Saturday, April 12, 2014

Music Mission

One of the major projects we have been involved in has been teaching the keyboarding lessons to members here.  I say we, but Gaye has been the one who has done the teaching.  That came about as a compromise, too.  I have always felt that I could teach the keyboarding lessons with great enthusiasm and ability, but one day Gaye said that if she doesn't get to do the music she will not have anything to do.  Let's just say that a mission is a lot of give and take, whatever give means and whatever take means.  So Gaye has been the music teacher and I have been in a support role.

We had several people in Tortola, young and older, who were enthused to begin.  Not so many were enthused to continue, but some did.  We have had a few missionaries who have indicated a desire to work at playing the music.  When we left Nevis, Elder Rasmussen, a greenie from Utah, jumped right in and was soon playing hymns for the very small branch of the church there.  The program is inspired.  It really works!

We attended the English-speaking Metro Ward in Puerto Rico and I noticed that two of the bishop's sons handle the music in priesthood meeting.  The older one plays prelude and accompaniment from the Simplified Hymns arrangements while his younger brother, a deacon, leads the singing.  It is both cute and inspiring to see and to participate.
The Music Men

Here in Bayamon, actually in the Caparra Ward, we have been working with the most enthusiastic, most inspiring student of the whole mission.  Br Berrios was one of the first to greet us when we arrived here.  He was plinking at the piano at a baptism service, so I asked if they needed any help with music.  He quickly lit up and in minutes Gaye was playing for the service.  It has gone up from there.  Gaye has been the piano player for sacrament meeting.  We (she) have been meeting with Br Berrios every Tuesday night for an hour lesson.  He is just bubbly in his enthusiastic desire to play the piano instead of having the recorded music be the accompaniment for the hymns in the meetings.  Everybody else has been likewise enthusiastic with the arrangement.  Now the mission nurse is also attending the same ward and she has been alternating with Gaye.  She will be the pianist when we leave.  But I have played in priesthood meeting and that is where we can use some help.
The piano, the student, and the CD player formerly used for accompaniment.
So we have been working with Johnny to get ready to play a sacrament hymn.  He has chosen to learn to play How Great the Wisdom and the Love, which is a wonderful sacrament hymn, especially when verses 1,2,5,6 are sung.  He finally has the courage up to play this Sunday, which is our fast Sunday because last Sunday was conference.  So when the chorister told us which hymns are for Sunday, I suggested that Johnny play his number for the sacrament hymn.  She said, this is all by text by the way, that the counsellor over music will not allow that song to be the sacrament song because it is not about sacrament or fasting.  I said she should read the words to verse 5.  She said the Spanish version only has two verses, so the counsellor said that Johnny will need to ask the bishop for permission to play that one.  Good Grief!!!

Johnny will not be playing tomorrow.  I told him that we need to visit with the bishop and let him know what is going on.  The bishop is a wonderful, kind man, a good friend of Johnny, and there will be no problem with that song being played either as a sacrament song or as an opening song.  I told Johnny that he is a better man than I am.  He is at peace with the whole thing.  I, however, have a problem.  Oh well, I will pray for peace and go to bed.  Tomorrow will be another day.  I just feel so personally involved in this project.  He has worked hard to be prepared.  We have become emotionally involved in helping him have the confidence and the preparation to play.  He told me to let it go.  “Let It Go, Let It Go!”  I am really liking that song lately.

Sometimes I feel like we have done significant things and have actually made a difference.  I think we have done that.  But sometimes, I feel my legacy has been about like the hole that is left in a glass of water when I put in my finger and take it out again.  I have to remember that it is not about me, it is about building the Kingdom.  We are here to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the message of the Atonement and how it blesses our lives.  Alma had the right attitude in his exclamation in Alma 29.  I have to be periodically reminded of that.

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