“Singing and Storytelling,” Ensign, Apr. 2009, 72
When my wife, Sandra, and I were called to serve in the South Africa Durban Mission, we began looking for a community service project. I had been a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for over 20 years, and my wife, a library aide, had conducted story time in an elementary school. When our mission president decided to open missionary work in a nearby township, we knew this was our chance.
We visited the township and discovered that there were no libraries in the schools, just a small community library in the town. The young elders introduced us to the library director. We explained to her that we would like to hold a weekly story time for children. She was skeptical, but after some thought she agreed to get the word out and we could try.
On the first day five children attended. Gradually more came. After several months we enlisted the help of a young lady, a recent convert, who spoke beautiful English and Zulu. Attendance at story time grew, and the director and parents were excited about what was happening.
The Zulu people love to sing, so we added simple songs and rhymes to our story time. By the end of our mission, we were holding two or three sessions of song and story time a week to accommodate the more than 100 children who attended. What a blessing it was when we would see the children elsewhere and they would start singing our songs and reciting our rhymes to us.
Another blessing came out of our service in this area. As the local Church membership grew and we needed a place to start holding our Sunday meetings, the library director insisted that we use the library at no charge.
We are so grateful that the Lord helped us find a way to use our talents, serve the community, and help open an area of the mission.