Janice Kapp Perry and Marvin Goldstein shared their thoughts Thursday on what Perry referred to as a “serious topic,” service.
“In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of his precious children. … If you do this, your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible,” Kapp Perry quoted from Elder M. Russell Ballard.
She prepared the audience to ponder service with a musical number sung by her daughter-in-law Johanne Fréchette Perry and accompanied by Goldstein. The piece, “By Small and Simple Things,” speaks on how small actions, like a smile, hug or listening ear, can change an individual’s day or life.
Perry said she’s come to a time in her life where she ponders the importance of things like service.
“When you notice many on the obituary pages are younger than you, you start to think seriously about mortality … (and ask) have I done what I was sent here to do? … Have I served others?” she said.
She then shared a story on a service opportunity that started small and grew to something much more far-reaching. Perry was prompted through her bishop’s counsel to the ward to find someone to give service to, specifically service that required a sacrifice. She decided to visit her lifetime friend, Marie. Marie had gone blind, so Kapp Perry offered to read to her, an offer that was well received.
Over time, Perry’s service grew as she began to soothe Marie’s aching body through therapeutic foot massages and homemade soup. Perry recalled the last time she visited Marie in her home when she washed her feet prior to her foot massage.
“As I knelt on the floor and began washing her feet … I thought I must be feeling something akin to what Jesus felt,” Perry said. “It wasn’t always easy to keep those commitments but I can see these experiences were a very critical part of my spiritual education.”
She then extended the audience the same challenge her bishop gave to her and shared the quote, “to love another person is to see the face of God” from the musical Les Miserables.
Goldstein then took the stage to share his thoughts on how music can provide opportunities to give service to others. The musician shared the story of visiting his grandfather after a spontaneous prompting from his son.
Although his grandfather had been unable to communicate for three years, Goldstein felt prompted to try to access him through music. After a musical performance for his grandfather, Goldstein held his hand and asked his grandfather to squeeze his hand if he understood his grandson was there. Goldstein doesn’t know how or why his grandfather was able to understand, but he felt a squeeze back.
Goldstein also shared that using music to bring about conversion is one of the ways individuals can serve others.
“There are many songs and many opportunities for us to (communicate) perhaps the most powerful conversation from the Lord: music,” Goldstein said. “You feel things (and) you learn from just listening and so we need so much more of it. … The Lord knows how to do it, maybe we get in the way a lot.”
Goldstein closed by sharing his testimony in what he called “the way I share it” — a song. He played a piano medley with songs like “Nearer My God to Thee,” “Lead Kindly Light” and “I Know My Redeemer Lives.” He concluded the piece inviting the audience to sing with him as he played “A Child’s Prayer,” a song written and compose by Perry resulting in a standing ovation at the end of the piece.