Missionary moments: Pictures inspired him

Mormon missionaries serving in Georgia in 1897 undoubtedly never knew how they would touch someone's life more than 60 years later. But Willis Foster knows, and feels gratitude for their service and sacrifices.

In 1964, he was teaching school in Conyers, Ga., and was also an ordained minister. Although he wasn't overseeing a congregation, he was performing marriages and conducting funerals.By this time, his parents and grandparents had died. One day he was looking through a box of family pictures when he came across old photographs of the Mormon missionaries who had served in the area. One picture was of a missionary, H. L. Payne. The other picture showed six missionaries, one being Ariel F. Cardon. The other five missionaries were unnamed.

He had never seen the pictures before, but he was touched because "they thought enough of my family to give them pictures, and they were spreading the gospel under difficult conditions in those days.

"I was inspired by all this," he related. "I got in touch with the Church and two missionaries were sent from the mission home in Atlanta [about 18 miles northwest of ConyersT. Those missionaries were Elder Robert Hoyt and Elder Kendall Blanchard. They came to my home in October 1964.

"The best I can remember," he continued, "it was a cold, dark evening. They had a flashlight and were looking for the house number. I invited them in. They told me a little about the Church. They wanted to set an appointment for when they could come back. I agreed.

"After finishing the discussions, I agreed to be baptized. This was something I've never regretted. This was one of the greatest inspirations I received in my life - learning of the true gospel as we know it that exists on the earth today."

Brother Foster is now a member of the Conyers Ward, Jonesboro Georgia Stake. He said: "I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. Joseph Smith was a true prophet and the Book of Mormon is scripture for us today.

"I've had many contacts with missionaries through the years, and I've helped them in their dealings with other people. I'm a stake missionary now. One of the greatest joys comes in sharing the gospel with other people."

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