I've been debating writing this down for quite some time now, but I think it's time now to write it.
What I am penning is a more detailed account of what happened this day
during my mission.
It was April of 1996, two months before I would return home from my 2-year service as a missionary for our Lord Jesus Christ.
I was serving in a leadership capacity which enabled me to use a bit more creativity and resources than the usual missionary.
So happened that the circumstances led to a group of 4 missionaries who could harmonize quite well, being in the same place at the same time.
We decided to take advantage of this by choosing an evening upon which we would do nothing but visit members in our respective areas and sing to them.
No lengthy verbal sermons, no doctrinal dissertations..... just music.
Due to my having retired from my adolescent service in Colombia for more than 10 years now, I don't remember the contents of the entire night, but I do remember one specific experience of that night as if it happened yesterday.
The Spirit left an indelible impression upon my mind, heart, and soul of the following events.
I don't recall how we found him and his family, but I remember his face quite vividly. He was a wiry man with a fervent passion in his eyes. His name was Enoch. He was married to a woman named Giomar, and they had one son who was eight years old named Fernando.
We found this family, taught them the discussions, answered their questions, and ultimately baptized them into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
They came to church a few times, and then suddenly stopped.
We went over to investigate what might have happened, and Enoch let us in, but with a bit of a changed countenance. The passionate side of him had turned dark.
He asked us strange questions about reincarnation and other topics. No matter how we tried to answer them, he had a defensiveness about him which wouldn't change.
We went to his house at least 6 times, visits which all were received gracefully, yet defensively, and seeminly made no progress as to what had caused this change in his life.
We reluctantly wrote him off our visit list and continued on with the work.
About a month later, I found a couple of missionaries who could sing, and as I mentioned earlier, we set aside a time to do nothing but sing to a select few investigators or inactive members whom we thought might benefit from the hymns of the church.
Remembering this experience, as I write these words now, have unexpectantly brought tears to my eyes, as I remember the events of that night.
Among 2 or 3 other people, I thought of Enoch, Giomar, and Fernando while pondering who we should visit in my area.
The night came, and the 4 of us found ourselves knocking on the Varela family's gate, which led up a flight of stairs to a room which they called home.
Their "house" was a single room, not much bigger than most of our modern-day bedrooms. It had a small petrolium top-burning stove in one corner, and a bed in the other.
I believe it was Giomar who opened the latch on the gate and welcomed us in, with somewhat of a puzzled look on her face as the visit was totally unplanned.
We went up, expressed our desire to share a message through music, and decided to sing "I Believe In Christ".
To be honest, I don't remember much, other than struggling to sing in harmony with the other voices during that song.
After the song ended, I noticed the three of them sitting about 15 feet away from us, huddled together on the bed with their backs to us. I didn't quite know what to do, but I felt we should sing "Abide With Me".
I had learned previously that when I felt
I should do something, it meant I needed
to do it.
So we sang "Abide With Me".
The harmonies in this hymn came much, much easier than in the previous hymn we sang. I could feel the words as if they were rays of light shining through the room.
It was truly a unique musical experience for me while singing. But the true beauty of the experience was not found within the singing.
After we finished, we just stood there for a few seconds, and doing so, we noticed the three huddled figures on the bed were moving as if they were catching their breath.
After a bit, Enoch stood up, turned around and came to me with tears which stained his shirt, and looked at me.
He stared at me with that same passion in his eyes and asked me, "Why..... Why..... What is it that I'm feeling?? Why didn't you make me feel this way before?
" All the while, pointing his finger sternly to the middle of his chest.
I just looked at him and with the same spirit, testified to him that he was feeling the power of the Holy Ghost, and that what he was feeling was bearing truth to his soul.
And then we left.
Not too surprisingly, we found Enoch, Giomar, and Fernando all in their Sunday best the following Sunday, and not too much after that, Enoch received the Melchizedek Priesthood along with a calling. They never missed another church meeting for as long as I served in that area.
There were experiences both before and after that visit, that night which would require pages and pages to explain in detail.
What it left with me, was an experience I'll forever remember which tells me of the power God has in music.
Music can indeed change lives.