Small but Mighty by Palle Persson


For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to play a musical instrument. In 5th grade, I tried the trumpet, but it gave me a headache. In 7th grade, I tried the bass guitar, but it hurt my fingers. I gave up and as I got older I decided I would just stick to singing.

Last summer, as I was about to go and do a Bible study class in jail, Senior Chaplain Lee asked me to take a volunteer from the Dream Center, Benny, to sit in on my class. Benny brought his guitar with him and played as we sang a worship song. The inmates really responded; they were singing along, many with tears in their eyes. I got a crazy idea-I’m sure God planted it in my mind: Ukulele!

I bought a ukulele and began to practice. I got advice and songs from Kenny Arima, PastorGeorge, my son Erik and the internet. I played so much that my wife, Eileen, said that I was ukulazy. On New Years Eve 2012, I made a resolution that, ready or not, I’ll be bringing my ukulele to jail from now on.

On January 7, 2013, I had to stop and apologize 3 times as I struggled through “Amazing Grace”. I told the class, “Concentrate on the words, not the playing”. And they did; they were gracious to me as 40 guys stood and applauded.

“I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see”. This was the perfect place to transition into a discussion on the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32. Then we sang “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”. We read Matthew 14:22-33 and talked about how, like Peter, the moment we take our eyes off of Jesus we begin to sink. My ukulele has become a great Bible study tool, small but mighty.

Photo:  "Ukulazy" Palle with his favorite inmates: Kenny, Roxy, Lucy & Winston