Of Seeds and Soils

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President James E. Faust (October 1999 Conference)

Today, as we travel throughout the world, we see that many seeds have fallen into good ground. We meet wonderful, stalwart members of the Church who are faithful and dedicated. Some of us who have sown seeds as missionaries may have felt that those seeds fell on hard ground. It is not always possible to know the consequences of one single contact.

For years William R. Wagstaff, who served in the North Central States Mission from 1928 to 1930, felt disappointed he had not baptized more people. In the summer of 1929 he and his companion visited a farm family about 180 miles west of Winnipeg.

"Brother Wagstaff remembered giving a copy of the Book of Mormon to the mother and discussing the gospel with her during numerous visits through that and the following summer.

"He recalled that during each visit 'she'd take off her apron and we'd sit down and discuss the gospel. She had read and had lots of questions.'

"But at the close of his mission, she still had not been baptized, and he lost touch with her."

Brother Wagstaff went home, married, and raised a family. Then in October 1969 he and his wife attended his missionary reunion. "A lady approached him and asked, 'Aren't you Elder Wagstaff?'

". . . She introduced herself as the woman he had taught on the farm outside Winnipeg. In her hand was a worn copy of the Book of Mormon—the one he had given her 40 years earlier.

"'She showed me the book,' he related. 'I turned over the front and there was my name and address.'

"She then told Brother Wagstaff about 60 members of her family were members of the Church, including a branch president."

Elder Wagstaff planted the seed during his mission but went home while it was still in the ground. Forty years later he learned of the rich harvest that eventually had come to pass and that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Each of us needs to nourish our seeds of faith so that they continue to take root. President Hinckley has strongly urged us to help the new members prepare their souls so that the seeds of faith planted by the missionaries can grow and develop.