The Mustard-Seed Teacher

“The Mustard-Seed Teacher,” Ensign, Aug. 1994, 60

The Mustard-Seed Teacher

It had been twelve years since I left my beloved California home and ward to remarry. With the Lord’s help, I had slowly rebuilt and achieved new goals. But I longed to visit dear friends who had shared the joys and the challenge of living in an area where Church members were a minority.

“Sometimes it isn’t good to relive the past,” my family members said. Nevertheless, I made the trip. At my old house, I marvelled that the seedlings I had planted years before were now large trees shading the property. Overwhelmed with emotion, I left the spot and drove down the street. Old landmarks were hazily familiar. What was I doing here?

When I sighted the spire of the local Church meetinghouse, I drove to my favorite parking spot. Though still not sure exactly what I was looking for, I began to feel more peaceful as I strolled through the grounds. Rounding a hedge, I nearly bumped into a young man who was pulling weeds. He jumped to his feet, and I noticed that he had a fresh missionary haircut.

As I apologized, he looked at me strangely and said, “Aren’t you the mustard-seed teacher?”

I looked at him in puzzlement.

“Yes, I think you are,” he said. “You were my first Primary teacher. I could never resist coming to your class because of the lesson clues you always taped to the door. The picture of the jar of mustard was my favorite. I remember obediently carrying home my bag of tiny mustard seeds after your lesson about the parable. After that, I always thought of you as the mustard-seed teacher.”

The memory flooded back to me of a recently baptized woman bringing her seven-year-old son, Chandler, to my CTR classroom. Here was the same boy, now a young man.

“Your lessons made me want to be a good Latter-day Saint,” he said.

I was thrilled to hear that Chandler had recently submitted his application for a mission. As we spoke, I realized that his testimony was another tree that I’d helped plant and nourish. As a young boy, his testimony was embryonic, perhaps even “less than all the seeds that be in the earth” (Mark 4:31). Now the strength of his testimony made him a mighty tree in the Lord’s vineyard.

“It’s my dad’s turn to be converted now,” Chandler said as he walked me to my car. “I’m ready to join forces with the Lord to baptize him.” Silently thanking the Lord, I vowed to keep sowing grains of faith and to trust in their promise and strength.

  • Janet Schiller is a member of the Grove Creek Fifth Ward, Pleasant Grove Utah Grove Creek Stake.

Illustrated by Gregg Thorkelson