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Sharing the Gospel through Music

In our last Sacrament Meeting, we sang the hymn, How Great Thou Art (Hymn #86), and it brought me back to a time over 20 years ago when I was on my mission in Georgia Atlanta Mission. I was assigned to Cedartown, a very small town in northern Georgia. My companion, Sister Williams, who had a beautiful alto voice and a passion for music, suggested that we sing to people when we were tracting. I was reluctant, understandably so, I think. I had played flute, so I understood music, but I had no vocal training whatsoever. But Sister Williams was so talented that she could make anyone who was accompanying her sound beautiful, so I agreed.

I grew to love singing the hymns all the time, and I enjoyed learning some I did not know. But one experience in particular stands out to me to this day.

We knocked on a rickety old door. An elderly man shuffled to the door. He was a very tall man, and large of stature, perhaps quite athletic in his youth. When we told him who we were, he quickly dismissed us. We asked him if we could sing a song before we left, and he agreed. We sang the first and fourth verses of How Great Thou Art. When we got to that last verse, he began to sing with us!

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, “My God, how great thou art!”
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,
How great thou art! How great thou art!

As he sang, tears streamed down the face of this gruff, time-worn, old man. He seemed greatful for the song, and we left feeling that we had brought the Spirit to one of Heavenly Father’s children that day.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Joyce April 29, 2012, 11:51 am

    This song feels nostalgic to me too. Is this your favorite hymn? Thanks for reminding me that God is very great.

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  • Tracy Polyak May 3, 2012, 1:50 pm

    Oh, I don’t know if I could pick just one favorite. I could pick “How Great Thou Art” for this experience.

    Or I could pick “Battle Hymn of the Republic” because my dh taught it to my kids, and now they belt it out while they swing at the park.

    Or I could choose “Faith of our Fathers” because I learned growing up in the Catholic church, and it reminds me of my family history work.

    Or it might even be “If You Could Hie to Kolob” for its deep and profound meaning.

    I could go on and on.

  • Tracy Maurer May 3, 2012, 5:43 pm

    Oh, this rings such a bell for me. I also had a missionary companion who had the most beautiful voice. On days when we were not having much success and I was feeling down I would get her to sing this same song as we walked along the street. It would lift my spirits. Just wish I had thought of sharing it with the people we were contacting like you did. It might have changed my day and the life of someone else. Thanks for bringing back such a special memory.
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  • Susan May 5, 2012, 10:07 pm

    What a great experience. I love that song, and every other hymn, practically!
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