Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Placentero Nos es Trabajar

I just sang a song this past Sunday called Placentero Nos es Trabajar. I sang it with the missionaries at my church, on of whom gets off her mission today and goes back home. It is a beautiful song and was a moving experience for me. The story behind it is pretty amazing.  Here are the lyrics, in Spanish and a rough translation into English (there is an English song called In the Sweet by and by, that this melody was taken from)

1. Placentero nos es trabajar en la viña del gran Rey Jesús, y honroso nos es predicar a Su pueblo, Su ley y Su Luz. Por Su luz, por Su luz, placentero nos es trabajar. Por Su luz, por Su luz, moriremos en El sin pesar.
2. La palabra de Dios escuchad con ahínco, lealtad, y fervor. Para siempre jamás recordad Su pureza, verdad, y amor. Con amor, con amor, la palabra de Dios escuchad. Con amor, con amor, la bandera de Dios empuñad.
3. ¡Oh hermanos, adiós, pues, adiós! El momento de ir vino ya. Si guardamos la fe en el gran Dios, nos veremos aun más allá, Más allá, más allá, ¡Oh hermanos, adios, pues adios!  Más allá, más allá, moraremos con Dios en amor.

It is pleasant for us to work
In the vineyard of the great God Jesus
And honorable for us to to preach
To His people, His law and His light.
By His light, by His light,
It is pleasant for us to work.
By His light, by His light,
We will die in Him without sadness.

Hear the Word of God
With eagerness, loyalty and fervor.
Forever and always remember
His purity, truth, and love.
With love, with love,
Hear the Word of God.
With love, with love,
Bear the flag of God.

Oh, brothers! Good-by, then Good-bye!
The moment to leave has come.
If we keep the faith in the great God,
We will yet see each other far Beyond.
Far Beyond, far Beyond,
O, brothers! Good-by, then Good-by!
Far Beyond, far Beyond,
We will live with God in love.

Clate W. Mask, Jr., of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, loves to tell how his grandfather, Andrés C. González, came to write this song. The story goes like this:

Andrés C. González was a schoolmaster’s son, and was one of the first called to serve a mission in Mexico City during the revolutionary era. Preaching on a street corner, he and his companion thought they could attract more attention by singing the popular Protestant hymn, “In the Sweet By and By.” Instead, they attracted the attention of the police, who jailed them for “stealing” the Protestants’ song.

Unable to sleep in the jail, Elder González wrote “Mormon” lyrics to the song. Back on the street corner after being released, the Elders sang “Placentero,” with the new words. The police were ready to haul them back to jail, but Elder Gonzalez exclaimed, "You can't take us to jail. It's not the same song."

Another time, federal soldiers accused him and his companion of being spies and threatened to shoot them on the spot. Convinced they were about to die, Elder González took a lesson from the great Book of Mormon missionary, Abinadi. Remembering how Abinadi gained his reprieve so he could preach to the King, Elder González told the federales, “You can’t kill us yet, we have a message for your Presidente which we have not yet delivered.”

The soldiers were sceptical, but eventually took Elder González to see the President of Mexico. On learning Elder González’ identity, the Presidente told him, “Your father was my favorite teacher.” He and his companion gave the president a Book of Mormon and taught him for two hours. He pardoned the two missionaries, and at Elder González’ request, proclaimed that the Mormons could preach the Gospel freely throughout Mexico without harassment. This was the beginning of the hugely successful LDS missionary movement in Mexico.
In those days, teaching the gospel there was extremely difficult. Today there are 12 temples and 199 stakes in Mexico.

I think of the last blog I wrote, about Esther, and this one about Elder González. Both of them risked their lives for the truth. There are many stories about martyrs as well. Brave men and women. Sometimes I think I must not be brave because I have never been asked to face death for the Lord, but then I realize that sometimes living for God is a greater challenge. I do not have to stand in front of a firing squad, but I am still out there, facing a world where morality is out of fashion. Religion has been called a crutch for the feeble minded, if you claim to believe in a god, people call you superstitious or uneducated. I am not superstitious, I walk under ladders, have broken more mirrors than I can recall and love black cats. I am also not uneducated. I have a couple years of college to my credit plus lessons learned in the school of hard knocks. The more I learn, the more I realize that I really need God in my life. Sometimes it is a little scary to stand up in front of a group of people I don't know and talk about my belief in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but I know that They are real. I know that if we let Them work in our lives, we will be better people for it. I will end this particular post with some scriptures from some of my most favorite missionaries of all time Ammon and Alma. Alma 26 is Ammon speaking and Alma 29 is Alma :)

Alma 26: 8 Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever... I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
 12Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
14Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed [us] from the chains of hell.
16Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

Alma 29: 1 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
 2 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.


  1. I've been looking for information about the origins of this song and I'm happy to finally finds some. I was wondering if you also have any sources for the story about Elder Andrés C. González.

    1. I've had the good fortune to hear this story in person from Elder Mask both in Mexico City and in the United States. Here is the link to the partial story, abbreviated for the Liahona: http://www.lds.org/liahona/2004/10/friend-to-friend-righteous-desires?lang=eng

      Elder Andres Gonzalez was Elder Mask's boyhood hero, with the motto "I will go and do."

  2. It was in the Liahona October 2004. Additional information was gotten from wikipedia and from another blog, where the author got the story directly from Elder Mask. Elder Clate W. Mask, c/o The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT.

  3. Here's my attempt at a translation maintaining rhyme and meter, in case anyone finds it useful: http://tomobag.blogspot.com/2014/06/english-translation-for-placentero-nos.html