BETA

101-year-old director still leading the singing after nearly 40 years

When Eva Murray isn't conducting the sacrament meeting hymns in the Isle of Capri Ward, Gold Coast Australia Stake, things just don't feel right.

After all, many of the members here can't remember a time when they weren't singing under the direction of this Church member, now 101 years old.Sister Murray joined the Church in 1958. A year later she was called as ward music director and has been serving in the position ever since - almost 40 years.

Today she attends Church every Sunday with the help of her ward family.

Church members, she said, come right to her door, help her into a wheelchair, and drive her to Church.

She stays in the wheelchair during all her meetings. She sits on several cushions during sacrament meeting, so she will be high enough to see the congregation while conducting the music.

Stake Pres. Robert Gordon said he can't think of anyone that doesn't love Sister Murray.

He recalled the 100th birthday party that members of her ward organized.

"I think it is a lovely thing to be a Latter-day Saint," she said. "The party was absolutely wonderful. No queen was treated as well as I was and am. They are all so kind, so helpful.

"They say that actions speak louder than words," she added. "The members here have certainly showed they love me with their actions."

Sister Murray said she owes much to the members of her ward who have been so good to her. She pays the debt through music.

"I am very delighted to think that the Lord chose me to serve Him. I am delighted to have been given a calling still at my age," she said. "I know I have been able to help others. I tell them, when you are given a calling, God qualifies you to fulfill that calling."

Sister Murray said she is proof of that. Once a talented entertainer - she sang soprano in "her younger days" - Sister Murray explained that her age has now affected her voice. "I can't sing," she noted. "At my age I would make an awful noise. But I can conduct and I can tell them what they should and shouldn't do. I can listen to them. I love music."

More importantly, Sister Murray said, she can share her testimony with them.

"I have a strong testimony," she explained. "I believe that Jesus is the Christ. . . . I love The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

She once asked her bishop when he planned to replace the "old woman conducting the congregation." His response - "No, No, you are doing great" - provided the encouragement she needed to resolve to fulfill her calling as long as she is needed and able.

"I realize the Lord has called me to fulfill this position," she said, "and that makes it all worth while."