I met Bjorn Bauerfeind in Salt Lake City. He had flown from Lipzig, Germany to discuss a tryptich of paintings he wanted me to paint for him. Lipzig, Germany used to be behind the Berlin Wall which was the Democratic Republic of Germany, DRP or as we in the west referred to as "East Germany". As the Communist Soviet Union crumbled, so did the communist allies and the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.
Bjorn had seen some of the historical scenes I had painted and wanted paintings of some of the history that has happened in the Church in East Germany. Through emails and our personal visit his story proved to be extremely interesting.
Bjorn grew up in an atmosphere where the DRP not only discouraged religious practice but actively persecuted churches, spied on them and sometimes people were jailed for their religious beliefs. The Mormon people were among those targeted by the government and yet they remained devoted and strong in their faith during all the years under communist tyranny.
My wife Pamela and I met with Bjorn and were delighted by this tall (6'4") smiling young (early 40s) businessman who spoke great American (that is sort of like English) with only a slight German accent.
As mentioned in an earlier post, Bjorn left East Germany in 1989 and served an LDS Mission in Oregon. While in the Mission Training Center he saw a photograph of a drawing on the Berlin Wall created by some other missionaries serving in West Berlin depicting the Plan of Salvation, a line drawing with circles and stick figures that every person who has taught a Sunday School class is familiar with. The above sketch is the one approved by Bjorn and his family and this design will be the one that becomes a finished painting.