Elder and Sister Smith have become Housing Coordinators. The McBeans have finished their 18 month mission helping us get this mission up and running. Today the Smiths were headed to Ellensburg with this trailer full of furniture to open a new apartment there. They were also going to inspect some existing missionary apartments. Here is a sampling of the treats they will deliver as they inspect:
This morning in our office meeting, Sister Call told a very interesting story. We take turns sharing a spiritual thought or experience. She shared the story of Samuel Smith, brother to the Prophet Joseph, who was a missionary. He was faithful and true and worked hard, but returned from his missions feeling he had not converted a soul.
From our Gospel Doctrine Sunday School manual this week:
Once the gospel was restored, the Church began a tremendous missionary effort to spread these glad tidings throughout the world. Many new converts responded with zeal to missionary calls. One of these converts was Joseph Smith’s brother Samuel.
In April 1830, Samuel Smith began traveling to neighboring towns in New York to preach the gospel and introduce people to the Book of Mormon. He had little success, though he did sell a copy of the book to a man named Phinehas Young. In June 1830, Samuel was set apart by the Prophet Joseph to take a missionary journey to the east. He walked 25 miles the first day and stopped at many houses, but the people treated him unkindly and would not listen. The next day he left a copy of the Book of Mormon with John P. Greene, a Methodist minister. John Greene’s wife, Rhoda, was Phinehas Young’s sister.
Facing rejection from almost everyone he contacted, Samuel felt that his mission had not been very successful. However, the books he left with Phinehas Young and John P. Greene led to their conversion and the conversion of many others. For example, Phinehas Young and Rhoda Greene had a brother named Brigham, who was converted and later became the second President of the Church. Brigham Young’s friend Heber C. Kimball also joined the Church. He later served in the First Presidency. Both Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball were instrumental in the conversion of thousands in the United States and England.
Sister Call told us that Brigham Young would later teach and convert a man named Anson Call, who is the ancestor of both Elder Call’s father and his mother.Here is an interesting bit of history about Anson Call:
Anson was born on 13 May 1810 in Fletcher, Franklin County, Vermont, to Cyril and Sally Tiffany Call. Cyril Call had been born in Windsor County about 15 miles from the Prophet Joseph Smith’s birthplace. Cyril took his family to Madison, Ohio, where they joined with the Methodists. By the time Anson was in his early 20s he had become dissatisfied with all denominations, and he considered the preaching of Latter-day Saint missionaries an annoyance. His father, however, believed the missionaries and was baptized.
The missionaries returned often to Madison to preach the gospel, and they frequently stopped at Anson’s house to talk to him. Among those who stopped were missionaries Brigham Young, John P. Greene, and Almon Babbitt. Anson wrote of their visits in his record: “In discussing with them upon the principles of the gospel … I came to the conclusion … I did not understand the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I resolved to prepare myself … by investigating the two books.”
So Anson engaged in a thorough study of the Book of Mormon, comparing it with the Bible to better prove to the missionaries that the Church was wrong. After six months of diligent praying and searching, he finished the two books. He found, however, that the more he had studied, the more he became convinced that the missionaries were right. Instead of disproving the Book of Mormon, Anson became a firm believer in it. He wrote: “I was then taught by the Spirit to obey the principles of the gospel.”
During his conversion, Anson struggled intensely over what it would be like to be classified as a “Mormon.” He thought at times that he would become “insane” with the inner wrestling of his soul. “My feelings were not known by any but my wife,” he wrote. “I was proud and haughty, and to obey the gospel was worse than death. … To be called a Mormon, I thought, was more than I could endure. … I at last covenanted before the Lord that if He would give me confidence to face the world in Mormonism I would be baptized.”
After Anson covenanted with the Lord, his mind was cleared, and the fears of what his friends would say if he joined the Church left him. The next day, he went to a Methodist meeting and “declared unto them the truth of Mormonism.” He soon traveled to Kirtland, Ohio, where he was baptized on 21 May 1836, at the age of 26, by William Smith, the Prophet Joseph’s brother. He was confirmed in the Kirtland Temple by David Whitmer. Upon his return to Madison, Anson was desirous to teach the gospel to his family and his Methodist friends. Before long, a branch of 20 members was established in Madison. Later in 1836, Anson sold part of his farm, and the family moved to Kirtland. (Ensign, July 2001, Anson Call: Man of Action, by Thaya Eggleston Gilmore.)
Sometimes our missionaries get discouraged when they don’t see immediate success. This story is a wonderful reminder that we may not always see the fruits of our labors right now, or understand fully the influence for good we have on the people we teach or on their future families.
Here are some happy missionaries emailing family and friends:Helping Elder Tietjen with his BYU class registration: