Our influence is often unknown.
President Gordon B. Hinckley related a story in which a missionary reported to his mission president at the conclusion of his service. The missionary said:
“I haven’t had any results from my work. I have wasted my time and my father’s money. It’s been a waste of time. … I baptized only one person during the two years that I have been here. That was a twelve-year-old boy up in the back hollows of Tennessee.”
The mission president decided to keep track of the boy this missionary baptized. He grew up, married, and moved to Idaho. His children went on missions, and their children went on missions. The mission president traveled to Idaho and asked members of that family about their missions. He later said, “I discovered that, as the result of the baptism of that one little boy in the back hollows of Tennessee by a missionary who thought he had failed, more than 1,100 people have come into the Church” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley , 360–61).
Ammon and his brothers (very nearly) converted a nation. They are witnesses that our testimonies can have a profound influence on others.
Think of the reasons people often give for not sharing the gospel:
“I’m not sure they would be interested.”
Well, Ammon and his brothers had an additional reason for not sharing the gospel with the Lamanites: they were “a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites” (Alma 17:14; Alma 26:23–25).
The sons of Mosiah had an even stronger reason why they felt they must share the gospel with the Lamanites: “They were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish” (Mosiah 28:3).
If we don’t have an “agenda,” but rather share with pure love and concern for others, we can make a difference.
It may take longer than a day, week, year, or even lifetime.
The Lord’s timeline may not be ours, but we can be an instrument in His hands in doing His will.
So, we can be an influence for good. Even when we don’t see the direct fruits of our labors, “let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”