Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Songs, Sunday School, and Scripture

Ever since the early church, songs and hymns have been a vital way of teaching people truths about God and Scripture before they could read the Bible. Presenting theology through rhythm and concise, metrical lyrics allow it to be easily memorized and presented in a pleasing, interesting fashion. But, imagine if all the songs that you have ever heard have been in other languages—it no longer matters if the words are or not, since you often can’t accurately understand them!

Just as the Bible itself needs to be translated, so do hymns and songs. The Tigak people of northern New Ireland have been working on translating and revising their hymnbook so that they can worship God through music in their own language. I have just left Ukarumpa to fly to the island of New Ireland where my colleague, Hanna, and I are assisting them with the final steps of revision before typesetting and printing.

Here are the templates for the SS books that the Tiang are translating
Can you imagine a Sunday morning church service without Sunday School lessons for the children? In many communities in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the church doesn’t have access to materials that allow God’s Word to taught in their own languages. The Tiang people of New Ireland have translated one Sunday School book, and now that all the lessons have been finished, they have been begging for several years for linguistic assistance to translate more. After Hanna and I finish the Tigak hymnbook revision, we’re embarking on a two-week workshop with the Tiang, assisting them to create more materials for their Sunday School teachers.

Pray for us as we tackle these two tasks and that the Lord would be glorified in all that we do (especially because many of the logistical details are still filed under the “unknown” category!)

Also, I will do my best to keep you all updated with our work here in Kavieng, but Internet access is often not reliable outside of Ukarumpa. So, I have also written some blog posts ahead of time to keep you entertained over the next three weeks (what do tablecloths, Jane Austen, and babies have to do with PNG? Keep checking back to find out!). See you in mid-June!