Sunday, March 04, 2007

The 42nd good thing about Lagos: More memorable church moments.

Each week I worship with these Saints here in the Victoria Island ward, I feel something special and I'm grateful to be here, despite the heat of the un-airconditioned building. At home in Texas when I play the organ prelude music, I rarely get the feeling that many people are listening at all. Sometimes I feel like I'm competing with their social time. But here the members are sitting quietly well before the meeting starts and I feel their attention to the prelude music. We don't yet have our air shipment, so I don't have any special prelude musical arrangements; I just play the hymns straight out of the hymnbook. I usually hear people humming along with the hymns as I play them -- today I could hear one man quietly and unselfconsciously singing along with my playing. I thought it was very sweet. As the Saints here have learned the hymns over the years mostly without accompaniment, they are sometimes not totally accurate with the melody. Such was the case with our closing hymn today -- "Come Follow Me." There were a couple of places where they were singing it wrong. Directly after sacrament meeting, while the teachers are getting to their classrooms, we take time to sing a practice hymn -- either to learn a new hymn or, in this case, practice one that they had learned incorrectly. I was pretty amazed that after the music director asked me to play the melody through once, it sounded like the first time they sang it, they made the corrections and were singing it right. These people really love to sing! As I was upstairs going into our women's meeting, I heard one of my piano students playing a hymn before the men's priesthood meeting. He's really doing great! I'll be out of a job soon. Brent told me afterwards of a discussion that was part of his high priest class. The teacher was talking about the importance of making scripture reading a part of our daily life. He asked the question: "When is a good time to read the scriptures?" Some men responded with a variety of answers regarding when they took time to read the scriptures. One responded seriously -- "Well, I find it's best to read the scriptures in the daytime, because when it is dark outside I have no light to see to read." Pretty sobering. In our testimony meeting today, there were a number of young children who got up to bear their testimonies. Their formal language always makes me smile. Most of them begin by saying: "Good morning, my most beloved brothers and sisters." They go on to speak with beautiful formal phrases -- no trite repetition here, but with words that many American adults would have a hard time getting their mouths around. Samuel, another one of my young piano students, spoke today in our testimony meeting. He offered a beautiful testimony saying: "It is a pleasant thing to be a Latter-Day Saint today and to live a life worthy of emulation." Samuel, I totally agree!

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