One of the lies that the adversary would have us believe is that we have to be polished musicians in order to make music. It seems a little ridiculous if you think about it. Nowhere in the scriptures does it say that only the well-trained or perfectly rehearsed can sing praises to our Heavenly King. But so many of us hesitate to share our most tender feelings that can only be expressed in music and poetry simply because we don’t believe our voice is praiseworthy enough to be shared.
Four years ago, right after President Monson announced the age change for missionary service, a wonderful thing occurred. Youth from all over St. George, Utah started gathering together to sing their songs of worship. They called themselves, “Missionary Choir”. The term “choir” is not exactly a perfect description of this unique group, the weekly gathering that takes place every Thursday night is more akin to singing time in primary; the energy is great, the volume is loud, and there is a smile on everyone’s face as they proclaim, “The Spirit of God like a fire is burning” and “Let Us All Press On”!
Everyone is welcomed at Missionary Choir. There are no auditions and no one cares if you can carry a tune. It’s just a place to praise the Lord through music. Look at what a few of the current and past members have to say about the blessings of Worshiping God through Song……
“The effect that music has is always amazing. From “Press Forward Saints” to “Be Still My Soul”, the hymns have always uplifted me; but when you include family and friends in that, just as missionary choir did, the joy and spirit that the Lord provides through both friendships and music is somehow tripled. All worries and doubts about myself and my life disappeared even if its only for the night, and I grow to know and come closer to my Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ. I love it and I miss it, luckily I will always have the hymns to remind me and bind me to that choir family spiritually forever.” -Josh Asay (Choir Co-Founder)
“Through missionary choir, I learned key principles that helped me greatly on my two-year mission. As we sang praises to the Master we not only felt His love but learned more about Him,and a gateway to His never ending love.” -Nathan Vogl (Former Director)
“Music touches the soul in a way that words can’t always do for me. Missionary Choir is like the filling of my body and soul with a new love for God and Christ.” -Melanie Earl
“I love Missionary Choir! It is a place where I can go and just feel the Spirit! All of us that attend go by our own choice, which brings a willingness to let the spirit teach us through song. It never ceases to amaze me when someone goes up to bear there testimony and testifies of one of the songs we just sang. They always put the song in a new light that I have never thought of before. I know all the songs we sing are inspired, and that helps us learn, and grow our testimonies as we go along.” -Kaylynn Larkin
“Why do I like Missionary Choir? Because it changed my life. It was a safe haven I could turn to every week. Each Thursday night, being surrounded by my friends, hearing them bear witness of the things I was beginning to come to a knowledge of myself, my testimony grew immeasurably. Missionary Choir afforded me the courage and spiritual strength I needed to submit my papers and embark on a spiritual journey that continues to this day. I will never forget the thrill that shot through me every time I would stand in front of the magnificent choir, and at the wave of my hand, all would proudly proclaim in angelic syncopation: “I know that my Redeemer lives! May that choir continue to lift lives in the years to come, as it has lifted mine.” – Elder Jake Forsyth (Currently serving in Romania)
“Missionary choir changed my life in ways that I could have never imagined. It has set me on a path that was never thought of as an option before and now I am in North Carolina serving the Lord, the best choice I could have ever made. I was reluctant to go to choir at first but once I started to go, the spirit was infectious and I loved every week that I was able to go. My testimony for this gospel grew as I sang and heard others share their testimonies through song and speech. The love that is contained in that bright yellow room opened my mind and my heart and I feel that love with me every time I think of the memories I obtained from my time there. Missionary choir is an influence that lasts through the years and trials and helps everyone that participates in it. I absolutely love it!” – Sister Ashly Richins (Currently serving in North Carolina)
“Missionary choir is one of my favorite things! I don’t think I realized at the time that the songs I was singing every week were getting so ingrained into me. But they were! As a missionary, I still reflect on the words that we sung and they motivate me! There are some songs that I can’t hear without thinking of missionary choir (like “Savior, Redeemer of my Soul” or “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.) I would not be the same person if it wasn’t for Missionary Choir!”
-Sister Jessica Jaeger (Currently serving in Wisconsin)
For #LIGHTtheWORLD: Dec. 15, we learn that: “Jesus Worshipped through Song and So Can You.” We are reminded that “During the Last Supper, on the eve of the most difficult and trying moments of His life, Jesus sang hymns with His disciples, showing us the strength we can find as we worship through song.” Blessings of peace, inspiration, and joy will surely follow as we reject feelings of self-doubt and worship through music just as the Savior did.
“Then let us all, with one accord, give praises to our Heavenly Lord;
Who hath made Heaven and Earth of naught and with His blood, mankind hath bought. Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! Born is the King of Israel!
(The First Noel – traditional Carol)
Author Jenny Baker lives in St. George, Utah and is proudly married to Blake Baker. They are the parents of five, wonderful daughters. Jenny has recently traded in her life of directing and teaching music for a full-time position as the primary educator in the lives of her children.
Jenny is one of the founding members of Gathering Families (www.GatheringFamilies.com) where she works with other women throughout the United States to promote the family and encourage moms and dads to become INTENTIONAL PARENTS in order to help safely guide and protect the rising generation through the challenges of this ever-changing world.