Missionaries don’t always get to see the results of their labours. It can be hard for them to accept that they are sowing seeds which later missionaries will reap the benefits of; they teach the gospel, but the investigators might not accept it until much later, or they may be transferred before being able to baptise the people whom they are teaching.
About a year after my daughter returned home to South Africa from her mission, she went back to England for a visit. Her brother was on mission in Oxford at that time. She got permission from his mission president to see him, and attended church in Oxford with him one Sunday.
While they were at church, a young woman approached my daughter and asked if she remembered her. It was Alison, whom they had stopped teaching. Months after the missionaries had discontinued visiting her, Alison had turned her life around, and then felt ready to continue learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ. She contacted the missionaries in her area, was taught the gospel, and joined the church.
If my daughter hadn’t visited England again, and attended church with her brother in Oxford, she wouldn’t have known that the seeds she had sown had finally borne fruit, and a soul had been blessed through her efforts.
When my daughter had been home from her mission about 6 months, the mission office sent her a message which they had received. She had given a Book of Mormon to a man from Finland who was in London on business. He returned home to Finland, read the book, and contacted the missionaries. They taught him and he was baptised. He had remembered my daughter’s name and asked the mission office to contact her and tell her that he had joined the church. She didn’t remember him or know his name, but how grateful she was to know that her time had been fruitful.
“And if it so be that ye should labour all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!” (D&C 18: 15 & 16)