Praising God when your own words fail you

Praising God when your own words fail you

Klaus Rösler - January 26, 2013

Maputo/Wustermark – Musician and missionary Szilvia Papp (Budapest) from Hungary has taken on an unusual project in the southeast African country of Mozambique. In four years, she has compiled all the traditional church songs for which, though they are regularly sung in the churches of the Mozambique Baptist Union, there were no written music or lyrics. As the Mission Agency EBM International (Wustermark, near Berlin) reported, the completed songbook has now been presented and put into use in a celebratory worship service in the capital city of Maputo.

Szilvia Papp recorded the songs during innumerable visits to churches, then wrote down the music and lyrics. The result is a church songbook with 570 songs. Actually, her missionary service was to end already in January 2012, but since the songbook was not yet finished, she completed the painstaking detail work at home.

At the end of 2012, she flew back to Mozambique for the official presentation of the songbook. The Hungarian Baptist Union and the EBM were able to finance 2,600 copies. During the celebration, Sozinho Guerra, president of the Mozambique Baptist Union, emphasized how important the songbook is for Christians: “With these songs, we can worship and praise God. And we can do so even when our own words fail us. This for us is an instrument for preaching the gospel.”

Szilvia Papp shared that, in Africa, she felt as if she had come home again. She had missed her brothers and sisters in the faith. She was most impressed by the way “that church members care for each other more and are more there for each other than in Europe”. She thinks that churches in Europe could learn a lot from churches in Mozambique: “They have such a clear and uncomplicated relationship with God. God really has first place in every aspect of life. And they speak far more openly, simply, and clearly about God – not so bashfully and cryptically as we do in Europe.” About 47 percent of the 23 million inhabitants of Mozambique are followers of primitive religions, 35 percent are Christians, the rest primarily Muslim. Mozambique has two Baptist Unions with 700 churches and about 200,000 members.