From Service to Symphony

By First Dallas Staff

Joseph Kyle Martinez has felt a profound calling to service throughout his entire life. Reflecting on his mother’s sacrifices as an immigrant from Mexico, he says, “She came here at such a young age, and she went through so much. My whole life, we have had a roof over our heads. This country has been so good to me, and I have to give back.”

Following his family’s legacy of military service, he left for boot camp just two weeks after graduating high school and served honorably for five years in the Navy. During his years of service, he was among an elite group aboard the ballistic submarine, the USS Wyoming, where he spent three months at a time out at sea. Joseph says, “It’s a hard lifestyle,” not one many can relate to, yet he adds, “I loved the community, the people, and being a part of something bigger than myself.”

Being out at sea for long periods can lead to deep introspection. “I felt like I was missing something,” says Joseph. He continues, “Luckily, when we were out to sea, every Sunday morning, all the believers on board had a Bible study.”

Despite growing up in a Christian home, Joseph felt inadequate in contributing to the spiritual discussions and experienced deep feelings of unworthiness. It was the lowest point in his life. Joseph felt the need to strengthen his relationship with Christ, and it was then and there, in a submarine, meters deep below the ocean’s surface, that he rededicated his life to Christ on April 1, 2018.

“Everything changed when I surrendered myself to Christ,” he continues. “It’s like a giant weight was lifted off my shoulders. My stress was gone, and my worries.” From that point on, Joseph reevaluated his goals and said, “I want to serve the Lord by spreading the gospel and talking about my relationship with Christ.”

After leaving the military, Joseph enrolled at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, pursuing a degree in Music Therapy. Yet, he felt a tug in his heart, desiring to serve more. He returned to First Baptist Dallas, a church he hadn’t attended since high school. “One day, I filled out a card to be a member of the church, mentioning that I played the harp because I wanted to use my gifts to give back,” Joseph recalls. Placing his interest card back in the box on his way out, he quickly received a phone call. Dr. Joe Hardin, the Associate Minister of Instrumental Music, said, “I have been praying for a harpist for years, and I think you are the answer to my prayers.”

Joseph made his debut in the world-renowned First Baptist Dallas Orchestra on February 11, saying, “I fell in love. Now I can’t stop doing it!” Through the opportunity to serve and lead people in worship, Joseph says, “It’s only gotten better. I am living my life happily, satisfied, grounded, and with purpose.”

Looking back on his journey to becoming our First Dallas harpist, Joseph thinks about how his faith has grown. “Before, it felt unreal in an undeserving way, but now in the best kind of way!” Joseph embodies the essence of service, whether to his country, his church, or ultimately, to the one true God. We all may feel trapped by unworthiness, but Joseph’s story reminds us that it is through Christ’s sacrifice that we find true freedom.



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