More than 20 years ago, Mavis, my wife, and I served as public communication missionaries in the Australia Brisbane Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
On a September afternoon, we received a call from our mission president inviting us to organize a temporary Mormon missionary chorus to perform for Christmas activities. This would be in addition to our regular activities, and the necessary transfers were made. We spent several weeks performing at the downtown shopping center in Brisbane.
One Saturday afternoon, a woman shopper lingered and asked, "Could you please come and sing for our patients at a hospital. These folks are special and would thrill to your Christmas music." Because of an unexpected change in our schedule, we were able to honor her request.
Her scheduled minivans arrived, and we were driven to the hospital on the outskirts of Brisbane. Graciously greeting us at the entrance, she seriously counseled, "Now don't be surprised at what you see and hear at today's performance. I will lead you to the multi-purpose room where you will sing, and the patients will join you shortly."
And in they came! A few were wheeled in. Several were carried in on gurneys. The more mobile crawled in like animals and crouched on the floor. All had mental or physical disabilities, some severe.
Shocked, none of the chorus members uttered a word. Our hostess introduced us to the group. With conflicting emotion, we began singing our "joyous" Christmas tidings.
I was so completely stunned by the sight of this audience, I could scarcely raise my arms to direct our music. The more we sang, the more my bosom burned with humility and compassion for these precious souls.
As we boarded our transport, we were profoundly thanked for performing. Rarely do they ever have visitors.
It is my personal desire to live worthily that I might someday be privileged to see these wondrous souls again where we might join together, sing and share in the joy while praising the Lord for his love of all mankind.
Stanley G. Steadman lived in Taylorsville and passed away in 2012. This is published with permission from his family.