Michelle Jaynes, July 25 2013 – November 28 2013)

In the fall of 2011, we began teaching a young woman from China named Hui. She spoke good English, but not enough to completely understand what we were trying to teach her about the Gospel. After learning about our situation, Sister Gebauer travelled almost weekly from Augsburg to Munich in order to interpret our lessons and bear her testimony of the Gospel to Hui. Sister Gebauer played a vital role in Hui’s conversion, and they became very close friends. This is just one example of Sister Gebauer’s love of other people, shown through her commitment to sharing the Gospel.

Elder Solomon Anderson

 Gosh, I was so sad when I received this email. I didn’t know Teresa that well, but I often saw her as she was busy in Munich a lot. She was simply a light in the darkness for all of us. Her voice, her testimony – simply everything.

I remember a birthday party last year in October. She decided to organize something for Chia-Ling (Angela), and we celebrated together. She cooked delicious spaghetti and did everything for Angela to spend a wonderful day with us.

The musical numbers she organized were always special. For instance the musical night in October, the Christmas concerts and Teresa’s beautiful voice. At Stake Conference in November she conducted the choir. That was really fabulous! Never before I have felt the Spirit that strong through music. I found myself in tears because she has given all of us a little more light and spiritual knowledge.

Teresa really has made a difference in my life. The same was true for the life of others whom she has met. I am so sad to hear of your loss!

Elder Nick Gochnour

 Sister Gebauer was a great disciple of Christ. Augsburg was my first city on my mission – I stayed there for altogether 7 months. I had lots of great experiences in Augsburg, and I believe the reason why this time was so special to me was due to Sister Gebauer. I was told before she was enthusiastic for mission work. I still remember she sometimes would arrange an appointment for us with people who were less active or inactive and whom we didn’t know for this reason. And then she even accompanied us and helped us as a joint teach! The always treated the investigators with affection, and she was always ready to take care of them.

We knew the doors of her home were always open to the missionaries. When Udo prepared for baptism – the first conversion I witnessed on my mission – her contribution was very important. I am grateful the Gebauer family became friends with Udo when he was taught by the missionaries. That helped a lot.

Moreover, Sister Gebauer was very talented. My companion, Elder Hyatt, once sang in an activity she had organized, and I operated the projector. It really was a spiritual event with her contributing so much time and energy. It brought me great joy and my faith in Jesus Christ was really strengthened.

Sister Gebauer was the last familiar person I saw before I left Augsburg. Before my departure, she met me at the train station and gave me a big bag with sweets and a cuddly toy. I guess she was even sadder than I was. This gave a very special feeling, and I was very thankful for this „personal touch“ as we call it on mission. This token came during a time I felt myself being forgotten a little, and so it was much easier for me to depart from Augsburg with good feelings in my heart.

I will always remember Sister Gebauer as being someone who was constantly ready to serve others and to help. She indeed had true charity towards all people and the wish to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. I am very grateful I was being able to get to know her and to learn from her example. I know that all missionaries in Augsburg will be greatly missing her.

Love, Elder Gordon Peterson

 Dear Brother Gebauer,

I had one of the most wonderful experiences on my mission when I was at your home together with Elder York, Udo and David. In fact Elder George was Elder York’s companion, but at that time he was in hospital with an infection, so I came to Augsburg for an extended exchange. There was great food, we talked a lot, and had much fun. Completely new to me was a dessert your wife made for us: it was something Chinese with little white balls in it. I will never forget it!

Even long time after I had left the Munich Stake I still remembered how beautiful the music was with each Stake Activity. It was truly wonderful! I wish you all the best and send you many greetings! I am very grateful for the Gospel and for the people whom I can share this message with. I am also grateful for your example. You showed me how to lead a faithful life.

Love, Elder Niklas Aardema (the guy who is half Dutch)

Dear Brother Gebauer,

I don’t know you personally, but I am really sorry you lost your wife. I cannot imagine how hard it is for you. I can just say that God is beside you and your wife is in good hands and you will have the opportunity to see her after you finish your journey here. Don’t despair! It will be good in the end. God loves you! And he will take care of you! I will pray for you. Everything will be ok.

Elder Mihai Petcu (Elder in Switzerland)

I don’t know what exactly I can write. But I want to share some experiences I had with Sister Gebauer (Wang Jiemei). I got to know Sister Gebauer at my first Stake Conference of the Munich Stake, and I was so happy to know and to see someone from my own home country after such a long time! Immediately, I felt so close to her.

Later I got to know her a little bit better from the short visit we had to Augsburg. She was planning the lesson with that lesser active Chinese family, so we could visit them and strengthen their faith by sharing the General Conference talks. And we had a wonderful time at your place for the dinner and got to know her other Chinese friend.

I learnt that Sister Gebauer was a true follower of Christ, and she was strengthening each and everyone around her. She used her talent, her passion for the Gospel, and her love to the people to show all of us how the Gospel really brought so much comfort and joy and so many blessings in her life. She is such a perfect and wonderful example to me.

I remember my mother writing to me in her emails, saying that when Br. and Sr. Gebauer went to Taiwan during Easter break, they took time to visit my mother in Kaohsiung. I am so thankful that they were willing to do that. Because it has brought my mother a lot of comfort, knowing someone from my mission who has seen me hand has contact with me and can speak Chinese! My mother told me she enjoyed their company a lot!

One of the greatest experiences I had with Sister Gebauer was at Angela’s (Yeh Chia-Ling’s) baptism. Not only were Br. and Sr. Gebauer there, they even brought a friend over, Mr. Chen. She gave an awesome talk at the service, testifying the truth to all of us with the Spirit. And right after the baptismal service, she held on any chance she had to help this friend of her to know more about the Gospel.

We sat down in a circle with Angela the new convert in a room, we started to teach Mr. Chen, we worked together with the Spirit to know Mr. Chen’s desire to be baptized. Every time when I heard her bearing her testimony it was always so gentle, soft, sincere, natural, yet strong deep and touching. I may not remember the words she said, but I will never forget the confirming, firing feeling I had in my heart when she bore her testimony or shared her experiences.

I miss her so much! I wish I could have learnt more from her. I am thankful for knowing the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, thankful to have the knowledge of the Plan of Happiness. I know she is doing exactly the same thing she was doing when she was here: Missionary work! And massive missionary work! I am happy for her because she has fought the great war. She found the truth, and because of the restoration of the Priesthood, she is now sealed with her dear family for all eternity! And she has truly endured until the end!

I love her and miss her tremendously, but I know I will see her again! I know this, because I know the Gospel is true! And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Amen.

Love, Sister Lin from Taiwan

 Memory #1: I met Sister Gebauer on the very first Sunday in the mission. Sister Christianson and I were feeling a little lost, trying to find a Church building we had never been to – when we suddenly found ourselves passing the said building, going in the wrong direction! We quickly got out and took the Tramway the other way. As we got out the tramway, we saw two other ladies who looked like they might be members on their way to Church.

They quickly confirmed this by running up to us with warm smiles and big hugs and saying “Welcome Sisters! We are so enthusiastic to have Sisters again with us!” (or something like that). One was Mandy, and the other one was the wonderful Sister Gebauer. They quickly became our “familiar faces” in a building of soon to be friends. They introduced us to the members, showed us where to go for classes, and sat by us during sacrament. I don’t remember too much else from that first Sunday, except the feelings of being lost and alone totally being swept away by the Christlike love of such wonderful angel!

Memory #2: It was my very first preparation day in the mission (the day after the story above). In all, I had been a missionary for less than 3 weeks and I had no idea what one normally does on a P-day. So it wasn’t until after the fact that the events of the day seemed a little strange to me. Sister Christianson and I were both new in Augsburg, and thus we were excited to see the city – with not too many things planned for the day to come. We were emailing our families at the internet café in town that the Elders had shown us, when our phone started ringing. “Gebauer Sister” was the name on the call, and I answered in excitement, having met the wonderful Sister the day before, and a little apprehension, as this would be my first missionary call in German.

After a lot of confused questions from me, and a lot of gentle translations from the patient Sister, I got the message: She had a list of friends and less actives that she would like to visit, and she would like to meet with us as soon as possible to go by on all these wonderful people! So we hurried and finished up our emails, and then met her downtown to start the visits! We visited at least 3 people that day, found a potential, and had a lot of really good meaningful conversations with people we would later run into again. Sister Gebauer taught me the meaning of real genuine love for those under out care. By her example, I learnt how to be an ever active missionary, talking with everyone, regardless of the time or day. By her love, I learnt how to listen to people I could not, at the time, understand – and how, through the careful guidance of the Holy Ghost, to nevertheless somehow understand them. She is the perfect example of the patient listener.

Memory #3: This one occurred much later in my time in Augsburg (though the exact time I can’t quite recall as of now) – Sister Christianson and I were at a member appointment when we got another excited call from Sister Gebauer. We had long since learnt to expect great things from her calls, and always to expect some real work to get done (because if there is one thing Sister Gebauer never stopped doing – it was working with love)! This time she had someone for us to teach! The message said “Sisters, I met a man at work. He says he wants to believe in God, so I told him to come with me and we could meet with some girls who could answer his questions! We’re on our way to the Church right now. How far are you?” We were actually quite a bit away, but we of course changed all our plans right then and hopped on the next train headed that way. When we got there we found Sister Gebauer standing patiently outside the doors with a young man whom we later found out was from Mainland China – a man whom she had just met as well, but whom she had already born her powerful testimony to as she brought him to meet with us.

We entered the Church and prepared to teach the first lesson (at his and her request) … to a man who spoke no English and very little German. The following 40 minutes proceeded as follows: Sister Christianson would ask a question in German. Sister Gebauer would translate into Chinese and then listen to this sweet man’s answer. Then she would say some more things to him in Chinese (no doubt bearing testimony of something that answers his question or compliments his answer) and then would relate to us in German what he said. Then I would read a scripture that supports the idea (from my English scriptures – as I had embarrassingly left my German ones at home), trying to add my own thoughts and testimony in German at the end, all while looking at this young man and knowing that he probably doesn’t even understand what I am saying at all… only to find the wonderful Sister Gebauer not only helping me with my German, but also listening very carefully to every word I said and sharing my testimony to this man in a language and with words that he would understand.

Then she pulled out of her bags some charts and pictures that she must always have on her that explain in Chinese the first lesson and the purpose of the Book of Mormon. Both Sister Christianson and I knew our words were being perfectly translated, and that she was bearing powerful witness to the things we meant but could not say, as we saw this man suck in every word she said. Before we were done he had asked her if he could be baptized as soon as possible, because he was scared to go back to China without having these things in his life.

We ended the meeting with a quick Church tour, at the end of which he thanked us in broken German, and we parted ways. We saw him at Church the next Sunday and tried to get him ready to be baptized before he went home, but sadly the time just wasn’t there to teach him all that he needed to know before making those important covenants. Luckily for us, and luckily for this man, he had made a priceless friend in Sister Gebauer, who assured us that she still had regular contact with him through the internet, and was making sure he stayed informed on all the principles of the Gospel. Sister Gebauer taught me how to ignore the bounds of language barriers, and to teach purely through the strength of the Spirit.

Sister Madeline Powell

 I never was able to meet Sister Gebauer. I never even saw her in person or talked to her on the phone, but she has been a constant part of my mission. Ever since I started my mission in February last year, I heard so much about her. I heard of her talents, sure, but mostly I heard of her love for missionary work and just how helpful and integral she was in the lives of so many missionaries and investigators. I heard of her compassion and love for everyone she met, and I heard of the huge acts of kindness and sacrifices she made in order to bring the Gospel to the whole world.

She travelled all over the place to act as a joint teach, she translated and created so many things into the Chinese language so that investigators could hear and read the truth in their native tongue. Sister Gebauer has just been this constant presence my whole mission, and I always looked forward to the day when I would finally get to meet this amazing woman. Now I have to wait a little longer, but I know due to the truths that I get to teach every day that I really will get the opportunity one day.

Sister Kelsey Holman

One thought on “Album of Missionaries”

  1. Hello Wolfgang. I was sad today as I saw the story abt youre wife. I also hve good memories of her and you welcoming me as foreigner comming to Augsburg feeling pretty lonely. I had my relatives ( my brothers Toni and Michael also passed away 2015, and a mother as well ) but you know the church is sometimes the 1 st family, So it was really good to hve you and Teresa there. And I even remember one concert, so very spiritual. I was also reminded the condition of my own wife Susana, shes not very sick, but we stay separated, still close. I must really take care of her, cuz life is so short, and you never know. Have a nice day brother.

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