David Archuleta lights up when asked about the joys of missionary work.
It’s tough to believe there was a time, just a few years ago, when he drifted from regular Church activity. He was once even reluctant to tell others he was a Mormon.
But the loving guidance of the Holy Ghost and a few trusted friends and relatives brought him back to full Church activity and, eventually, to the mission field in Chile.
Being involved in the Church “made a huge difference,” said the recently returned missionary who shot to fame in 2008 when he was a finalist on American Idol. He spoke of his own “conversion” during a June 24 Facebook “Face to Face” online event that was hosted by the Young Men and Young Women general presidencies.
David was actually involved in two live broadcasts. First, he participated in a Spanish-language question-and-answer program; followed by a similar 60-minute broadcast in English a short time later. In both, the popular singer responded to questions from viewers — both in and outside the Church — from across the globe.
Viewers posted questions for David via Facebook or using the Twitter hashtag “LDSface2face.”
Brother David L. Beck, Young Men general president, and Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president moderated the English-language program. Sister Denise P. Lindberg of the Young Women general board assisted Brother Beck during the Spanish-language broadcast.
Despite being broadcast to a massive audience, the event felt warm and informal. Dressed casually, David answered a variety of questions in both languages with equal measures of candor and enthusiasm. He also sang several hymns and Primary songs, in both English and Spanish.
Several queries focused on the role music plays in David’s spiritual life. He said he discovered early that he could make others feel good when he sang.
“I realized that people can feel what I feel through music,” he said during the Spanish broadcast.
Music, he added, has helped him better understand himself and overcome his natural shyness. He often enlisted his singing voice to break barriers with would-be investigators during his mission.
He then testified of the impact missionary work has had in his life. It was in the mission field that he found happiness through focusing his thoughts and attention on the needs of others. “Everything you do [on a mission] is about serving other people,” he said.
He admitted to battling bouts of homesickness in the early days of his mission. And he sometimes struggled to adapt to a new culture and language. But he soon found joy in serving the Lord and loving the Chilean people.
Several viewers asked David’s advice in preparing for a mission. He counseled future missionaries to become familiar with Preach My Gospel long before their mission call arrives. It’s vital, added, “to be teachable.”
“You just have to be willing, and to dedicate yourself and to learn,” he said.
David also enjoyed some lighthearted moments during the broadcast. He smiled broadly when he spoke of his cravings for Chilean empanadas and, no surprise, when asked about his dating life.
“I don’t have a girlfriend,” he replied, sheepishly.
A recording of the David Archuleta “Face to Face” broadcast can be found in the “Youth” section at lds.org.