Mending broken hearts with the gospel

By Jan Kragness

I give them a card with the entire plan of salvation and instructions for explaining the doll. I encourage them to share it with their friends and family. I’ve seen 85 people have come to Jesus through this salvation doll.

I’m just a little old woman from southern Illinois, but I have seen God do mighty things as a chaplain with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

I’m nearly 70 years old, and as a woman in a Southern Baptist church, I served by cooking casseroles and teaching Sunday school classes. I didn’t know any women chaplains, but God called me to serve.

I have discovered ministering to hurting people means standing with them and listening to their stories, sharing the hope that is within the heart of a believer wherever I am. I always let them know that my hope comes from Jesus Christ.

I started as a chaplain doing laundry after a disaster. It wasn’t easy work, but we serve and God delivers.

I use salvation dolls with children. There’s a brokenhearted side. We talk about the things that make us sad and the things that break our hearts. As I present, I’m also introducing the plan of salvation to the family. We talk about hurts. The child might open up more which leads the adults to share more.

Then we turn that doll over and show the smiling, joyful side where the heart is whole and not broken. The heart has simple salvation beads on it. One by one, I go through the plan of salvation.

I give them a card with the entire plan of salvation and instructions for explaining the doll. I encourage them to share it with their friends and family. I’ve seen 85 people have come to Jesus through this salvation doll.

Chaplains have to remain intentional. We have to intend to minister to the people’s needs, intend to help them with their broken-heartedness and intend to give them a reason for the hope that’s in our hearts. I have seen miracles that seem impossible. A little old lady from southern Illinois can’t get that done, but a mighty God can.

Hear Jan tell more of her story on episode 63 of the Stories of Hope podcast, and sign up for the Prayer Connect newsletter to receive prayer requests from missionaries and chaplains every week.

More from the Winter 2022 issue of On Mission Magazine


Published February 28, 2022

Jan Kragness

Jan Kragness is a chaplain with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.