Edited by Frank Fortunato
Coordinator, AD2000 Worship and Arts Network
Only the roar of a passing truck disturbed the moment of silence in the church. The men and women waited expectantly following the reading from the Vagla New Testament, while we wondered for a moment if this approach to making new Christian songs with non-readers could really work. Then, hesitantly at first, but with growing confidence one old woman began to sing out loud the song which was in her heart from the words of Jesus: "He who is carrying a heavy load and is getting tired, bring it to Jesus. He will save you. You who labor hard, come to Jesus because he has peace." The 2000-year old words tumbled out of her mouth, carried by a new melody in a traditional Vagla song type. Immediately the other women responded with the chorus. One of them picked up a rattle to provide the accompaniment.
Suddenly the dream in our hearts of seeing Vaglas free to worship the true God through their own music became reality. As the singer moved deeper into worshipping her Lord she fell to her knees: "Let's give Him glory because He is my Father." As she finished, another of the women took up the theme in a different style of song. Then it was the men's turn, and soon everyone was up on their feet dancing in a circle or improvising an accompaniment on any rattles or drums available. They were so eager to sing and dance as people who were uniquely both Christians and Vaglas.
Up until that day in March 1997, the believers' worship music had been borrowed from other ethnic groups and was not rooted in Vagla culture, emphasizing the foreignness of their religious expression. We were so privileged to be `midwives' at the birth of a culturally- appropriate `heart music' to be used in worship by this people group. Pastor Phillip, a Vagla blind pastor and musician testified: "for many years, we could have used our music to worship God and reach our people. Instead, the music has been used by the devil."
Vagla music certainly sounds unique to our ears! John 3:16 was accompanied by a horn ensemble of seven antelope horns played in intricate interlocking patterns. To the uninitiated it sounds remarkably like a traffic jam; but to the Vagla people, it's one of the sweetest sounds on earth -especially when coupled with those life-changing words. "Now," said Pastor Phillip, "I really hear God's words in these songs." So will many other Vaglas through the two cassettes of Scripture songs and readings recorded that week in an improvised studio at the church. Late that first evening, we met outside to eat pounded yam by the light of stars. After supper more songs started pouring out. The two old women who were lead singers composed song after song as the night went on, extemporizing lyrics as their thoughts took them from the foundation of the initial Bible verse to other truths they knew. The excitement spilled over in dancing and eagerness to be the next to sing. That night felt like a prelude to the joy of heaven.
For more information, contact Paul Neeley Paul_Neeley@sil.org.
Another report of Muslims coming to Christ in response to God- given dreams has surfaced in Sudan. An influential Nuba Muslim had a dream in which he saw himself being baptized in a Christian church, while believers sang a beautiful hymn in Arabic. The last part of the song said, "Receive Jesus and you will be happy." Then the door of the church opened and he woke up. The man immediately shared the dream with his wife and together they pondered its meaning. The next morning they were amazed when their 13-year-old son revealed that he had had a similar dream. "I was in a dark room when suddenly there appeared a light," the boy explained. "Then I saw daddy with a cross in his hand, where this light came from." When the man heard his son's story he decided to be baptized. His entire family is now working through Bible-study lessons to learn more about Jesus.
(PrayerNet Newsletter, September 12, 1998. Source: ADVANCE 1998.)
A prayer initiative was held in Hawaii in March 1998, during which Christians fought for their island's spiritual future, according to coordinator Daniel Kikawa. Following two years of research and hundreds of hours in prayer, teams of intercessors spread out across the island to pray. Hundreds joined them in prayer, fasting and repentance as part of the "Hawaii Spiritual Warfare Project". Kikawa reports that Hawaii's history is full of the spilled blood of thousands of innocent people who were sacrificed to the gods. Now, apparently, things are starting to move, particularly in the forms of worship. Hawaii's Christians are starting to worship God in Hawaiian, not imported, style. They are doing it with the agreement of their pastors, some of whom have even apologized for past cultural imperialism. The result is signs of a revival. In one service, a man ran out of the church and returned with a Conch shell, the Hawaiian equivalent of the Jewish Shofar horn, and started to praise God with it. The pastor joined in, as the rest of the church worshiped, danced or knelt in God's presence for hours. The pastor never got to the sermon. Church attendance has risen, with an unusual number of families, and the public is less skeptical. Kikawa intends to write a book about the happenings.
Source: Daniel Kikawa (From FridayFax, June 19th, 1998)
Richard Wurmbrand writes: "I met a Chinese Chrstian, perhaps 70 years old, who spent 24 years in terrible jails in Communist China. He told us how the prisoners were kept, sometimes for weeks, with their hands tied behind their backs. They throw the food on the floor as they would to a dog. Buckets of human waste would be poured on him and other prisoners. I looked at him and asked, "Dear brother, how could you bear these things?" Instead of replying like most men would have, he bagan to sing. He sang from 2 Cornthians 4, the last verses, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. A third of his life in prison. That is a tragedy. But we will live for millions of years, life without end. He could take this singing!"
(From Voice of the Martyrs Magazine, June, 1998). For more information, contact VOM: email@example.com
Pictures are used effectively to train Christians. Workers in Africa use flip-charts and picture books to teach principles of faith and evangelism. "The pastor can train people in the local church who cannot read or write," Evangelism Explosion's Ron Tyler said, "breaking a barrier that we've had for so long." The method also saves money because the ministry does not have the cost of translating materials into various languages. Evangelism Explosion plans to reach about 3,000 tribes and 2,000 different language groups in the next 20 years.
(Mission Network News)
Nashville is known as the city where musicians work hard and do whatever it takes to advance their careers and become known. They work intently for that occasion when they can get the big contract for recording or performance, stardom, money, etc. But Nashville has also become known in Christian circles as a place where dedicated musicians serve the Body of Christ freely out of their love for Jesus, and not just for career advancement. One such activity involves a team of musicians who regularly minister at a local prison, Sponsored by Artists in Christian Testimony, the musicians not only prepare their mini-concerts, but go through thorough training with a specially-prepared manual, learning how to share their faith. Following their presentations, the team receive evaluation for ongoing training. Many inmates have come to Christ through these efforts.
For more information, contact Byron Spradlin: ByronSpradlin@compuserve.com
After graduating from the elite Curtis Institute of Music, Tim and Lorri Bentch went on to receive ordination as a Mennonite church planter and pastor couple. Tim and Lorri then moved to Budapest, Hungary, started learning the very difficult Hungarian language, and began a ministry sharing Christ through concerts, teaching, training and equipping other Christian professionals in a ministry called "A Song for the Nations." Their concerts are leading to Bible studies, fellowship groups, seminars, camps, and conferences.
(As reported in PULSE, March 7, 1997, p 4).
Wycliffe ethnomusicologist and translator Brian Schrag describes the awesome moment of returning home from Africa where he had been working with the Mono tribe in both Bible translation as well as helping the Mono people develop their own indigenous worship expressions). Upon entering the familiar surroundings of a Dallas church after many several years in Africa Brian writes: "Thus, physically, emotionally, and spiritually weakened, I trudged into the Southwest Harvest Church in Dallas, with Wycliffe friend Paul Neeley. At the first sound of the choir and worship band, my deadened soul quickened within me. They were singing songs I knew. In English they were standing and clapping and swaying the way that the congregation in my home church in Chicago does. After learning to worship God in new ways in France and Zaire here was something familiar. Tears streamed down my face. My broken voice reflected perfectly the broken spirit beneath it as I joined my brothers and sister: "Can't stop praisin' His name, I just can't stop" I was home. Singing and worshiping God with my heart; surrounded by people with skins and voices and clothes and words and gestures and improvisations that I knew that had accompanied some of my life's most profound communication with God. And God begins to rebuild me. Oh, I believe that people can learn to worship God I unfamiliar musical, linguistic and cultural contexts+But there's something profound about being home. And it's this depth and fullness of communion with God when I'm home that I want every people in the world to be able to experience."
To contact Brian Schrag: firstname.lastname@example.org
"An important ingredient to finding a renewed experience in worship is to heighten our concept of God. We must think rightly about who God is to worship Him correctly. The Church's worship will never rise higher than her thoughts of God. Themes like the excellency, supremacy and the attributes of God are helpful in bringing people to a renewed experience in worship. As Joseph Garlington says, 'we are not human beings having a temporary spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a temporary human experience'"
To contact LaMar Boschman: email@example.com
"The Catalyst Library" by Brian Schrag, It's a library of "Catalysts" - a library of short, structured papers, each which describe a single activity -or Catalyst- that may be used to encourage the use of indigenous hymnody in a given situation. The library includes supporting materials to aid in the research necessary to implement the Catalysts. It's a library of tools and descriptions of activities that have worked.
Among the items included:
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The AD2000 Movement Worship & Arts Network is a global fellowship of classical, traditional, contemporary and cross- cultural musicians and artists committed to bring all peoples to worship the one true God. The Network exists to help musicians and performing artists find their way into ministry, especially as missionary artist/musicians. We are not a sending agency but cooperate with many organizations with similar goals to see music and worship and the arts used in evangelism and church planting strategy. The Worship & Arts Network is joined by 20 other networks and task forces that form the AD2000 Movement. One mission strategist has called the AD2000 movement "the largest Christian network in history." The motto of the Movement is 'a church for every people and the Gospel for every person". We are mobilizing people, providing worship materials, and assisting in training new missionaries. We want to get you connected to the organizations, openings and educational opportunities that can make your gifting used in leading the peoples to worship Him.
For a more comprehensive intro to the Network and to the services we provide, you can contact Grace Wiebe, resource coordinator, email@example.com Ask for the email<> entitled AD2000 WORSHIP & ARTS NETWORK intro.
For more information,
The 36-song AD2000 Worship and Arts Network mission songbook is nearing completion. The working title for the collection is: LET THE NATIONS REJOICE-Worship songs proclaiming God's glory. Unique features of the collection are the inclusion of some of the finest new hymns on mission from recent hymnals, and songs representing a variety of publishers from North America, UK and Australia. (A pre-release edition of the songbook will be ready November 5 See ordering information below).
Early in the new year the songbook can be purchased with an accompanying teaching CD featuring soloist Scott Wesley Brown's recording of 12 of the 36 songs. The 12 recorded songs will have both the vocal (songs 1-12) and backing tracks (songs 13- 24) on the same CD.
Among the songs titles in the songbook are
A pre-release version of the songbook will be available November 5. The cost is $10, Make checks payable in US funds to:
Tel: 706-554-5827. Fax: 706-554-7444.
For more information contact Frank Fortunato firstname.lastname@example.org
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