Can You Lead Music?

“Can you lead music?” That was the question that our Branch president asked me last Sunday. (In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a branch is a very small church congregation.) I told him yes, I could lead music. (Thank you, Mom!) He got a hopeful look on his face, and then asked if I would take over teaching the young women (teenage girls) how to lead music, since the sister missionary who was teaching them is going home. He wants them to be able to lead the music during Sacrament meeting on Sundays.

Let me be clear. I can lead music. I can sing fairly well. I can teach someone how to lead music. I can lead music and sing in Spanish if I have the words in front of me. I don’t actually know yet, what I’m saying when I sing in Spanish. And I don’t actually know how to teach someone to lead music in Spanish.

I remember growing up, my mom telling us that we all needed to know how to lead music, because you never know when you might be the only one who knows how. She did a good job of preparing me and my brothers. We each got to take turns leading the singing in Family Home Evening, until we were proficient.

Fast-forward 37 years. Here I am. The only one who knows how to lead music. But what they want is to learn for themselves. This is good for them. I feel a little bad that they have me to teach them. I don’t have any Spanish vocabulary that will help me teach anything musical. Fortunately, Google has a good translation app, but it’s not a particularly efficient or effective way to try and teach. I am honestly unsure what to do now or how to do it. We muddled through today, but I don’t have any idea how to proceed from here and make any progress. I will talk to the sister missionary who has been working with them so I can have some idea of what she’d already taught them, but help… Please pray for me and them!

I’m trying!

Part of me feels like I am simply doomed to look and feel inadequate at everything for the next two years. The other part knows that I’ve only been in this country for three weeks and I’m learning as fast as I can.

Part of me says that my best is good enough to move forward with. The other part yammers that I should have done more to prepare. Seriously? Shut up the yammering.

One of the most common road hazards here in the DR is open manholes and big potholes. This one was in the middle of the sidewalk, and someone was thoughtful enough to try and cover it so no one will get hurt. Generally most of these holes are in the road itself so we keep a wary eye out for them. This is also a big contributor to the Dominican driving style. “I swerve. You swerve. We swerve.”

In other news, I think I did do something good this week. There is another senior sister missionary here who has been having some excruciating pain in her feet. Some of this is maybe related to her overall health, but some of it is from walking around on tile floors All. The. Time. Being barefoot in the apartments on tile is awful if you have any foot problems. Anyway, I have these wonderful orthotic shoe inserts that I brought with me. I brought several pairs because I just dread the idea of not having them, they’ve made such a difference in my life. So, when I heard about this sister’s pain, I went to our apartment and got a pair for her to try. She said they really helped, and we were able to order some for her that another missionary will be bringing back from the US this week. It felt good to know I did something that helped someone. (If you possibly need orthotic inserts, you may want to look up Dr Wolf shoe inserts on Amazon. They are much less expensive than some others that I once bought and they work just as well.)

I like to create background art for scripture or inspirational thoughts. This project attracted a lot of attention while I was working on it. To me, it’s just doodling, but I guess the more a person doodles, the more it starts to look like art.

I’ve been twiddling with some doodles and watercolors during some of my downtime and the other day one of the Area presidency members walked by and really liked what I’d done. So much so that he came by a little while later and asked if he could take a picture of it. That felt good. Art is a way for me to meditate and helps to pull me out of the doldrums, so I do it when I can. I do it when I’m hurting, or mad, or frustrated, or discouraged. I tend to work those things through by drawing, painting, or writing poetry. Poetry is something I think I’ll be coming back to more. I like the way it gives me a mental lift.

I love to add a quote to my projects, but it takes a lot of courage for me to risk the possibility of making a mistake on the hand lettering, so often I just use photo editing software to add it digitally. I’m generally more satisfied with it though, if I succeed in doing it by hand. It takes some time to work up to that though.

But the big thing I really need to work on is my Spanish! I have to dedicate more time to that. For some reason, I feel like it’s one of the main reasons I’m here. God wants me to learn Spanish. I’m pretty sure if He wants it, I can do it. But I have to set aside more consistent time for it. I have to put in the work. I just always wonder if there’s a more efficient way than whatever way I’m using. I keep reminding myself, don’t let what you can’t do, keep you from doing what you can. Music, art, writing, Spanish, office work. I just need to keep doing what I can. Poco a poco. (Little by little.)

I see this electrical tangle as a prime example of doing the best you can with the resources you have. It may not be the best, but somehow people can turn their lights on – usually.

Have a wonderful week!


  1. Hi Heather! Although I’ve never led music in another language, I have an idea. If you can learn the numbers in Spanish, you can show the time signatures. Then play them in Spanish and lead them. Then ask them to do it with you. Just a suggestion. Try not to get frustrated. You will make a difference through the spirit of the Lord. Love you, Shelley

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, this is one of the things I’ve done. Things get a little tricky when they don’t know how the notes are counted in the music. Throw in pick-up notes at the beginning and it’s bonkers, lol. We’ll get there, slowly, but surely.


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