Seeds That Bore Fruit Many Years Later
The following letter was received as a result of the article “The Challenges and Blessings of Raising Seven Sons,” in the “Awake!” of January 8, 1999.
Dear Brother and Sister Dickman,
I’ve just finished reading your story, and I had to write a letter to you. I knew your family years ago in Mississippi [1960-61]. In fact, I went to school with your sons, and I used to come over to your house and play with the boys quite frequently. But these were not the things that were the most deeply impressed on my young mind. Even at such a young age, I was very impressed by the fact that the boys did not salute the flag in school because of their Christian conscience. Although I was a member of the Grandview Baptist Church, when one of your boys explained his stand to me, I knew it was right.
One of them gave me the book From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained,* or I stole it. I can’t remember which, but I read the whole thing. At the time, it was just a beautiful storybook to me. Little did I know that seeds of truth had been planted that would lay dormant for years.
My family moved North in 1964, and I quit going to church. The hypocrisy in religion disillusioned me, so for many years I wanted nothing to do with organized religion.
Years later, when I started thinking seriously about the purpose of life, I realized that I wanted a relationship with the Creator. I wanted that relationship without the hypocrisy of religion. Those seeds of truth that had been sown years before were starting to sprout; I just didn’t know it yet.
I was agonizing over the fact that I did not want to go to heaven; I wanted to live right here on earth. I felt that this planet was a pretty marvelous creation in itself, so why would God destroy it? I also did not think that Jesus was God. If he were, then his sacrifice would have been a sham. These thoughts, feelings, and convictions, if you will, could not be reconciled with what I had learned at the Baptist Church. So I started praying, really praying, and Jehovah acted quickly. Witnesses were at my door within a couple of days, and a Bible study was started immediately. Even though I had had no contact at all with Jehovah’s Witnesses from the time I was acquainted with your family until I started studying, I had never lost respect for your sons and their courage in taking a stand for what was right. Once my study began and I started taking in knowledge, everything fell into place. It took me a year and a half to get my life sorted out. I was eventually baptized in 1975.
Whenever we consider information about how our conduct can give a witness without our even being aware of it, I think of your family. When we consider the importance of sowing lots of Kingdom seed because we don’t always know where or when it will take root, I know from personal experience how true this is.
I want to thank you for being among Jehovah’s people and being true to your beliefs back then. You unknowingly helped someone find the truth. Your conduct and conviction, and that of your children, let the truth shine through. I thought I’d never know for sure what became of you or be able to thank you. Again, thank you.
Much Christian love,
Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., in 1958; now out of print.