Geertruida Lodder Zippro's story has been referenced on many occasions in the bloggernacle, but it is one of my very favorite stories about LDS women. I grew up hearing stories about pioneer women and contemporary women, but very little about the women in the middle, so I'm grateful for Geertruida's account.
When the German air force bombed Rotterdam in 1940 (shortly after the Netherlands surrendered), Sister Zippro demonstrated her remarkable dedication to her calling as district relief society president. Sister Zippro, living in Amsterdam at the time, was determined to go to Rotterdam to check on their welfare. The fact that she was brave enough to travel to a city that had just been bombed is remarkable enough. The fact that she rode her bicycle, unaccompanied, 60 miles to get there astounds me. Trains and other forms of public transportation had been disrupted by the war, but she did not let this stop her resolve to care for those in her stewardship. She worked hard to provide relief when she got there. She managed donations of bedding and clothing, and helped find shelter for displaced saints.
This was the first of many trips throughout the Netherlands that Geertruida would make on her bicycle. In fact, her trips were so numerous that she wore out her tires beyond patching. Her husband fitted strips from a rubber garden hose on her rims, and she went back to work, arranging food distributions and allowing the branches to communicate with each other.
I love the vivid mental image that Geertruida's account provides. When I feel overwhelmed in my callings, the image of Sister Zippro biking through war-torn Rotterdam gives me courage. Her story gives me faith that if I trust in the Lord, I will be given the strength I need to do the things He needs me to do.
Geertruida Lodder Zippro: The Extra Mile, Ardis Parshall, Times & Seasons, November 2005.