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Brother Shoemaker
by Bonita L. Cross
I think there are more singers in Heavenly Choirs than there are in Earthly Choirs.  Here's why.

When I was a missionary, I had the pleasure of serving in a ward where a remarkable member lived. Brother Shoemaker had a love and enthusiasm for the gospel. This was enhanced by his love of singing. Each and every Sunday his voice could be heard above the congregation carrying the glad news of the gospel hymns. The only problem was he couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. His voice was, in a word, dreadful. It never bothered him. He made a truly joyful noise to the Lord.

Brother Shoemaker knew what he sounded like and was judicious enough not to join the choir, but no one could stop him from singing the hymns. Newcomers would stare for a minute or two, but it was impossible not to love the man. And his enthusiasm was contagious. His lady wife was always there by his side, looking as proud as could be and completely unaware of anything amiss. As far as she was concerned his last name could have been Pavarotti, or Caruso, or Sinatra.

I remember feeling rather uncomfortable upon hearing him sing the first time or two, but after that it truly didn't feel like Sunday without Brother Shoemaker's lack of melody soaring above the voice of the congregation. From time to time a good friend would make a jest, or poke fun at him, but never in a mean spirited way.

The years have passed, and chances are the Shoemakers are members of a celestial stake in another realm by now. I imagine Brother Shoemaker is a soloist in a choir there. I'll bet he sings out every bit as much as he did here, and the sound is a glorious thing to hear, because I think the Celestial ear can hear the song of the heart more clearly than the earthly ear.

So think about it. You know someone too, don't you, who doesn't sing in your earthly ward choir, but will most certainly be in the front row there beside Brother Shoemaker.