No Trespassing
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“No Trespassing,” Ensign, Feb. 2004, 69–70

No Trespassing

It was almost the end of the month, and I had visited every sister on my new visiting teaching list except one. I’d never met Joan (name has been changed). She did not attend church, and in the recent past, she had not wanted to have contact with the Church.

I had made many phone calls to her home throughout the month, but they were always greeted by her answering machine, no matter what time I called. I left several voice messages, introducing myself as her new visiting teacher, telling her I was looking forward to meeting her, and asking her to return my call. But Joan never called back.

With only a few days left in the month, I decided to drop by Joan’s home unannounced with a plate of muffins. But as I drove up and down the busy highway near her street, I realized that none of the numbers on the houses matched the address I had been given for her. I became increasingly frustrated, thinking, “Why am I doing this? She probably won’t even be home, and if I leave the muffins on her porch, some dog will most likely eat them.” Finally I checked my ward directory and discovered that Joan’s address on my visiting teaching list was incorrect. With the correct address, I found the home within minutes.

Armed with my muffins, I walked toward Joan’s house. I hesitated when I saw a big No Trespassing sign but cautiously continued toward her porch. I rang the doorbell two times. No answer. Thinking, “Well, at least I tried,” I left the muffins and my note near Joan’s front door.

That evening at dinner, I mentioned to my family my apparently wasted hour attempting to reach this faceless, voiceless, impossible-to-contact sister. During the meal the phone rang. Contrary to our mealtime practice, I answered it. The woman on the phone identified herself as Joan. Suddenly feeling as though I had been reunited with a friend, rather than the stranger she was, I whooped, “Joan! I’ve wanted to hear your voice for so long! I’m so excited you’ve called!”

Joan explained that she hadn’t returned my calls because of recent turmoil in her life. She continued, “Today I was at the courthouse, feeling defeated and humiliated as I stood in front of the judge and my estranged husband. When I drove home, I prayed, ‘God, I feel so worthless and unloved.’ Sobbing, I asked, ‘If You love me, please show me.’

“When I reached home, there before my eyes, as though a miracle from God, was a plate of muffins and a note saying, ‘I’m thinking of you. Love, your visiting teacher.’ It was as if God were saying to me that He loved me. I just wanted you to know that I know God used you to answer my prayer today.”

Since that day Joan has become my friend. We have read the scriptures and prayed together, and she has joined me at church. She has been a gift to me, teaching me never to give up when serving the Lord.

Illustrated by Robert A. McKay