In January, I was contacted by a gentleman asking if I would teach him to play piano. He said that he attended a small church and that each week they had to sing acapella since there was no one in the church who could play the piano. He wanted to learn to play so that he could be the one to play for them. He's 72 years old.
I have to admit, I was happy to teach him, but really skeptical that he would accomplish his goal. Almost from the beginning, I took a different approach. Rather than work through a method book, I have been working with him using books with simplified hymns. He has been practicing them VERY faithfully. As we've been going through lessons, it has become clear to me that he can't really read. I don't believe he ever finished school. Last week, he excitedly said to me, "I can read music!" It just about brought me to tears.
Today when he had lessons, he told me that his church is having a Saturady night where they get together, have food and sing hymns. He wanted to play one of his hymns for them so I asked him to pick the one he was considering. He played "Father of Our Fathers" and he played it so well and with such beautiful musicality, it almost brought me to tears AGAIN. (I really am not usually like this!) He's already well on his way to accomplishing his goal. And I'm well on the way to realizing not to doubt the spirit of determination!
He told me his church has been praying God would send a piano player. I believe God is answering their prayers through this gentle, faithful servant and I'm humbled to be a part of it.