At the end of her lesson, Mom asked if anyone had anything they would like to share concerning the lesson and also depression in general. Several people raised their hands. Many of them shared experiences that they had or asked questions about what they could say or do.
Before we ended, I invited everyone to attend the Addiction Recovery groups. I told how I have been attending since April and that I have felt a difference in my life, even though I am struggling to work on the steps. I explained that I feel it is an inspired program and that it applies to everyone not just to people with addictions. At Tuesday's AR meeting one of the sister's and her husband attended.
I hope that those sisters who heard the lesson are more aware of what depression is and that it affects more people than we realize. I feel like I need to do more to bring awareness to this disease. I am not sure how to go about it yet, but I pray that I will be more willing to talk about my experience in places besides here.
Before RS last week one of the counselors in the presidency told me that they would like to start singing, instead of having a lesson, once a month or every other month. At the end of class last week she announced to the sisters that we would be singing hymns this week and to come prepared to sing their favorite hymns.
During the week I received a phone call from the RS President. She called to clear up some confusion about how often we would sing for the lesson and also what she had in mind. She said that we would just do this once or twice a year. I said that I am okay with however she wants to do it.
During Sacrament Meeting I found a short story about music from last months Ensign. It was by chance that i came across it since I was looking up articles on testimonies. I felt like maybe I could use the story as part of our singing time in RS. However, when the time came it didn't quite seem right. My next thought was to share it here and so I have posted it below.
During Sunday School I went and helped in the nursery. I lost track of time and so I was late for RS. I walked in during the opening hymn. Thankfully Mom had stepped in to lead.
After the opening prayer, the president got up and read the First Presidency message found in the front of the Hymn book. She then talked about the song she had chosen and then we sang it. I then just let the sisters choose. The counselors in the presidency went first and then other sisters chose songs and explained why they chose them.
My thought was to go until it was time to share testimonies and then share my favorite hymn. When I picked the last sister she chose my hymn. After she explained why she chose it I said that it was also my favorite, After singing all four verses I explained why I liked it. The hymn was "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." I told how the third verse was my favorite because it talks about how the Savior comforts us in times of need. I then bore my testimony that I do know my Savior lives and loves me. I explained that I am grateful that because of the Atonement the Savior knows everything we go through and that He wants to comfort us.
I also bore my testimony of the power of good music, especially hymns. I feel more at peace when I listen to good music than at other times.
Yesterday morning I awoke at 2:30 am and could not go back to sleep. After a while the EFY version of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" started going through my head. I decided to get up and look for pictures of Christ on the internet, including Pinterest. I want to share one of my favorite pictures and also a a video of the hymn.
During my service as a full-time missionary nearly 40 years ago in the town of Levin, New Zealand, I played the piano each Tuesday for the Primary children. I remember well the wonderful feelings I had for these children as we sang together the gospel-rich Primary songs.
In February 2013, I returned to New Zealand on vacation. Being an avid hiker, I booked a four-day hiking excursion of the famous Milford Track in Fiordland National Park on the South Island.
I was joined by three Americans and 37 other hikers from around the world, including Australia, Brazil, England, Finland, Germany, Israel, and Uruguay. During our adventure, we shared thoughts, experiences, and opinions as best we could given our language barriers. It didn’t take long for our cultural differences and preconceived opinions to melt away under our growing bonds.
At the end of our third day of hiking, one of the hikers wanted to build upon our growing friendships and sprang to his feet, announcing that we should hold a talent show. He said he would begin the show. He chose to share his storytelling talent, which he had been practicing at his business office in Caesarea, Israel. His story went well, so he announced that he would tell another one. But as he shared some off-color remarks, I realized that the evening could easily turn out to be something less than uplifting.
During his story, I felt a strong impression to sing for the group. But what would I sing to my newfound friends from all over the world? The answer came to me forcefully: “I Am a Child of God” (Hymns, no. 301).
I was anxious but drew upon my memories of and love for the Primary children of New Zealand. I rose to my feet and explained that I would sing a special song that I had sung nearly 40 years ago with children in New Zealand. I explained that I had been a missionary, had taught these children, and had grown to love them. I then said a silent prayer, asking for help to sing in a manner that would bless the group.
The song went well, and afterward I could feel the Spirit. My new friends smiled, and the song seemed to open their hearts. It wasn’t long before others rose and began sharing their musical talents. A group of four ladies, previously reluctant to participate, sang selections from their church choir. Another hiker taught us a Jewish folk song.
At the end of the talent show, a beautiful young woman from Australia sang three songs in Maori, her native tongue. Truly the Spirit of our Heavenly Father had distilled upon us and helped us realize that we were all children of God, not just “strangers and foreigners” (Ephesians 2:19) from various lands.
I am thankful for those Primary children in the small town of Levin who helped instill in me the truth that we are all children of our Heavenly Father. I am also glad those memories gave me the courage to share that testimony through song.