Missionary Moment: Christmas in the Hospital
Contributed By David S Robertson, Cody 4th Ward, Cody Wyoming Stake
- A missionary district in the Netherlands caroled over the public address system of a hospital.
- Their next stop, on Christmas Day, was an orphanage, where they sang to smiling children.
In 1969, my missionary district in Maastricht, Netherlands, consisted of eight elders and two sisters. In district meetings, we had noticed that we had some good singers who not only had pleasant voices but also could read music and sing parts as well. Rather than sitting alone, longing for home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we determined to find a way to serve by sharing our talent.
On Christmas Eve, we went to the largest hospital in Heerlen, which was a fairly large town in the southern Netherlands near the German and Belgian border. We went into the lobby and asked if we could sing some Christmas carols in both Dutch and English. After the first song, they wanted us to sing elsewhere in the hospital. We agreed, but soon the requests were so numerous that they asked if we might sing over the public address system, which would include every room in the hospital.
It was an incredible experience as we shared our love of the Savior with those who had the misfortune of spending their Christmas confined to a hospital bed. Everyone there was given to know that we represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Though that touched our lives and gave us the opportunity to do missionary work as a district, what happened next was even better. We had made an appointment on Christmas Day to sing in an orphanage. With each carol that celebrated the birth of our Lord, our Savior’s love shown in the faces of those special little children. We sang carols mainly in their native language and as we finished with “Silent Night,” tears flowed freely.
After they had given us hugs and thanked us for coming, they surprised us by saying they had a program for us. They said that because we were so far away from home and had given of our time to come and sing to them, they wanted to give something in return. They had practiced Christmas carols, which were traditional Dutch carols—but they were also pleased to sing special Christmas carols in our native language. The tables had certainly been turned, and this time tears rolled down our cheeks as they performed for us.
It was a Christmas never to be forgotten. We learned that day that the scriptures admonishing us to remember the widows and the orphans were never more true. I shall never forget those children’s faces as they sang and let us know that they, like us, loved Christ, the Savior of all mankind.