Two White Shirts
Contributed by Pat Morin & Pene Horton of the Victoria British Columbia Stake
When it comes to understanding what the Lord wants us to do with our lives, perhaps many of us are like Pat Morin. “Sometimes when the Lord wants to get a hold of me, he hits me over the head with a 2x4,” she says. In April of 2012, Sister Morin felt that He multiplied His attention-getting efforts for her sake; knee problems, hip and back ailments, a pulmonary disorder, and a possible cancerous lump were all on her medical diagnosis.
It was in that frame of mind that she left her apartment and began walking to a local drug store in Duncan, B.C. “I was not feeling enthusiastic,” she recalls, “but you have got to do what you have got to do.” Part way through the six-block journey as she turned a corner, she spotted two young gentlemen talking to people on a street corner. Not wanting a confrontation with someone she supposed to be associated with an aggressive religious society, she looked for an escape route.
“To miss encountering these two, I would have to turn back a couple of blocks and cross the street further away. But,” she thought to herself, “I just can’t walk that far.” Head down, Pat forged ahead, cane in hand. “Excuse me,” Pat demanded of the first young man. He stepped aside, and she moved ahead. Then, the second young man spins around and announces, “How are you this fine day?” “I gasped,” says Pat, “and a thought went through my mind – ‘Gotcha!’”
Now, both of the young men stood before her, and she calculated that if she were pleasant and persistent “maybe this won’t hurt too much.” “I’m fine,” Pat asserted as she started to make the next step. Undaunted, the two “white shirts” announced that they were missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The pair began to ask questions of Pat. “Oh, this is the last thing in the world that I need,” Pat thought to herself. Then, she resorted to a delay tactic. “I’m on the way to pick up my medications,” said Pat. “Maybe on the way back I’ll have time to chat.” The two “white shirts” acknowledged her needs, and again bid her a “nice day.”
Something began stirring in Pat’s heart as she strode away from the young men. She was surprised at their kind and pleasant manner. “It was different from what you expect from such an encounter,” she recalls. More than half out-of-breath as she arrived at the drug store, she concluded her business and tried to make her way home again. “I began thinking that I’m not going to make it. My leg was giving out, my left hip was hurting, my back was throbbing, and I was puffing like a steam engine with my breathing.” Realizing that she no longer had the strength to walk home, Pat began looking around for her only source of hope – the two white shirts. Concluding that the two men were no longer in sight, she spotted a nearby restaurant and decided to sit down and gather her strength. Pat asked an attendant for a small meal to go, thinking the wait would give her time to rest. Unfortunately, the fast-food restaurant lived up to its name and delivered her order before Pat could get off her feet.
Once she set out on the hard pavement, she began looking again for the white shirts. “They had left me with such a kind feeling,” she recalls. “I had a feeling in my heart that they could help me, and I began looking for them. I became more anxious when I couldn’t see them.” Tears began to well-up in her eyes as Pat realized that her strength was gone and there was no way that she would make it back to her home by herself. As her knees began to buckle, a gentleman approached from behind and grabbed her elbow to help lift her up. The man asked if Pat needed help, but as she struggled to answer him, her eyes spotted the two white shirts.
“As soon as I saw my white shirts, a peace came over me, and I knew I was going to be okay.”
The two young men also saw Pat and her predicament and hurried toward her. She assured the first man at her side that she would now be all right, thanked him, and said that he could go on because “I was in the hands of my white shirts, and they will look after me.” As the larger of the two “white shirts,” Elder Reynolds, supported Pat, the other one began looking for someone to give her a ride, but found no one. Pat lifted her eyes to her rescuers. “Can you guys help me home because my legs are not going to carry me home on their own?” With Elder Reynolds on her left and Elder Hayward on her right, the trio began making progress on the three-block journey. “Once they walked me to my apartment building and got me into the apartment, one of my white shirts got me a drink of water and the other got my medications. They stayed with me until the color in my face and my breathing were normal,” Pat remembers.
That evening, the two missionaries returned to introduce Pat to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. In the next three days, three more lessons ensued and on Sunday, Pat received a ride to attend church meetings. “That weekend they asked me how I felt about being baptized into the Church,” Sister Morin recalls. “Three weeks later, I’m baptized, and I’ve never looked back. Since then, every time I have a prayer with my visiting teachers or home teachers, I always add a ‘P.S.’ to the prayer: “Please bless my white shirts and all the white shirts past, present, and future, in Jesus’ name, amen!”
On August 17, 2013, Sister Morin entered the Vancouver British Columbia Temple for the first time.