Richard Parkinson On David Archuleta

Make sure you got your tissues on the side before reading this.

Richard Parkinson, his lovely wife Karla, and their children with David Archuleta

Sacrifice and Joy

It’s been 7 years since I first met a boy so shy, but humble. We first met around the piano in his living room where I sat and played a couple of songs for him while he sang. I was absolutely amazed at his interpretation and obvious musical genius, especially since he was what, 14? I could tell then that he was something special, someone who could impact a huge number of people with his voice, if he decided to. 

Now, after several years of doing just that, from his experiences through American Idol all the way through his recent activities overseas, he has decided to use his voice in a different way. He will be sharing a message with folks to help bring them another step closer to having complete joy in their lives. You see, to be happy is a choice. We can all choose to be happy with our lot in life. But joy is different. We can’t just choose to have joy. It is something that we must experience in order to have it, something that comes from another place. It comes from something or someone other than ourself providing an experience that brings us joy. 

I know this is why so many continue to follow David. He brings joy into the lives of those around him. You can’t fight your smile away when he is singing or just being his own self. It’s infectious, completely infectious. I have seen his music bring so many to a better place. I teach all of the artists I work with that at the end of the day, people really don’t care what they hear… they care what they feel. David is as good as anyone at taking you to a different place and transporting the way you feel. 

 David will be entering the Missionary Training Center, and for the next two years, he will be sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ every single day (well, except “P” day). I am so excited for him! I remember standing just a few feet away on May 9, 2008 when he met President Thomas S. Monson at the Jazz game. President Monson asked him how old he was and if he wanted to serve a mission. Even then, right in the middle of his Idol experience, he expressed clearly that he wanted to serve a mission. President Monson then asked him to call him when he turned 19 and they would “talk about it”. He also said. “You can use your voice on your mission.”

I’m pretty sure they’ve talked, probably on several occasions. I can’t imagine that there was any pressure applied to David to serve a mission. We were all well aware of the good that he was doing through his music and charity work. In fact, it could be argued that he was already serving a mission by bringing people to the gospel just from the example he sets from the way he lives his life. But, serving a full time mission for two years is different. It’s a complete sacrifice for a young man or young woman to go out into the field, leave behind their life as they know it, start knocking on doors, and ask if you can share a message. He will face rejection more than he will acceptance. I’m sure he knows this. But, can you imagine the joy that he will experience, and the joy the investigators will experience when they invite him inside to share a message of hope, love, and joy? Imagine those folks, who have no idea who he is, that find an unremovable smile on their own faces. 

I know this has not been an easy decision for David, only because he has said that. But he understands our purpose in life is not for ourselves. It’s not all about us. Just look at everything he is stepping away from and it will give you a glimpse into the conviction that he knows he is making the right decision to serve a mission. I personally love having people in my life that live with passion and conviction, for anything. Someone who will stand for what they believe in, even at the risk of persecution. 

I have seen so many lives change for the better simply because he would never shy away about the fact that he was a mormon. But I have never seen him push the gospel on anyone. I’ve never seen him tell anyone that they should read the Book of Mormon or meet with the missionaries. He just kept sharing his music and his affable smile with all those who would listen and join him in his journey. This will change for the next two years and he will now get to directly see the fruits of his labors.

I don’t expect David to ever change. Since the day I first met him, serving others has always been important to him. When we went to hear him give a talk this past Sunday in Sacrament Meeting, he shared that some of his favorite experiences in his life were with some of his elderly neighbors when he would get to go and help them with whatever they needed, and in return he would get to hear all of the little stories from their life’s journeys. These are simple, precious moments. Moments that bring… joy. 

I, too, will miss the young man who has taught me and my family so much through example. I can say with complete surety that I am a better man for knowing him. Not because he is David Archuleta, but because he lives with the light of Christ and is completely unselfish in sharing that light. Two years will go quick, and I can’t help but be excited for those individuals and families that will have the opportunity to experience complete joy in their own lives because of his sacrifice. As I sat and listened to him sing “The Spirit of God” in both English and Spanish on Sunday, I felt the gratitude filling my heart from the moments we have shared in the past. Now, it’s someone else’s turn to enjoy the spirit this young man brings. We will love and support him as he follows his heart to share his love of the gospel and of our Savior and learns more about the direct correlation between sacrifice and joy. 

I leave you with the words of the closing hymn from Sunday’s meeting:

God be with you till we meet again;
By his counsels guide, uphold you;
With his sheep securely fold you.
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet, Till we meet at Jesus’ feet, 
Till we meet, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
When life’s perils thick confound you, 
Put his arms unfailing round you. 
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet, Till we meet at Jesus’ feet, 
Till we meet, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
Keep love’s banner floating o’er you;
Smite death’s threat’ning wave before you.
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet, Till we meet at Jesus’ feet, 
Till we meet, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again.

Thank you for the continued support of David and Fans Of David!

Love y’all!

Rich Parkinson

If any of you want to learn a little more about what David will be teaching over the next two years, you are welcome to visit www.mormon.org

Also, the 182nd Annual General Conference will be held this Saturday and Sunday. You can watch the conference in its entirety online. It’s a time we cherish and love as a family. Visit www.lds.org to learn more. 

Credits to fansofdavid.com for this post.

He is just hours away from leaving. 😦 Again, we wish you the best of luck on this journey, David. We will wait for you even if it takes forever.

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