New Pidgin Hymnal Unites Papuan Adventists in Song
Songbook brings lyrics in local language
BY SOUTH PACIFIC DIVISION RECORD
new Pidgin Seventh-day Adventist hymnal has been introduced in Mount Hagen in the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea.
Several retired missionaries have collaborated over a period of time to produce, publish, and introduce the new hymnal, Nupela Ol Sing Bilong Lotu (loosely translated, “Fresh Music for the Church”). Pastor Lester Lock, a veteran linguist in both Motu and Pidgin, translated the lyrics while Glynn Litster painstakingly matched each syllable of the Pidgin lyrics with the music notes for all 245 hymns and songs.
MY NEW HYMNAL: A church member in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands holds a copy of Nupela Ol Sing Bilong Lotu (roughly translated as “Fresh Music for the Church”), a new Seventh-day Adventist hymnal in Pidgin. [Photo: Don Roy / South Pacific Division Record.]
He also obtained the copyright for each selection, and also raised funds to print the hymnbook. During the past 50 years, Lock has translated songbooks in a number of New Guinea languages. Since 1998 Litster has published hymn-books in various Pacific languages including Samoan, Kiribati, Fijian, Koiari, Tongan, and now Pidgin.
Pastor John Kosmeier organized the printing in Singapore, the shipping to Port Moresby, and their eventual delivery by mission plane to Mount Hagen in time for Gary Kent’s evangelistic campaign for It Is Written Oceania.
Each night of the campaign selections from the hymnal were projected onto a large screen for Don Roy and a chorale of young people to lead the singing by the many thousands who attended the series. The thrilling culmination on the final night was 10,000 people singing favorites such as Tokin Ol Stori B’long Jisas (“Tell Me the Story of Jesus”) and Taim Yumi Kamap Long Heven (“When We All Get to Heaven”).
Many people said they knew many of the songs in English. But now that the words are in Pidgin, their own language, they are beginning to understand the real meaning behind the words.