I remember sitting at my mother's knee, listening to stories about my Mormon convert ancestors. They were early missionaries and pioneers, men who tamed the wilds of California and Deseret, and women who built a paradise of milk and honey from a desert of thistle and crickets.
One of the things I missed, living in modern times like I do, was the chance to make a positive contribution to the entire Church and the world. The times when common Church members could reach out and bless hundreds or thousands were over, or so I thought.
Then I found out about LDS Vineyard and LDS Tech—websites where members can volunteer on Church projects. Let me tell you about one effort I’m involved in—the project we have on LDSTech to create an international version of the new LDS Music app for iPad and other iOS devices.
LDS Music, a free app you can get from the iTunes store, brings all the songs from the hymnal and Children's Songbook to your iPad. You can play the music, read the lyrics, and more.
Unfortunately, version 1.0 of LDS Music is only available in English. For version 2.0 of LDS Music, we are putting together the lyrics for all the songs in Spanish and Portuguese (the most common languages of Church members outside the United States), and French (because we already have approval and PDFs for it).
I don't consider myself proficient in any of these languages, but I did serve a mission in Italy, which is kind of similar. And I love music. So I volunteered.
In the last 10 days I've been able to put together lyrics for over 100 hymns, and I’m currently working on the final 59 hymns in the hymnal. It's easy work, though a bit tedious. You can see "tedious" in the youtube video I created to explain my process to a fellow volunteer who was nervous because he doesn't speak any of these languages.
But tedious isn't bad. I imagine it must have been tedious for Samuel Smith, the first missionary, walking step by step as he tried to interest folks in the Book of Mormon. It must have been equally tedious for the early workmen, chipping away to create fitted stones for the temples. Each stroke of their mallets, each weary step they took, laid the foundation we enjoy.
So I do what I can in my day. It's cut and paste, search and replace, but at the end of my labors will be music for millions of brothers and sisters around the globe, to play in their callings and to contemplate in their sacred moments.
Come join us. Help us finish the Spanish, Portuguese, and French lyrics (as well as other lyrics) to bless our brothers and sisters who speak these languages. I trust we will someday know how our efforts blessed and uplifted those saints in times of trouble and despair.
To get involved in internationalizing LDS Music, click Projects on the top navigation bar, and then join the LDS Music for iPhone/iPad project.