Edited by Frank Fortunato firstname.lastname@example.org
Coordinator, AD2000 Worship and Arts Network
Greetings, Worship and Arts Friends.
Radio continues to be one of the special means that people hear the Gospel. In restricted parts of the world radio also becomes the main way that people worship together. One recent example of the impact of radio to help facilitate times of worship come from Vietnam. No one knew about a group of 200 "secret believers" in a remote village in Vietnam until religious broadcasters were contacted, asking for a visit. Christian leaders traveled five days through a jungle to reach the village. The villagers all meet together for worship, tuning into Christian radio programs. "The response to the daily and Sabbath broadcasts have been far beyond anything originally expected," one church leader said. "There are congregations worshipping in parts of the country where the Church has never had members before."
(As reported in Religion Today, August 24, 1998.)
For more than a decade Dave and Pam Wilson have brought well-known Christian music groups to Turkey for ministry. But these concerts are unlike most Christian music events happening in many parts of the world. For starters, the Wilsons prepare booklets with the lyrics of the songs translated into Turkish to help listeners follow the words in their own language. At the back of each booklet is a coupon asking the person how he enjoyed the concert. Other questions ask if he would like info on future concerts, would he like to receive booklets and a course on the life of Jesus, and finally, would he like to meet with someone personally to talk further about Jesus Christ. These forms are collected before the end of the concert.
In addition, the musicians are encouraged to give their testimonies and share their faith in an open but culturally sensitive manner. At the close of the concert the musicians are encouraged to stay and talk further with the people. Translators are at their side to help. Tapes are sold afterward, and these include lyrics translated into Turkish, along with coupons and surveys. Thousands have heard the Gospel each year and more than 1500 have signed up for the Bible Correspondence Courses. The organizers have seen many people visited, join Bible studies, make commitments and become part of local churches.
(For more information, or to know about being part of a music group in Turkey, instrumental, vocal, or sound engineering, contact Dave Wilson at email@example.com)
Just a few short years ago there were only a handful of believers in this Hindu nation. One of the incredible chapters of modern missions history is the way the Lord has swept through Nepal bringing thousands upon thousands into the kingdom of God. As churches were planted they needed a means to worship. To help fill this need the Lord united a team of local Christians and missionaries to attempt an awesome project-putting together a Nepali songbook. The result is a resource of 593 hymns and choruses, called Kristiya Bhajan. Audio recordings from known composers were collected. The music, chords, and Nepali text were input into a state-of-the-art computer notation software program.
The editing and re-editing was very tedious. "What's the status of hymn 346? Verse 2 has too many lines to fit the music. What do we do? What about # 91? We haven't been able to identify the composer and we have five different versions of the tune on tape. What do we do?
The final laser printing was a true test of faith due to printer incompatibility, which required the machines not be turned off. This was nearly impossible during frequent unplanned electricity cuts. As a result the music printing went on non-stop for 21 hours, and the completed final printout happened literally one minute before the next power outage!
Commented the compilers: "The music edition will be useful for standardizing the way songs are sung, as well as providing a valuable tool for teaching and uplifting the spirit of worship throughout Nepal and in Nepali communities around the world."
(For more information about ordering a copy of the Kristiya Bhajan-Music Edition, contact Karen Knisely at firstname.lastname@example.org,<> or Miriam Ramse, at email@example.com).
New Zealander's David and Dale Garratt have been involved in worship ministry for decades, and pioneered much of what we recognize as worship renewal in worship around the world. One of the areas of focus in their ministry for many years now has been their interest in indigenous worship expressions, especially in cultures that have been suppressed in some way. For the past two years, David has traveled to various corners of the planet recording the sounds and sights of various indigenous peoples and ethnic groups. The video project, called "Let my people go" calls peoples to bring their unique treasures, their celebrations, songs and dances, back to the Father in praise and worship, so that these people groups would see God as he really is, the God of the whole earth.
With this message is also a warning that the enemy who has exploited them for centuries will battle to stop this happening in the same way he fought for the continued bondage of God's people in Egypt so long ago. The project is now at the critical stage of final editing. The editing team face the pressures of getting the equipment and resources to bring the project to completion, along with the insight and wisdom to make the right decisions.
David explains the meaning of the video project: "When God created the uniqueness of the different people groups he gave them all different treasures. Sounds, dances, rhythms, musical instruments...all used in their celebrations and festivals. Over centuries and thousands of years these "treasures" have been, in many situations, used as tools to worship Satan. During the past 10-15 years a stirring has risen in the hearts of the "ethnos" of the earth. A stir for their land, their place, their own ....Many have sought to return to the ways of their ancestors and to the gods they served. I have however wondered if the real cry is one put into the hearts of the people to return to the true God even though they may not recognize it as such.
David continues; "In most situations where a dominant culture brought the gospel to an Indigenous or ethnic group they brought their own sounds which replaced those from within the people of the land. Now a cry for freedom is rising from the people. This will be contended at the highest level in the heavenlies as the principalities and powers of this dark age content with the word of God.
Garratt concludes: "Here is a final word to the "western" world of whom I am part: 'Learn to listen to your brother and sister from another culture and race. Learn to hear him and her in the "spirit" and not judge what they do on a human level or with your own understanding. ...Be slow to judge. It may be that your discomfort is purely a cultural feeling... Allow for mistakes and excesses as people who have never even crawled in the Spirit are trying to learn to walk and run in a short space of time. Don't have higher expectations of them than you would of your own people.
For more information on "Let my people go video project" contact David Garratt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Parts of this story were covered in a previous GWR. Here is a fuller report of one of the most spectacular efforts in modern day Pakistan of the Body of Christ cooperating together for an historic event that combined Worship, Evangelism and Celebration from one end of the nation to the other).
"The concept of a railway train full of singing, praising Christians, carrying the Gospel message from one end of the Islamic republic of Pakistan to the other, sounds incredible. Crazy? Impossible? Many thought so. But enthusiasm and faith grew and local committees of visionary believers began to make preparations in 12 major cities along the main railway line that stretches from Peshawar on the Afghan frontier to the port city of Karachi on the Arabian Sea.
At 8 o'clock on the morning of 30th November 1999 Christians began to gather on Peshawar station platform. An eight-carriage train had been booked and paid for and a five-day schedule agreed with Pakistan Railways. The authorities gave their full co-operation. In the name of the United Christian Peace Committee the Karvan-e-Aman (Peace Train) was inaugurated. Pastor Hashmat of the Assemblies of God, and Peter Gill of OM, who together had conceived the dream, now stood to address the crowd. The believers gathered on the platform sang, prayed and preached. At 9 o'clock doves were released into the air as a symbol of peace, and shortly afterwards the train moved out of the station.
At every small station on the route to Rawalpindi the driver stopped the train for a few minutes and the believers poured onto the platforms to sing songs and distribute Scripture leaflets and videos. The Pakistan Bible Society had prepared 100,000 special folders for the Peace Train, and Campus Crusade for Christ provided thousands of Jesus videos for low-cost distribution.
A team of Christian puppeteers from Lahore erected a portable stage and put on a puppet show on the railway platforms. They presented the parable of the Good Samaritan and other Bible stories, which attracted great interest from the crowds.
In Rawalpindi food was provided and buses had been hired to take the travelers to a local church where a rousing praise service was in progress. Then the whole crowd returned on foot in a Jesus March. Gospel banners waving, colored balloons floating, the procession weaved its way through the crowded streets back to the station, where after more preaching everyone boarded the train and left for the next station.
So the train proceeded towards the south. At each major stop there was a welcome from local believers and a programme on the station platform. In six cities local Christians organized a March for Jesus to meet up with the train's arrival. At two stations the Jesus film was projected onto a screen and watched by crowds of passengers on the platform. In Lahore an enthusiastic crowd of about a thousand greeted the train with fireworks. Pakistan Television news featured the march on their evening news bulletin.
The train made an unscheduled stop in the small town of Ghotki across the border of Punjab in Sind Province. Some of those in the train were afraid that something had gone wrong. "We were afraid that there was an attempt to sabotage the train. Then we learned that a pastor had made a private arrangement with the railways authorities and the police for the train to stop so the local Christians could welcome us."
"This is bringing Christians together in a new way," said one participant working on the train security staff. "Many Christians are getting a new experience in evangelism. They can see and experience that they can do anything for the Lord if they are committed. This is a life-changing experience for many." Throughout the march there was no opposition, no disturbance. "Nothing was stolen. Nothing was lost. This was a miracle."
Not everything worked perfectly. There were some protests from religious people in Peshawar who threatened violence and appealed to the Government to stop the train. But considering the size of the project, problems and difficulties seemed insignificant in the light of all that was achieved. To quote one Police Officer on duty on the train: "Many times we have guarded these processions, but we have never seen this kind of management and order, and people marching for Peace."
The train was welcomed to Karachi in the afternoon of Saturday 4th December, after five exhausting and exhilarating days of ministry, with balloons, garlands and speeches. Fifty more doves of peace were released into the air. The puppeteers gave a final performance, and the participants moved off in a fleet of hired buses for a dinner prepared by the local committee.
A comment from a Christian in Karachi provides a good summary of what the Peace Train has accomplished. "At the end of the day, people's vision of God has really expanded. People are beginning to believe that with God all things are possible. Now if you tell people to reach for the sky, they will reach for heaven." Another participant said: "This event is giving confidence to Christian people to live in Pakistan."
(As reported by Mike Wakely. For more information contact Mike at email@example.com).
The songbook entitled "World Praise" is a comprehensive songbook with 170 worship songs/hymns/psalms drawn from over 70 different countries. In addition there are 40 praise and worship songs/hymns in three languages [English, Spanish and German]. The indigenous worship items are, where possible, in their original language and in an English version. They are arranged as authentically as possible. Many have guitar chords. Part of the criteria for choosing the songs has been their ability to travel across cultures and their accessibility.
For more information, e-mail Douglas Inglis at firstname.lastname@example.org,<> or contact the editor, David Peacock, at email@example.com.
A unique resource about the power of locally-appropriate music in missions work is now available. "Music and Missions" is in two parts: first, a compilation of real-life stories from Brazil, Ghana, Asia, South America and elsewhere. The stories demonstrate the effectiveness of indigenous Christian songs in evangelism, worship, and church planting. Second, the accompanying cassette has excerpts of the very songs mentioned in the stories! You can read the words, see the photos, and hear the local hymns - it's the next best thing to being there! The hour-long cassette has more than two dozen musical examples. This is a great tool for teachers and learners of all sorts.
To order the materials, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the ways to learn about a culture is to learn the songs and listen to the instruments of the peoples. Learning an instrument of another culture is a great way to build bridges of communication. To get an insight into the sounds that are built into various people groups, there is a phenomenal web site, worth spending hours exploring. It is part of the INTERNATIONAL MUSIC ARCHIVES, and presents musical instruments of the world through photographs, sound samples and text. Featured are the instruments of AFRICA, NORTH AFRICA / WEST ASIA, EAST ASIA, SOUTH ASIA, SOUTHEAST ASIA, EUROPE, AMERICAS.
Go to http://www.eyeneer.com/World/Instruments/index.html.
Most missions strategist believe the Jesus Film is one of the most powerful evangelism tools in the history of Christianity, with its faithful portrayal of the story of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke. The editing teams use sophisticated technology, an exhaustive translation and painstaking editing process to get the Jesus film lip synched perfectly in the languages of the world. The "JESUS" Film is now available in hundreds of the world's major languages and now online in 50 languages of the world. Some of the languages include Zulu, Uzbek, Italian, Sudanese-Arabic, Hindi, Greek, Czech and Afrikaans. In one month recently 24,630 exposures to the "JESUS" Film site were recorded.
The films can be viewed online at http://www.jesusfilm.org/realvideo.<>
(Statistics reported by Elvin L. Ridder, U.S. Ministries Development Coordinator).
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