Before I tell this story, let me preface by saying I’m a terrible singer. I don’t feel bad about that, because I’ve never really liked to sing. I don’t listen to music often for that matter. When I was a teenager, we were asked to volunteer to sing as a stake youth choir for an upcoming Stake Conference. I fulfilled my duty by going. During practice they moved me to new seats a few times probably hoping to minimize the sounds that were coming from my direction. When the the first practice was over I asked what time the next practice was, and was told they had enough people and I really didn’t need to come back if I didn’t want to. They continued to ask for volunteers the following weeks. Don’t worry, I wasn’t offended in the slightest!
Now, to a mission experience. I had learned in MTC and Missionairy Training Manual that hymns were a great method of inviting the spirit. Some time within my first few months of my mission, were were visiting and investigator – Emily. She was visibly upset when we arrived. She had decided to be baptized but was not able to quit smoking. She said she wanted to give up and asked us not to come back anymore. We had dealt with previous episodes and went throught the usual routine of comforting here and giving her encouragement. This time, nothing we could say seemed to be of any use.
Feeling frustrated and exhausted and sat back on the couch. I thought for a moment, then said a quick prayer in my heart.
“Heavenly Father, I’ve said all I can think of. I don’t know what else to do now. Please help me know what to say or do.”
I then looked over at my scripture case which was sitting on the floor. I saw my mini hymnal sliding out of the front pocket. I picked it up and said another quick prayer.
“Okay Father, please let me know what song you would like us to sing.”
I just opened the hymn book and took the first song I saw: #140 Did You Think To Pray.
I nudged my companion who was ready to go blue in the face trying to pursuade Emily to let us continue to visit and teach her and to not give up on us or her baptismal goal. He turned and looked at me and I asked Emily if we could sing a hymn for her. Never before and never since have I had such a singing voice. My companion was an excellent singer. I was right in harmony with him the whole time.
Emily was in tears. She said it was exactly what she needed. Now I know that not all such stories have a happy ending, but Emily did quit smoking and I was able to baptize her before leaving that area. She was loved by all the missionaries that served in that area.