“This is soul. This is the soul of the Lorung Rai people coming out of this song praising Jesus. It really did feel like I had stepped back 50 or 100 years or more,” Leyton said.
A song Anila Rai sang moved him.
“She hit this high note ... I felt it was better than Aretha Franklin,” Leyton said. “That note is still in my head. Even though I had no idea what she was saying, knowing that she was worshipping Jesus and she was doing it with the music of her heart..., that is one of a few seconds that I am going to keep in my heart for a long time.”
Many people groups worked late into the night, crafting songs that wouldn’t allow them to sleep until they’d been penned. One man said he dreamt of some lyrics and woke up, wrote them down and then went back to sleep.
In addition to praise and worship songs, the believers wrote Christmas songs, wedding songs, songs of personal testimony and evangelistic songs. The Sampang Rai attendees wrote the first songs ever written in their people group’s language, secular or religious.
Participants took seriously the responsibility to share their worship music with their people.
“We didn’t have any Christian songs in our language; now we have eight,” a believer from the Dimal people group said. “Now, we are asking how we can use these songs to share the glory of God with our people.”
Another goal of the workshop was to use the newly written songs as a ministry tool.
In the months following the workshop, Bikram Yekten, a pastor from the Limbu people, reported that six Limbu became believers after listening to the worship songs.
An older Nachhiring Rai man collapsed onto a bale of hay, exhausted after 30 minutes of dancing at an outreach event in a neighboring village. He removed his baseball cap to release the percolating heat. But he couldn’t stop smiling.
The man had danced from his heart, singing the worship songs he helped write in the language of his Nachhiring Rai forefathers.
*In Nepal, individuals’ last names are often the name of their people group. **Name changed.
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