Bravery and a blue coat

One of the biggest challenges for me was street contacting. I was absolutely terrified of the whole thing. Tracting? Nailed it. Walking up to a stranger on the street? Mmmmm…. not so much.

With tracting, the person opening the door has an expectation that whoever is on the other side is going to talk to them. Most people who are out for a stroll, or weeding their garden or practicing their archery (#montana) are not expecting a stranger, especially a missionary to talk with them.

Challenge accepted. Sometimes.

I’ll admit, there were people I let pass by.

For shame.

Because miracles can happen from opening your mouth. Here is one example.

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This. This is Sister Randall and I on our first day together.

Sister Randall was waiting for her visa for Brazil. I was so blessed to serve with her for two transfers. She will always be a Montana missionary to me. (But Brazil was lucky to have her, too.)

Sister Randall and I saw countless miracles together. One goal that we both had, however was to become better at street-contacting.

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This. This is Jane.

Jane is one of the kindest, most Christlike people I have ever met. She loves children. She loves her husband. She loves God.

Jane also loves to take walks down the quaint streets of Columbus, Montana. When she goes walking in April, Jane wears her blue coat.

Cue Sister Buchanan and Sister Randall.

It was a Wednesday. Wednesdays were not our normal day to be in Columbus. But God had plans for all three of us that day.

Jane went walking.

We did too.

Sister Randall and I were trying some potential investigators, but to no avail. We were also working on our street contacting skills. Meh. It just wasn’t going well that morning. People didn’t want to listen.

I saw Jane walking toward us a full minute before we met up with her.

“Sister Randall,” I said. “See that lady? We need to talk to her.”

I knew we had to. It wasn’t a subtle prompting. It was sure knowedge. She needed what we offered.

Sister Randall agreed timidly to talk to this stranger. The lady in the blue coat was coming toward her, and I hoped my dear companion wouldn’t lose her nerve.

“Hi, we’re missionaries…”

But the blue coat didn’t stop. Maybe she was busy. Maybe she knew who we were and wanted to avoid us. Or maybe…

“Excuse me!”

Before I knew what was happening I was chasing after her, yelling that we needed to talk to her.

I looked just as surprised as she did when I finally got her attention.

I had morphed into the girl version of Elder Calhoon and was now chasing people down in the street. #besttwoyearsreference

I introduced Sister Randall and myself. We started talking. Her name was Jane. She had talked to missionaries from a different faith before and enjoyed it. She would like it if we stopped by sometime. She just lived right up the hill in the nursing home.

Jane told us about her husband. He had died a couple years earlier. The pain was still fresh. She began to cry.

Gratitude for the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and his miraculous plan of salvation surged through my whole body.

I told Jane we had a message she needed to hear.

She accepted.

We were able to meet up with Jane again that weekend. She took us all around her nursing home and introduced us to the people she had come to love.

I was feeling nervous. What if Jane didn’t really want to hear our message, she was simply lonely?

Jane took us back to her room.

We told her how much God loved her.

More tears.

We told her that because of His great love for all His children, he had once again called a prophet. This prophet restored Christ’s church to the earth after centuries of being lost.

With the restoration came sacred truths that were once lost or distorted.

One of them was called the plan of salvation.

Jane, you can see your husband again, we said.

The tears continued in a steady stream.

“Will you show me how?”

Suddenly, there were tears down my cheeks as well.

Yes, we said.

We gave her a Book of Mormon. We told her to read. We promised her blessings. We set a return appointment.

Jane said goodbye to us with tears in her eyes, her hands clutching the book to her chest.

Sister Randall and I continued to meet with Jane. Sister Randall left for Brazil. Sister Davidson came to Columbus. We continued to teach Jane.

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The dearest woman I know in her blue coat.

Jane soaked up every doctrine we taught her.

As we taught her, we witnessed a change in her countenance. She had purpose once more. She had faith. She had hope.

Jane came to church. She loved everyone she met and was loved in return.

One beautiful Saturday morning, Jane attended a baptism with Sister Davidson and I.

The spirit was sweet. We were all moved.

Afterward, a member drove us back to Columbus on a scenic route, passing a beautiful meadow I had never seen before.

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This. This is what we saw.

God works in mysterious ways. This scene had a profound impact on Jane that morning.

During our lesson that day, we invited Jane to be baptized. She accepted. She told us that she knew she wanted to be baptized when she saw the mother and the doe in the meadow.

God speaks to us in the way we will understand it.

Before Jane’s baptism Sister Davidson and I framed this photo for Jane. The last time I visited her, it still sat on her desk.

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This. This happened on June 25, 2011. Jane was baptized and confirmed into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was her birthday.

Jane amazed me every day I saw her. She exemplified a disciple of Jesus Christ in every way.

On her wall, hung a picture of her in her sunday best. It was given to her by a pastor at a church she previously attended.

A familiar phrase had been photoshopped into the picture.

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Jane will see her husband again. She will also stand before our Father in Heaven. When she does, I know she’ll hear those words.

“Well done.”

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4 thoughts on “Bravery and a blue coat

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I have been struggling a little bit with fear of talking to people about the gospel. Reading a story like this gives me courage and hope!

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