Early during his ministry as an Area Seventy, Elder David P. Homer was presiding at a stake conference. The First Presidency had asked that youth and missionaries be invited to the meeting, part of an emphasis on hastening the work.
“A missionary who had served initially in that stake was about to go home and had come back to that stake as his final area,” recalled Elder Homer during a Church News interview on the occasion of his being sustained at April general conference as a new General Authority Seventy.
“I invited some people to speak, including this missionary, who came forward and bore his testimony. He talked about the fact he had struggled, and he wondered if he had accomplished much good.”
A man had spoken earlier in the meeting, a recent convert who had just received his temple endowment. He spoke of how much it had meant to him and how much he appreciated the two missionaries who had introduced him to the gospel about two years before.
“Somehow, we connected the dots and found out that this missionary had been one of the ones that taught this man,” Elder Homer said. “So I invited both to come up to the stand, and I asked this brother, ‘Do you have anything to say to this missionary?’ He pushed me out of the way (he was a big man) and he picked this missionary up off the ground and gave him the biggest bear hug you’ve ever seen. He explained that this missionary had been the one that had borne testimony to him in his home, and it was at that time he got his own testimony.”
The incident teaches a great lesson, Elder Homer mused.
“Sometimes, we don’t see the fruits of our labors,” he said. “You just have to trust that the hand of the Lord is in it, because it is. I’ve seen it so many times.”
Elder Homer learned that through the many spiritual experiences he had while growing up in Salt Lake City in a home with faithful parents who served the Lord and loved the Church.
At age 14, he was assigned as a home teaching partner to John Pingree, a member of his ward. As a companionship, they would pray for and talk about their assigned families, not as adult to youth, but as partners in priesthood service. “I learned that the Spirit comes with and is associated with service,” Elder Homer said.
As he approached missionary age he felt an urgency to gain his own testimony. Over a period of months, he studied the Book of Mormon and read almost everything he could find about the Prophet Joseph Smith.
“I remember lying on the living room floor of my parents’ house,” he said. “I closed the book, rolled over and just thought about what I had been reading. This overwhelming sensation came from the Spirit that let me know that Joseph was who he said he was and that he did see what he said he saw.”
Elder Homer served his mission in Hong Kong, where he grew to love the Chinese Saints.
He first became aware of Nancy Dransfield when he was a returned missionary enrolled at the University of Utah. Her mother and his sister-in-law were visiting teaching companions in Philadelphia, and they tried to do some long-distance matchmaking of David and Nancy. Neither was interested.
Later, after Nancy had graduated from Brigham Young University and was working in Salt Lake City, they met while participating in a fireside at the Salt Lake Institute.
“At a prayer meeting, we had to go around and introduce ourselves,” Sister Homer recalled. “I heard someone say ‘Dave Homer,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s the guy.’ He was sitting behind me, and when I peeked at him, I noticed he was really cute. We chatted that night and went on a date two days later.”
They were married shortly afterward.
“Now, we have six very active children,” she said.
The Homers’ family life was in frequent flux as he fulfilled a variety of executive positions over nearly 31 years with General Mills. His work included assignments in the United States, Latin America, Australia, Canada and Europe.
Just before his General Authority call in April, they were living in St. Sulpice, Switzerland, where he was CEO of Cereal Partners Worldwide, a joint venture between General Mills and Nestlé.
Through it all, a lesson he learned in his youth — that the presence of the Spirit is associated with service — has stayed with him, whether it be in his recent calling as Area Seventy or as a nursery leader or bulletin board specialist, a calling which he fulfilled while the family was in Australia.
“You serve where you’re called, and you do the best you can,” he said. “When you do that, the Lord really does make up the difference.”