There is no point to this post other than sharing a random Thursday encounter with you all.
I usually take the bus to work (it’s easier than dealing with parking), and I ran into the missionaries on the bus this morning. It was a pleasant surprise. Though they were seated near the front, I didn’t notice them at first; I don’t pay much attention to the other people on the bus. After I sat down I noticed them. Though they tend to blend into DC’s suit-clad business folks, their missionary nametags are immediately distinguishable. Also, one of them has been in our ward long enough that I recognized his face (though, to be honest, without the missionary nametag, there’s a very good chance I would have sat there and thought, “That guy looks familiar…. Where do I know him from?”).
Even though I’m shy and almost never strike up conversations with strangers (you mean… speak the humans that surround me?!), I moved forward and said hello and engaged in some conversation about their mission and where they were from. It wasn’t until a minute into the conversation that I realized it was quite early for them to be out – it was 7:15 AM (missionaries, of course, usually don’t go out until 9:30). I asked what brought them out so early; they apparently had a mission meeting to get to. And that led to some more information that I didn’t know: they were on their way to pick up their car, which they park in the church parking lot every night because it has Maryland plates, which means they can’t get a DC parking permit to park on the street, because a car has to have DC plates to get the parking permit (I knew the DC plates requirement, of course, having jumped through those hoops last year; I didn’t realize they parked at the church, which is a couple miles from their apartment). Apparently it is not worth the cost to the mission to register the cars for the DC missionaries in DC. So they get to play musical chairs with their car and the bus each day.
Just before we reached their stop, a lady sitting near us asked them if they had a book she could read. They gave her a Book of Mormon and their card and got off. Before I got off at the next stop, I told her it was an excellent book.
Very cool. Thanks for sharing. As a DC/Maryland native it brought back some memories.
The encounter with the missionaries may have been beyond your control, but your recommendation to the woman on the bus was not. Well done!
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Another chance encounter story: I was driving in Brazil with my parents and my two kids (five people total) and we saw some missionaries walking along. We slowed down and rolled down the window and said in Portuguese: “Hey, we would like to know more about your church!” You should have seen the look of joy on those missionaries’ faces. But that joy dissipated a bit when I said, “sorry, just joking, we’re already members.”
I guess this is evidence I still have a mean streak even after being baptized. Gotta work on that.
Tanya, I love random posts like these. Missionaries rock!
Great report, Tanya!
What a sweet encounter Tanya. Thanks for great post.
Tanya, I would like to say that it is very kind of your new husband and sister wives to allow you to take time to post. Please thank them for me.
Geoff, I’ll pass along the message. They’ll be pleased. LOL!
Tanya, you probably played a bigger role than you realized or admit to. Seeing you, a “civilian”, talking to the missionaries, may have been the ice-breaker that gave the other lady an opening to join the conversation.
She likely would not have initiated a conversation with the missionaries on her own. And sometimes, missionaries don’t start out with those non-gospel ice-breakers (“hi, how ya doin’?”) that give an opening to the other person to broach a gospel subject.
It may be against the bus company policy to proselyte on a bus, but missionaries should be on safe ground when exchanging non-gospel pleasantries. And then if the ‘civilian’ initiates the gospel conversation, then it’s fair game.
Jeff Lindsay posted something on this a couple years back on his Mormanity blog.
Bookslinger, I must admit I hadn’t thought of it that way.