‘I’m so happy!’ Sam exclaimed, with a huge smile on his face. ‘The way you showed us to write songs worked! I went to bed early last night, since we had no electricity, and so I got up early this morning. I did what you said. I read Psalm 42.4-6, and translated it into my language.
‘Remember how we looked together at the characteristics of our local mountain poetry? Well, I wrote these verses from Psalm 42 as a poem in our own local style, and then made up a melody to go with it. Over breakfast I sang it to my wife. “Where on earth did you find such a great mountain-style song?!” she exclaimed. “This is what we’ve been learning to do at the workshop,” I told her.’
The workshop was a Scripture song-writing workshop, and the participants were from a people group living in the mountains of Central Asia. Sam and his people had no access to any of the Bible in their own language and live in a region that is very difficult to get to. Sam is a well-known local musician who used to sing in a popular local folkgroup.
During this Scripture song-writing workshop, the participants wrote and recorded, in three different local genres, ‘mountain-style’ Scripture songs – from Mark 10.13-16 (Jesus blesses the children), Psalm 23 (The Lord is my Shepherd) and Genesis 22 (Abraham and Isaac). These are the very first Scripture-based products these people are receiving in their own language. A draft recording was made of each of the new songs in order to preserve them and to assist in recording them later in a studio, with skilled local instrumentalists.
In the three months following the workshop Sam went on to write a total of 13 new Scripture-based songs. Along with friends he used to perform with, some of the language community’s best musicians, he recorded them in a studio. These beautiful songs were very well received.
Sam clearly understood how to make new songs in the style of his people, so he was invited to assist in leading a song-creation workshop in a neighboring Central Asian country. What he had learnt he passed on to others, helping musicians from three different language communities write their own brand new Scripture-based songs.