Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sometimes, good things must end.....‏

January 12, 2015

And the good thing in this email that has ended is......................................... Choir.  I am a little heart broken because something that is so big in my mission is gone.  President announced it this week during a choir luncheon.  It was with a very heavy heart that he said it because of the great things that it has done.  It also is hard because many missions have asked to form a choir because of us, but Mission Department has encouraged them to not form one, and for us to end our choir.  So here are some of the thoughts that I have had about choir lately...
"Sometimes music can convey the words in our hearts that we can't in any other way because it reaches into our subconscious and taps into the eternal stuff we are made of to remind us where we came from and who we are." This is something I said to Sister Gillins on Thursday while we were talking about choir. The choir has changed my life and shaped me to be who I am today. Let me explain.

On September 3, 2013, I entered the California Irvine Mission, only the 2nd group to do so. I thought this was just like any other mission, with unique things just like any other. As I went into my first interview with President, I knew I was going to love him and serving with him, and what came out of his mouth shortly thereafter confirmed that.

"Sister Haws, it says here that you enjoy singing. Are you very good?" He asked me. "Well, I believe so. I sure love to sing." I replied, not sure where he were going with this question. "Well, you will be pleased to know that we will be creating a choir soon."

And that was that. Then, on September 17th, the very first choir practice was held. And we picked songs, I became the assistant Choir director. THAT was humbling. I have never felt so useless, so hopeless, or so afraid. However, I have never felt so supported, so loved and so humbled in all my life. I learned to trust God, trust myself, stand up for myself, and conduct a choir with confidence. It turned out quite good. It helped me realize that I needed to change my major when I return home. It also helped me on my slow path to self-confidence. Some other experiences helped me realized my self confidence and my divine nature.

In my life, I have sung "I am a Child of God" since I could talk. I have sung "Come Thou Fount" since I sang it the very first time when I was 7 and sang it at a 9/11 memorial service in church. However, not until I sang these hymns with the choir did they mean much to me.

It was in January. Elder Risk told us how much he loved the ward that we were singing in that day and the power he felt when we had sung "Come Thou Fount a few weeks prior. He told us what that song meant to him. I had studied the words that week in personal study, and I was ready to sing and bear testimony. Nothing prepared me for that performance.

As we sang "I am a Child of God," I realized how true those words were. I, Sister Kayla Marie Haws, was indeed a child of God. The most powerful, supreme being in the universe, was my father. He knew me, He loved me, and He wanted me to know that. I felt his loving arms surround me that day. We followed that with "Come Thou Fount" and the last two verses blew me away:
"Here I raise my Ebenezer/ Hither by thy help I'm come. And I hope by thy good pleasure /safely to arrive at home. Prone to wander Lord I feel it! Prone to leave the God I love! Here's my heart, O take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God. He to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood. Oh to grace, how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee."

How powerful and true those words are! How much more powerful when they are combined with 80 voices of set-apart missionaries, a piano, and violin. Words fail to describe the feeling and spirit that accompanied that song. Those words became my testimony, and I knew why I sang them that day.

Because of the spirit of choir, I stayed on my mission. I didn't miss many times-even when I broke my elbow. I wanted to give up so many times, but the choir, and the Spirit I felt each week there kept me going in some of the toughest times of my life. When I broke my elbow, I still tried to sing. When I went home, I was devastated that I would not be able to participate during Easter. And then I got to come back.

When i returned, the choir had chosen to sing a well known hymn, "How Firm a Foundation." It was really nice. As we performed it for the Newport Stake Conference, I sang the last verse of this song: "The Soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I will not, I cannot desert to his foes. That soul though all hell should endeavor to shake. I'll never, no NEVER forsake." And once again I was moved to tears. In that moment I realized what mattered in life. I don't have to worry about the Devil shaking me because I have the Savior to lean on. It, once again, became my testimony. And I got to share it with hundreds, including Helena and La. It was amazing!

So, when I say my heart broke when choir was disbanded, it was very true. So much of my mission is made of experiences from choir. So much of my testimony comes from these same experiences. I am eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father, and to you, for giving me this opportunity here on my mission. I am so blessed to have these experiences.

Now, this chapter of singing is over. It is time to obey willingly what God has said, and find new ways to serve my Lord through music. This chapter, this verse may be finished, but the book, the symphony is only beginning.

God knows us. He has a mission prepared specifically for us. he has a plan specifically mapped out for us. All we need to do us follow Him and trust in the guidance that He gives us. He sees so much more than we can glimpse, and His plan is so much better than we could even imagine.

I have a testimony of obedience. I know that this will be a trying time for some, but I know that it will be amazing and that God has a new plan for the California Irvine Mission. I am excited to see where this will take us.
Here is a scripture about singing.  Ether 6:9.  This is how I feel right now.  I can still sing.  And Sister Gillins and I were able to at a funeral on Saturday.  I love having a musical companion.  I am so blessed to have Sister Gillins at this time. 
Have a great week everyone! Keep singing for me!  Join your ward choir!!!
Sister Kayla Haws
you can buy Navajo Pride flour at our 99 cent store! Who knew I would have a little piece of home! I also made Frybread at Zone Meeting on Tuesday:)  I love fry bread!
sometimes companions like to match.  And sometimes it's totally on accident....

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