The opera singer praises God during the GC session despite his inability to speak.
The 61st The General Conference (GC) session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, held June 6-11 this year, brought together singers, choirs and musicians from around the world who shared performances of worship, in person and online. One such performer was opera singer Dae-bum Lee, who shared a beautiful rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer” via video submission at the Monday, June 6 afternoon concert, titled “The Spirit Draws My Deepest Devotion”.
In another post, Meredith Herzel, assistant director of GC Sabbath School and Personal Ministries and vice chair of the session music committee, shared how many performers at the GC session make enormous financial or personal sacrifices to share their talents with the global church body. One of these artists was Dae-bum.
Watching his music video (you can watch it at 2:40 on YouTube—Dae-bum looks professional and confident as he delivers powerful notes of praise, but as his wife, So-yeon explains, there’s more in this story than meets the eye.
Working as a professional opera singer, Dae-bum, his wife So-yeon and their three-year-old son lived in Italy, where he also led a choir at the Adventist Church in Milan. Passionate about the church and eager to share his musical talents, Dae-bum had long wanted to perform at GC Session, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, that dream seemed lost.
Unknown to the Lee family at the time, that wouldn’t be the only hurdle Dae-bum would have to overcome to perform in the GC session.
When the COVID-19 situation in Italy became serious, So-yeon and their son returned to South Korea. Dae-bum continued to work alone in Milan for about five months, until he suffered a stroke on September 7, 2020.
So-yeon rushed to be with her husband. “I was looking forward to seeing [him], but the direct flight was blocked due to COVID-19. Also, I was 7 months pregnant at the time. Nevertheless, God has provided a way for me to enter Italy again,” she explained in an email to the GC music committee.
When So-yeon finally saw Dae-bum, he was barely able to recognize her due to hemiplegia, aphasia, swallowing disorder, and cognitive loss. “I was just grateful that my husband was alive. And I prayed that he would recognize our family,” she said.
Staying in the Milan hospital for 50 days, So-yeon prayed for her husband to recover, “all the tubes that were finished [his] the body would be removed,” and he would walk again and return to South Korea. “By God’s grace and guidance, we returned safely to Korea and my daughter was born healthy,” she said.
Despite God’s continued blessings and protection, Dae-bum’s rehabilitation process has been difficult. Even though he was improving, one day he suddenly had an epileptic seizure, reversing his progress.
“Our dream of debuting with God seemed to fade away. However, my husband and I were again encouraged by the GC Music Committee’s advice that he could participate virtually,” says So-yeon.
“One day his lips moved and the melody started flowing. Even though he couldn’t speak, God created him for praise. We prayed to God, dreaming of praise again in the GC session,” she adds.
Given the Lee family’s many obstacles, So-yeon considers the video they produced a miracle. “[His] vocalization, pronunciation and praise posture are all deficient, but he prepared with a grateful heart, thinking he is a tool used by God,” she says.
For the thousands of people watching the GC session, this shortcoming was not noticeable, as Dae-bum’s melodies brought the hearts of the world closer to their Savior, Jesus Christ.
“I hope our story, which was prepared by God, will be passed on to many people, comfort them and serve as a ministry,” So-yeon says.
Although Dae-bum cannot speak yet and his convulsions may occur at any time, the Lee family thanks and praises God every day.
“I sincerely hope that the first scene of Dae-bum Lee, the Son of God, and not baritone Dae-bum Lee, will be a moment of glory only for God,” So-yeon concludes.
You can watch the incredible performance of Dae-bum and other talented artists at Monday afternoon’s concert on YouTube.