The "One"

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Chieko N. Okazaki

We all deal with many individuals. Each one of those contacts is precious. If you only have one minute, make each of those sixty seconds count. Let me quote Mother Teresa...She says:

"I do not agree with the big way of doing things. To us what matters is an individual. To get to love the person we must come in close contact with him. If we must wait till we get the numbers, then we will be lost in the numbers. And we will never be able to show that love and respect for the person. I believe in person to person; every person is Christ for me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is the only person in the world for me at that moment...What we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop was not in the ocean I think the ocean will be less, because of that missing drop."

Malcolm Muggeridge, Something Beautiful for God: Mother Teresa of Calcutta

I remember reading about a wonderful example of what happens when we pay attention to the little drops of water, to individuals. According to the report in the Ensign of the Tabernacle Choir's 1993 tour of Israel, part of the incredible success they enjoyed in that country came about because of an individual act of kindness by an unknown usher at the Tabernacle many years earlier. This is what happened:

"Iain B. McKay, director of international media relations for Bonneville Communications, recognized the importance of making the music of the choir available to everyone. Radio and television Broadcasts are an important source of music for those living in Israel and the surrounding area. Therefore, Iain's meeting in Jerusalem with Avi Hanani, head of music for the Israel Broadcasting Authority (the umbrella organization for Israeli radio and television, and the Jerusalem Symphony), was a very important event.

'Robert Cundick, Tabernacle organist emeritus, attended the meeting with me,' says Brother McKay. 'We walked in, and I handed my card to Mr. Hanani. When he saw Salt Lake City on the card he said, 'Let me tell you about Salt Lake City.'

Mr. Hanani proceeded to tell them about his own experience at Temple Square thirty-two years earlier. During the summer, his family toured the western United States and stopped at Salt Lake City.

A music student, sixteen-year-old Avi got up early the next morning to visit the Tabernacle and hear the Tabernacle Choir's broadcast of 'Music and the Spoken Word.' When he got there, all the doors were locked, but he could see through the window that the choir was rehearsing. Timidly, he began knocking on each door, and at about the fifth door an usher opened it. Avi simply said, 'I am a music student from Jerusalem and I'd like to hear the choir.' At that point the usher could have told the young man to come back later.

Instead, he invited him in. The rehearsal stopped, and Richard P. Condie, the conductor of the choir, shook hands with Avi, introduced him to the choir, and invited him to sit in one of the empty choir seats and listen. When the rehearsal ended, someone took Avi to the front row of the Tabernacle, where he sat next to Church officials during the broadcast.

'Mr. Hanani told me, with some emotion, that that was one of the most profound musical experiences as a young man,' says Brother McKay. 'And then Mr. Hanani asked, 'What can I do for you?' I said that Mayor Teddy Kollek had invited the Tabernacle Choir to come to Israel. Mr. Hanani replied, 'Well, we must have them on Israeli broadcasting.' This meeting opened the door for the outstanding media support of the Tabernacle Choir's concerts in Israel."

Ensign, April 1993, p. 46

Obviously that usher did not know that the sixteen-year-old music student would one day be in a position to do the Church an immense favor. Nor did the conductor who invited young Mr. Hanani to sit with the choir during rehearsals and see that he had a hospitable place during the performance calculate this kindness, hoping that it would pay off later. They had bread of kindness in their hands and they cast it on the water, instead of hoarding it until it became stale or moldy. And it opened doors.

Excerpt from Chieko N. Okazaki's book: Sanctuary, 1997, p. 38-39