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It was a hot Christmas Eve, such as we often experience in Australia. My wife, Sylvia, and I were placing decorations on the Christmas tree in our front room in a desultory manner. As I remember it, things did not seem very happy.

The doorbell sounded and upon answering it I saw four eager and fresh-faced young men. "Mr. Hunt," they said. They knew my name; they had visited us before. "We would like to come in for a few minutes to sing a Christmas carol to you and your family. Would that be OK?"Upon coming into the house the missionary lads asked what my favorite carol was. I told them it was `O Little Town of Bethlehem." Their reply was, "Sure, we know that one."

After singing a couple of carols, one of the missionaries produced a copy of the Bible. "We would like to read a short portion from the scriptures," he said. We sat and listened to the story of the birth of Christ. "Well, we have quite a few other calls to make," they said. "Could we have a prayer with you before we go?"

After the missionaries had left, their cheery greetings ringing in our ears, my wife and I sat down and just looked at each other. "Wasn't that really nice?" Sylvia said. We were both somewhat surprised; in fact even taken aback. This event had really done something to our Christmas.

Five years elapsed. Other young missionaries had called to talk with us on various occasions. Eventually my wife was baptized and I also accepted the gospel a short while later. Meanwhile, I had never forgotten those missionaries who came and cheered us up at Christmas time with their friendly and happy approach. I was sure they would all have wished to know that we had eventually joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How could I possibly contact any of them? I didn't even remember their names.

"But, just a moment!" I remembered something. One of them followed the same hobby as I did, amateur radio. He had talked to me after his return to the United States, from both the amateur radio club station at BYU and his home in Texas. What was his call sign? I found it in my station log _ WB5CRG Bob. I looked in my World Callbook listings and found that the call sign belonged to a man named Robert Wood. "That's right," Sylvia said. "His name was Elder Wood."

I wrote to Elder Wood: "Who are we to question God? There are times when we think things are not going too well. Probably everyone thinks that at some time when on a mission. `No seeming success. It is all a waste of time.'

"Over the years we have met many missionaries. They must have created some impression and most likely it was a good one or else we probably would not have joined the Church. With their happy smiles, clean and neat appearances and friendly and honest manner they had to have exerted some influence. So, while you were on your mission you may have despaired. Well, that is not the thing to do.

"Remember, if you do your work in the proper way and with the right intent and have faith in the Lord, He will bless what you do. We should not question our Heavenly Father. He has promised us that He will bless the missionary work, so we should get on with it and accept His promises. You know, your mission really never finishes. The things that you do and the effects of the same can bear fruit long after you have returned home. So never think that your mission was a failure."

Two years later I was talking on my radio and making plans for an extended visit to the United States. My wife and I were to be sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. Bob heard me talking and asked me to please send him a copy of our itinerary. He would possibly be in Los Angeles when we were due to arrive.

It was Christmas Eve when Sylvia and I arrived at Los Angeles International Airport. Among our friends to greet us was Elder Wood.

Two weeks later, Elder Wood flew from Texas to Salt Lake City and was present with us in the temple as my wife and I were sealed for time and all eternity. We have certainly been blessed.