Valerie J. Steimle
I had an interesting experience a few weeks ago when my stake in Mobile, Alabama sponsored the Saints Unified Choir that Gladys Knight directs and conducts.
In order for her choir to come, the missionary department of the church had to approve the building and our stake center was a very small one compared to others. It didn’t look like it was going to happen but somehow; with the prayers of our stake president it was approved. I was on the committee to help and it was an incredible month of planning and arranging. The weekend of the presentations came and the groups assigned to take care of the dressing rooms, food, and equipment setup were all busy doing their jobs. We started seven in the morning when a large 18 wheeler truck drove up to the stake center with all of their sound equipment. We only had so much time to get this entire job done before people started showing up to see the first presentation at 5pm.
The time came when all was set into motion; the audience arrived and was seated and the chapel became quiet. I really didn’t know what to expect because the choir was known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with rhythm and an attitude so sitting in the chapel waiting for this presentation was very exciting.
The choir walked in first, then Gladys Knight came in behind. The stake president made a few announcements, the prayer was given and the program started. Beautiful gospel music came from the voices of this choir. There were seventy choir members present and they really did sing as one. They sang old Baptist songs and some of our church hymns were arranged in a gospel style.
The singing was really enjoyable to listen to but it was what Gladys Knight said that touched everyone’s hearts. She spoke to the audience about why she is a member of the church. She said she finally understands why she sings so well. Her whole life of a successful singing career was to eventually spread the gospel. She sang since she was four years old and had a 56 year singing career. It was amazing to me to hear her speak of her whole life coming to this one realization: that she sings to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to others. What a journey! To finally realize-after living half of her life-what her whole life mission was to accomplish.
I have been thinking about that ever since. I thought about what my own mission was in my life and I think from my perspective, right now; raising my children and continuing to write about the important aspects of the American family are life goals I would like to accomplish. Everyone has a mission to accomplish here on earth and sometimes we don’t recognize what that mission is until we are well into our years as Gladys Knight did. It’s never too late to find out what purpose you have in your life. Even when you consider your life as a whole, you can find out what you are to do and then do it!