Singing on Sunday
September 2023

“Singing on Sunday,” Friend, September 2023, 20–21.

Singing on Sunday

It wasn’t that bad if Alejandra missed church just once, was it?

This story took place in Guatemala.

Alejandra sighed in relief. She had just finished singing her solo in the music room for her teacher. All her weeks of practice had been worth it! She didn’t even struggle with the tricky part.

“What a beautiful voice!” Ms. Pérez, the school music teacher, stood and clapped. “You can move on to the next round in the talent contest.”

Alejandra was thrilled! In this contest, students from several schools would sing, dance, or play an instrument to compete and win prizes. Ms. Pérez was the judge who chose who got to stay in the contest. And now Alejandra had passed to the next round!

“You need to pass two more rounds of auditions,” Ms. Pérez said. “If you do, you can enter the final contest. It’s on a Sunday later this month.”

Alejandra’s joy disappeared as quickly as it came. She felt like there was a heavy weight in her stomach.

She knew Sunday was a day to go to church and learn about Jesus Christ. It was a day to take the sacrament. It was a day to rest and be with family.

“Sunday?” she asked. “I don’t know if I can.”

“If you can’t be there for the last day, then you can’t be in the contest. I know you would do well if you entered, but it’s your choice. Think about it over the weekend and let me know on Monday.”

The next day, Alejandra kept thinking about what to do. She always went to church with her family on Sunday. But did she really have to be there every week? It wasn’t that bad if she missed church just once, was it?

At bedtime she talked to Papá about what she should do. “Should I sing in the contest or go to church?” she asked.

“The Sabbath is a day we give to God.” Papá pulled her blanket up to her chin and sat next to her on the bed. “We have six days for ourselves. God asks for only one day. But I can’t make this choice for you.”

Primary children singing at a sacrament meeting. A mix of boys and girls of different ages and ethnicities. An adult woman is playing the piano in the background.

The next day at church, Alejandra and all her Primary friends got to sing “A Child’s Prayer” in front of the whole ward. They had been working on this song for a long time!

Alejandra sang with her whole heart. The music made her forget about the hard decision she had to make tomorrow. When they finished the song, she proudly walked back to sit with her family.

Mamá gave her a hug. “You sang beautifully!”

“We’re so proud of you,” Papá said. “Sharing your talent showed your testimony and faith in God.”

Alejandra was happy to use her talents to sing Primary songs. She knew it made her family happy too.

Then Alejandra thought of something. If today had been the contest, she would have missed the chance to sing about Heavenly Father. What would she miss if she didn’t come to church on the contest day? She wouldn’t be able to sing her testimony in Primary with her friends. And she would miss the sacrament.

On Monday, Alejandra knew what she had to do. She went to the music room to talk to her teacher.

“Thank you for the opportunity,” she said. “But I don’t want to be in the talent contest if I have to do it on Sunday.”

Ms. Pérez put down the sheet music she was looking at and frowned. “Are you sure you want to miss out on the contest?”

“Yes, I’m sure.” Alejandra was proud of her decision. It was hard to make, but she knew it was the right choice. “I’ll miss something even more important if I go.”

Friend Magazine, 2023-09 September

Illustration by Janelle Anderson