The Come, Follow Me lesson for October 28-November 3 includes Paul’s letters to a trusted and capable assistant—Timothy. One of the most important lessons Paul taught Timothy was: “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Timothy 1:8).
When I think of an individual who was never ashamed of his testimony of Jesus Christ, the first person who comes to my mind is—Allen Thorpe Schauerhamer.
Living Up to His Mother’s Training
We were missionary companions 51 years ago for three months at what was then called the Language Training Mission (LTM) in Provo, Utah.
We were both preparing to serve in the Central German Mission based in Düsseldorf. The LTM was a challenging trial for Bruder Schauerhamer (at that time male missionaries serving in Germany were addressed as “Bruder,” meaning “Brother”). He struggled daily with being able to speak the language and learn the six missionary “discussions.” On the last day of our classes, he was credited with knowing only one of the discussions.
His mother, however, had taught him what was really important for serving and teaching the people of Germany—being able to bear his testimony.
As soon as we were dismissed from our last class, Bruder Schauerhamer told me that he needed to phone his mother. We found a phone booth located a short distance from the LTM. As I stood nearby, I heard him tell his mother about our last class, our upcoming flight arrangements, and then, at her request, he bore his testimony to her in German. As he stepped out of the phone booth, his countenance gleamed with joy for having achieved what his mother had taught him about the importance of testimony. Like Helaman’s two thousand stripling Ammonite sons, he and “they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47).
“Attention! I Have a Testimony!”
During our time at the LTM, most of us, including myself, thought that we were teaching Bruder Schauerhamer. During one of our evening classes, Bruder Schauerhamer taught a number of us a crucial lesson about serving as one of the Lord’s duly ordained ministers.
On this particular evening, Bruder Schauerhamer and Bruder Sorensen were paired together. One of the two assessing instructors was a native German, and he thought that he would make things very realistic for them. Bruder Sorensen was doing all of the responding as the instructor kept interrupting and asking increasingly critical questions. The atmosphere in the room became extremely tense. Finally, Bruder Schuerhamer stood up and interjected, “Achtung!” (Which means “Attention!”). His standing and the word he had uttered prompted the German instructor also to snap into a position of military attention. Bruder Schauerhamer continued, “Ich habe ein Zeugnis” (“I have a testimony”), and he proceeded to bear his testimony in German. When Bruder Sorensen later related this incident to me, he was awestruck by the wisdom of what my missionary companion had said and demonstrated during that teaching scenario.
Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not required to be learned and eloquent. As Paul explained: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27). The truth is easily understood and easily told.
Bearing Testimony of Jesus Christ in German
Throughout Bruder Schauerhamer’s mission in Germany, he repeatedly bore his testimony in the German language. When President Horace P. Beesley welcomed six of us at the mission home, Bruder Schauerhamer was the only person that evening that bore a testimony in German.
This was repeated a month later when the entire mission gathered for a special mission conference and testimony meeting. Of the nearly 160 missionaries in attendance, only Bruder Schauerhamer bore his testimony in German. When my senior companion and I later returned to our apartment, he stated, “That one missionary who bore his testimony sure had bad German.” I was too intimidated to contradict my trainer, but that evening I recorded in my journal: “I really miss Bruder Schauerhamer. His innate simplicity and straightness of mind are qualities that are really impressed in my memory. I have learned a lot from him. After hearing him get up and bear his testimony in German at our missionary conference, I believe that he will be an outstanding missionary. His testimony really helped me.”
My prediction about his future successes in the mission field proved true. In a mission where most missionaries participated in one or two baptisms over two years, Bruder Schauerhamer (by my count) was involved in more than 10 baptisms. I subsequently served in one branch after him where one of the faithful new members who had heard his testimony was a former Catholic nun. The key to his success was never his fluency in German. Bruder Schauerhamer’s spiritual gift has always been his sincere and honest testimony.
The highest praise that I can express about missionaries like the Apostle Paul, Timothy, Bruder Schauerhamer, or any individual who fearlessly bears their testimony is: “Attention! These individuals have testimonies of Jesus Christ!”
The Schauerhamer Legacy Continues
Allen Schauerhamer continues to count his blessings in the gospel. He and his wife now have 11 children, 32 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.
From November 2016 to November 2018, Elder and Sister Schauerhamer served as full-time missionaries in the Kentucky Louisville Mission.
Elder Schauerhamer says that he still enjoys teaching the gospel. He is grateful that the divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave through sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples. Also, he continues to be steadfast in always being willing and ready to share his testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Additionally, the Lord promises great blessings to those who bear a sincere testimony: “Ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you” (Doctrine and Covenants 62:3).