Never Say Never
It’s sad. It’s true. It’s unstoppable.
“Bieber Fever” is alive and well in Chile … especially in my grade school.
I often try to brainwash my students by using the singer in my sentences.
- I can’t stand listening to Justin Bieber.
- I dislike to dance to Justin Bieber.
- My least favorite singer is Justin Bieber.
It doesn’t work.
More recently he popped up AGAIN while I was introducing the eighth grade class to Frequency Adverbs (always, sometimes, often, etc.). When the word “never” popped up on my PowerPoint screen the room immediately chorused “Never Say Never” – an English phrase made popular here thanks to a song by Justin Bieber with that title.
So since I am obviously not a Bieber Fan, why am I taking the time to write about him?
Well I hate to admit it, but the lyrics to “Never Say Never” were stuck in my head this past weekend. Why? Because I am currently finding myself doing things I NEVER thought I would do.
When I was growing up, I was blessed to have multiple opportunities to learn how to play the piano. Sadly, I knew that I would “NEVER” need it, so I blew it off.
My mom was a piano teacher so I began very young. I also went to a high school and a college that required piano classes. If anyone should be decent at piano it should be me! Instead, I knew that I would “NEVER” need to play piano for anything significant. That’s what youtube is for right?
Instead of actually trying to learn the piano I sat through countless practices just playing the songs that I liked over and over and over again. I didn’t even bother to learn notes! I would simply memorize a song and then add it to my playlist forever.
I am also disheartened to admit that I even went as far as to play poorly on purpose when I started college so that they would place me in a basic level. That way I wouldn’t actually need to practice. Instead I could continue to play only the songs that I liked and had memorized.
Oh, if only I could go back in time!
Our congregation here is small but mighty, and the people love to sing! I can think of two members specifically whose voices I can always hear above the others in church on Sunday. I also love music and find that lyrics to a hymn often stay with me longer that the words to a sermon. Music is such a powerful tool that the Holy Spirit works through!
After being in Chile for a couple months, I realized that some Sundays we didn’t have a piano player in church. Some days it wasn’t a problem because the members recognized the hymns and simply sang a capella. However, on other Sundays they would really struggle because either the hymn was new to them or they just simply couldn’t remember the melody. (In case you are a new reader: our church worships by using a bulletin and sermon sent to us from our Pastor who is located four hours away. Pastor Erickson works with several churches in Santiago and usually visits our church in Linares once a month)
It was on those Sundays that I began to think about and deeply regret my decision to “NEVER” care about being decent at the piano.
Never Say Never.
The good news is … that thanks to a donor we were able to purchase a small keyboard! Because of this I have been able to practice piano at home in the hopes of being able to help out more at church. Also, thanks to the blessing of Skype, my stepmom Mollie has been giving me piano lessons. Don’t worry! I am much more invested in these lessons then I was before. (=
And the big news is…
This past Sunday I was able to play in church for the first time!
It was nothing glamorous. At times I could only play with one hand and just the basic melody. But it was music, and we were able to learn and sing two hymns that the congregation either didn’t know or didn’t remember exactly how they went.
We all have gifts or time that we can dedicate to serving in our churches. I certainly am not gifted at piano! But I do have the time to try to serve in that area. Others give in their own special way too:
- Grandma Alicia comes to church every Sunday carrying flowers from her house in the country.
- Fran, a high school student, cleans the church every weekend.
- Twelve-year-old Carla passes around the offering basket.
- José and Sebastián installed burglar bars over the windows of the English classroom, mow the grass, and get everything set up for communion.
- Erika and Ariel meet regularly with the architect to make plans for the new church building.
- Isabela and Jenny bring their delicious baked goods to share.
- Eduardo and Ariel read the sermons and the other men of the congregation take turns reading the scripture passages.
- Ellen and Pastor bring resources to share with others.
- and the list goes on and on.
How can you be a part of your church or mission field? There is no gift or service too small! A smile or a welcoming word to visitors is a gift. Helping fold the bulletins is a gift. Inviting other members over for a bible study or socializing is a gift. Sharing an encouraging word with your Pastor is a gift.
Remember, it’s not about how gifted you are. It’s about the gift of the Holy Spirit that is already in you that you can share with others!
Because of Him we should “Never Say Never.”
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4: 10