Hola mi familia y mis amigos,
This is a letter that I never, ever thought would come from me. And I fully realize anyone who knew me growing up may die of shock, not to mention Jared (my older brother) will have a good excuse to make fun of me for the letters I used to write to him while he served a mission in Brazil (which said he wasn't allowed to mention piano in his letters to us back home).
For many years my mom forced me to play piano and I hated it. I loved my teacher (Miss Tomi) but the actual piano was not exactly on my top list of favorite hobbies. Even when I did manage to practice my songs and learn them well enough for recitals, I would freeze up on the stage and not make it past more than a few measures. But as soon as I graduated from high school, the sacrifice and frustration of Miss Tomi and Mom payed off as I began to love piano while I was in college. One of my greatest memories of BYU was sitting at a piano with a good friend of mine as I played and she sang hymns.
On my first Sunday in the MTC (Missionary Training Center-where we spend a few weeks at the beginning of our mission), our Bishop needed a pianist and my companion so kindly volunteered me. At that point I had never accompanied in my life and my first experince went poorly. I messed up most of it and only played 3 of the 4 verses (and Mormons get ticked when you mess with their hymns). As more companions so generously volunteered me, I slowly got better at accompanying and at this point I'm decent at it.
Spanish congregations typically aren't full of pianists, so in our worship services I'm often called on to play (aka...sacrament meeting). Never do I enjoy it and I do all I can to avoid it.
But...on Sunday I had one of the greatest experiences of my life: they asked me to play piano during primary. Primary is the sunday school class we have for kids 3 to 12, and they have songs that are so much more fun than our normal hymns. Not to mention its a bunch of kids singing the songs. Many of those kids are young boys between 3 and 12 years old. And many of them happen to be crazy.
It made me appreciate my own primary teachers so much more. When I was that age my mom described as such: Brandon has two speeds: fast, and asleep. He also has two volumes: loud, and asleep. As I watched the primary teachers try to herd a group of boys, I decided that primary teachers deserve instant exaltation in Heaven.
Especially one particular teacher of mine: Sister Kerr. We were about 10 years old when she taught us. And when I say "we," I mean 11 of the craziest kids ever to step foot in a church. We only had a single girl our age to even out the craziness. How Sister Kerr managed to do that yet still make all of us love her so much is beyond my understand. And what she probably doesn't know is that she touched each one of our lives. My friend Taze (who is serving a mission in Taiwan) and I were talking about her only a few months before he left. We talked about how much it meant to us that she had stuck with us, never got mad at us, and also taught us about the gospel. Being the inconsiderate teenagers we were (and partly still are), we never thanked her. That will be on my list of things to do when they make me leave here.