Arts Consultant: Understanding:
The following is a report from the BTA-SIL Port Moresby Music Workshop, 7-11 June 2010
Music to My Soul
Rebekah Drew spent a short time as a Discovery student on the island of Lambom in New Ireland Province. She didn’t know much of the language, and that made it difficult to really connect with people. But she found that music opened many doors. “I spent many hours learning to sing songs in their Siar-Lak language, and teaching them songs in English as well. These were great times of sharing and strengthening each other’s faith. They also asked me to teach them how to read Western music notation.”
Six years later, she had the opportunity to return to Lambom after receiving some training in ethnomusicology. “The people were very enthusiastic about the songwriting workshop I held. About 50 people showed up each day. Together we studied God’s Word to discover what it says about worship and music. Then the people composed new songs in their language.” They were recorded, burned onto CDs, and put into songbooks along with other songs that they already had in their language. At the same time, Rebekah noticed that the men’s side of the church was noticeably emptier than the women’s side on Sunday mornings. The youth group that was strong before had dissolved. The young men walked around pridefully and rebelliously.
Five months later, Karen Rowe, the translator who has worked with the Siar-Lak for many years, noticed that the young men of the village had stopped being trouble-makers, and were filling the men’s side of the church. Another person told her, “The prideful young men have repented and turned from their former ways.” When asked why, she said that it was from them hearing the songs that were composed during the song-writing workshop. “Hearing the songs, they couldn’t rest,” she said. “Through the worship songs which were in their heart language, the Holy Spirit convicted them of their sins and they have now repented and are being taught by the church!”
Praise God for this wonderful change, and for the fruit that has come from this songwriting workshop!