May I express my appreciation to the First Presidency for permitting me to say a word here this afternoon, and it will be just a word.
Many things have been said about missionaries and missionary work. That has been the first love of my life, and I have been reminded of several things that happened sixty-eight years ago when I went to England. One I should like to relate.
I had gone to a certain house several times and had been rejected and warned not to come back again, but I was prompted to go again and again. And then as I was attempting to walk past that house, I was prompted to go in and try again to make contact. I used the big brass knocker on the English door without any response. I could see a lady in the front room knitting, and I made considerable noise with that knocker. She did not come out, and I went around to the back door. There was no knocker on that door so I used my walking stick, and I knocked with considerable vigor; in fact, it echoed through all the house.
Very soon the lady came out, and her coming out reminded me of my early days on the farm when I teased a setting hen off the nest. (I see some of you have had farm experience.) You know that a setting hen when she is teased off the nest comes off with her feathers going in the wrong direction, with her beak in perpetual motion, and this woman reminded me of that.
I apologized and said, “I am sorry to have interrupted you and have insisted upon an interview, but, my dear sister, I have come over six thousand miles to bring you a message which the Lord wants you to have. He sent me here to give you that message. I am going back to Canada in a few days, and I must tell you what the Lord wants you to know.”
She said, “You mean the Lord sent a message to me!”
I said, “That is right; he did.”
I told her of the restoration of the gospel, the organization of the Church, and the message of the restoration. She was quite impressed by what I told her. And I said when I left, “I am sorry to have disturbed you, but I could not refuse to carry out the message and the mission that was given to me when I came here. When we meet again, and we will meet again, you are going to say, ‘Thank you for coming to my back door. Thank you for loving me enough to carry the message of the Lord to me. When you left I could hardly contain myself. I was worried, disturbed, and wondered what it was all about. I finally went to the mission home, got some literature, studied, and became a member of the Church with my family.’”
Ten years later I was in England again, this time as a soldier, and at the end of the meeting a lady came up with two grown daughters. She said, “I do thank God and thank you that you came to my door with that message many years ago. I and my daughters joined the Church and we are going to Utah in a short time, and we thank God that you had the courage, the fortitude, and the faith to come to me with that divine message and to leave it with me in the name of the Lord.”
My brethren and sisters, I want to bear witness to you as to the divinity of this work. From the center of my heart to the ends of my fingers and toes, I know that this is the work of God. I know that the gospel has been restored. I know that the men who are leading the Church are inspired and directed by him who appointed them. I know the gospel will roll forth until it fills the whole earth, and I am looking forward to the time when all of us will be united on the other side and carry on the great work that we have so falteringly tried to do here on earth.
I leave this testimony with you, and my blessing. I pray God to bless all who are here, and all who are listening; in fact, all men everywhere. O Father, bless these people that they may catch the spirit of this work and devote themselves assiduously to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world.
I leave this testimony and this message and this prayer with you, humbly, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.