our bishop asked all the auxiliary presidents to speak briefly to a
combined Relief Society/Priesthood meeting. The message he asked each
of us to prepare was a short report on great acts of service we had
seen happen in our respective stewardship areas.
he extended this request to me, he thought perhaps I should report on
the recent baptism of one of our 11-year-old boys. This Primary child
is mildly autistic. He has a paralyzing fear of water, which is the
main reason he had yet to be baptized.
taking the missionary discussions, which is a requirement for baptism
for children over 8 years old, he felt he could face his fear of
immersion and be baptized. However, he is fatherless. When the
sister missionaries asked whom he wished to baptize him, he was quick
with the reply — his Primary teacher. His Primary teachers at
the time were a husband and wife team who were energetic and
dedicated in their service to their class. Indeed, they were a great
blessing to the children they served.
this child was not an easy task because he is from a culture that
gives many names to their children. He has about seven names, and
most of them bear absolutely no resemblance to English at all. Add
this to his phobia of drowning, and this could have gone very badly.
it didn’t. It was a beautiful baptism, and good feelings were
everywhere. Indeed, this was a “firework moment.” It
was one of those experiences that are highly emotional and spiritual
and help bolster our testimonies and are easy stories to remember ten
years from now.
to me the great act of service in this story was not the baptism or
the time this Primary teacher spent memorizing very long Native
great act of service was the weekly slogging through this teacher and
his wife did for the months previous — the coming every week
and being a constant source of positive experiences for this child.
moments are wonderful and give us that motivation to keep on keeping
on, but they are not what life is all about.
great work of our life is the daily, boring, monotonous task of going
to work to provide for our family, or making 6,000 sack lunches over
the course of our three children’s school careers. It is
changing over 5,000 diapers per child, and then laundering an endless
amount of soiled clothing when they finally “graduate” to
is the daily act of holding your tongue to show respect for your
preteen child even when he is not showing respect to you.
acts of service are all about the dull, the humdrum, the constant.
So my heroes in Primary are those nursery leaders who are always
there, helping those little ones feel safe because there is a
predictable face and a predictable routine every time they come.
include the Primary teacher who holds the same weepy child in her
arms every Sunday because he’d rather be with mom than dropped
off for Sunbeams.
include the music leader who you can tell feels incredibly scared of
this room full of children waiting to be entertained only by her for
the next 20 minutes — but
she keeps coming anyway.
week. Every day. These are the great acts of service.
we are called before the judgment bar, I really doubt the Lord is
going to ask for an account of our firework moments. Sure, those are
great and all. But it is how we do with the everyday, how we cope
with spilled milk and scraped knees and grumpy bosses and nosy
neighbors that really show our mettle.
can feel great and happy and close to the Spirit during a firework
moment. But the real challenge is to keep the Spirit with us always.
That kind of companionship with the Holy Ghost only comes from the
Emily S. Jorgensen is an independent music teacher in the Provo/Orem, Utah, area. She is an
active adjudicator and lecturer across the Wasatch front. She has held several positions in the
Utah Music Teachers Association. She has three children and is expecting her fourth soon.
Emily grew up in Tacoma, Washington, earning her International Baccalaureate diploma in high
school. She was awarded a Trustees Scholarship at BYU, and was graduated from BYU with a
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a Masters of Arts in Elementary Music Education.
She taught group piano classes at BYU, and has operated a private studio for 16 years, where she
has taught private and group music lessons for ages 2 through adult.
Emily currently serves as Primary president in her LDS ward, and is still married to her high school