The Pink Coat: A Christmas Experience

One of my favorite Christmas experiences:

A couple years ago when I was serving as a bishop in the Appleton Second Ward, we had a Christmas party for the Hmong members of my ward. The Hmong people in the US came here as refugees from genocidal oppression from the brutal Communist government in Laos at the end of the Vietnam War (I discuss their history more on my page about the Hmong people in America), and many have struggled financially in this strange foreign land. Many of them are great and noble people, and it has been an honor to know and work with many of them.

After an enjoyable afternoon, several groups began to leave. The temperature outside was 1 degree Fahrenheit – bitter cold on any scale. One little non-LDS girl, about 9 years old, was getting ready to go out the door with her sisters. I noticed she wasn’t wearing a coat, just a light sweatshirt. I asked about that and she said she didn’t have one, and had been going to school everyday without one. I was worried for her.

What I didn’t know until later was that my wife had already tried to deal with the problem earlier in the evening. My wife had retrieved an old coat from our closet that had belonged to one of my sons. It would have fit, I think, but the Hmong girl shook her head and refused to try it on. She was poor, but she was still a girl with basic human sensitivity about how she looked, and she wasn’t going to wear an ugly coat. At that moment I recalled that a kind member of the ward had just given me two grocery bags filled with clothes in case they could help someone in need. I brought over a bag that had some coats in it. At the very top of the bag was a pink coat. I took it out and noticed that it seemed to be her size. I asked her if she would try it on, and her face lit up as it fit perfectly and looked beautiful on her. She was so happy! She looked great in that coat, and left warmer, but not nearly as warm as I felt at that moment, grateful to the sweet member who made the donation and so grateful to the Lord for such a small but memorable Christmas gift.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

11 thoughts on “The Pink Coat: A Christmas Experience

  1. Jeff, thanks for sharing that story. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family! I enjoy your blog and your website–keep up the good work!

    Mary A.

  2. I was a very proud little girl and I would go to school in the snow without a coat. I wouldn’t wear something given me by my schoolmates even if it was pink. Boy, was I cold sometimes :).

    Now I feel very uncomfortable giving people hand me downs, I worry they will be insulted. But, I love hand me downs, now.

    Looking back, though, it would have been humiliating to wear Jana’s clothes to school when she was in my class and she had just gotten tired of them.

    I love your blog, Jeff, please forgive my digression from the point of your post. That’s just where my mind went. I would have wanted that pink coat. But I wouldn’t have taken it.

    One year, okay, this is bragging, but it is the stuff of legend in my family. I still can’t believe I did it. But I was 14, and I lied about my age and I worked all summer as a maid and I ordered my sisters coats and boots from the Sears catalog. I ordered my sister the most popular style, a fluffy white one.

    I’d planned to buy myself one, but I ended up having a breakdown and running away from home to be a hippie in Haight-Ashbury and sent to an uncle. Lost the job.

    But that year, my sisters had coats for winter.

  3. Annegb, that’s an amazing story. I appreciate your compassion! I trust you’ve since found you’re way home. Haight-Ashbury strikes me as a scary place to have been as a teenage girl. I hope all is well with you.

  4. Nyob zoo, Vam Yim Leej. Ua tsaug! Koj puas nyob hauv Wisconsin?

    Kuv thov Vajtswv foom koob hmoov rau nej sawdaws hu tibsi!

  5. Tsis nyob tid os’ (txawm hais tias Wisconsin yog ib qho chaw zoo yom?) Kuv tsuas nyob hauv Utah xwb. Kuv zoo siab heev vim lwm tus Mis Kas txawj hais lus Hmoob (tsis tas li ntawd, tus ntawd yeej tsis tau ua tub txib Hmoob)

    Thov txim. Kuv tsis tau qhia koj tias kuv tsis yog Hmoob. Kuv tsuas tau ua tub txib Hmoob tim San Diego xwb. Tam sis no, kuv kawm ntawv tim BYU (kuv mam li ua kws ntawv “scholar” rau Hmoob txoj kev cai Thaum ub, kuv tau nyeem koj co lus haiv Hmoob. Kuv kuj tau pom tias koj txawj hais lus Hmoob thiab.

    Nyob zoo peb caug os’ Yog hais tias koj paub ib tug Bishop Lee, qhia nws hais tias kuv yog tus tub txib uas tau qhia nws tus niece txog txoj moo zoo.

  6. Koj nyob qhovtwg hauv lub xeeb Utah – Salt Lake los tau?

    Kuv zoo siab hais tias peb muaj ntaub tub txib Mis Kas uas hais lus Hmoob nyob Wisconsin. Koj puas muaj ob peb poojywb uas ua tau tub txib nyob qhov no?

    Nyob hauv Appleton, muaj ib leejtxiv uas tau ua Branch President uas hu ua President Lee, tiamsis lub sijhawm no nws tsis yog ib tub mezeej (? member) hauv lub tshawj. Kuv tu siab heev, tiamsim kuv hlub nws thiab nws cov neeg! Nws yog ib tub xijhwm rau ib lwm tshawj (grammar??). Muaj teebmeej los los nawb!

  7. Kuv nyob hauv Provo (kuv mus tsev kawm ntawv tim BYU).

    President Lee tsis ua mej zeeg ntix los? O yo! Tsis zoo li. Tej zaum, kuv mam li hu nws tus niece thiab nws tsev neeg. Kuv ntshai nyob tsam nws txhawj txhawj, thiaj tsis mus tshawj ntxiv. Kuv tau pom nws thiab nws tus txiv sib ua tshoob tim tuam tsev teev ntuj (kuv tau txhais lus rau lawv).

    Kuv nco qab thaum kuv tau ntsis President Lee. Nws tau paub ntau txog txoj moo zoo. Nws li teeb meem yog dab tsi?

    Kuv muaj ib tug phooj ywg uas tau ua tub txib tod. Nws lub npe hu ua Elder Meyers (sp?). Dirk Meyers. Nws yog ib tug tham ham, thiaj tau tuaj rau San Diego, vim peb muaj chaw xyaum ua tham ham tod.

  8. Kuv yaug tib laug Vwj. Tus siab taus paub tias, tib laug Lis thiab nws tsev neeg tsis yog (LDS) lawv. Kuv tua paub tib laug Lis thiab nws tsev neeg thawm kuv nyob ram Sheboygan peb xyoo tas los.

    Kuv tsis nhov txog nws los lawm ntev.

  9. Nyob zoo kuv cov phoojywg uas nyob puag pem Wisconsin. Ntev los tsis tau ntsib nej sawv daws. Kuv yog Xeeb Vwj. Kuv ua tub txib tod xyoos 00 – 02. Tij laug Vwj, koj nyob li cas lawm? Kuv nyob tod thaum Niam Nom Xov Vwj thiab nws cov menyuam los koom tshawj. Lawv puag mus tshawj lawm thiab? Thov Vajtswv foom koob hmoov rau koj thiab koj tus pojniam thiab me tub me nyaum.

  10. Last anonymous, here’s my attempted translation – help me fill in the blanks.

    Hello to all my friends that live out there in Wisconsin. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen. I’m Xeng Vue. I was a missionary there from 2000 to 2002. Brother Vue, how is he? There I helped Sister No Xa Vue and her kids go to church. Do they still go? I pray that God will bless you and your wife and children.

    If that’s right, I’m not sure I recall who No Xa Vue is. Was she in Appleton? Oh wait, I think this is the family that was in Appleton but moved to North Carolina, is that right?

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