Immanuel Lutheran Church, Almelund, Minn.
Immanuel choir director, pianist and organist. Keyboardist at another church primarily made up of Liberian immigrants. Group home caregiver.

I pray for peace, tolerance and for my family and friends.

My faith and gospel music were powerful sources of comfort, strength and survival as a young boy growing up in Liberia during the civil war. I was 9 years old when I first heard a church pianist and knew right then I wanted to learn to play the piano. I walked miles to the next village to practice because we had no piano and I loved the music so much. As I became proficient enough to play in church, the money I made helped buy food when we were hungry in the refugee camp. That faith in the Lord and music still stays with me today.

I find grace when the choir or band is sounding good and you can see the people are moved by it.

I love playing many styles of music, including gospel, blues, classical and African rhythms.

As a church musician, I try to select music that deepens people’s worship experiences. I encourage all the singers and musicians to find their own voice. I like to bring in new music that people haven’t heard but that I think they will enjoy and find uplifting. I feel blessed to bring my music to the congregation.

I’m passionate about having come to America for the opportunity to escape civil war and life in a refugee camp, and now obtaining my U.S. citizenship.

People are surprised that I write music for a community theater company made up of homeless people in the Twin Cities.

I believe music has the power to cheer you up when you are feeling down, make you more joyful when you are happy, and inspire you to become a better musician and a better Christian.

My favorite Bible story is the story of David and Goliath because it tells us of the smaller and weaker person overcoming the giant through the help of God.

I’m a Lutheran because, for me, faith and music come from the same place in my heart.

Watch a music video filmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church of Freeman, who says he “likes to play from the soul.”


Sentence prompts are provided to each person featured. If you’d like to nominate someone for “I’m a Lutheran,” email Megan Brandsrud.

Megan Brandsrud
Brandsrud is a former content editor of Living Lutheran.

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