This week as I have started teaching the guitar lessons there has been a set of Vietnamese teenage girls who come. They are not girls who have been trafficked but interestingly enough just want to learn to play the guitar---a musical instrument that I discovered that only boys were supposed to be interested in. Yet here in Svay Pak, the girls are the ones who pick up the tunes more quickly and are more talented than the boys---hmm isn't that interesting! I think the boys are a little bit more ADD (attention deficit disordered) and are less inclined to spend the time to learn. They get bored easily or perhaps they may be a bit intimidated and embarassed that their female counterparts have advanced in their guitar skills ahead of them.
At any rate, these 5 girls were struggling unlike the others females in my class and I thought they were just slow. They knew the chords but they just couldn't play them to the tune. The initial feedback I got was that they couldn't sing but I discovered that the real reason was that their English was limited and hence were having problems learning the song and playing the tune. At that moment, out of desperation I prayed---'Lord how am I going to teach these girls to play guitar when they can't even speak English to understand how the tune goes?' Perhaps the alternative would be for them to learn it in Khmer but that didn't make sense either. Thankfully the Lord gave me an inspired thought---go through the song with them verse by verse in English so that they can learn the tune. A light bulb went on--now I know why the teachers have the students repeat in English the words they learn over and over again. So I began the same process having the girls repeat the words of the first four lines of the song as I slowly sang the tune line by line.
Lord I lift your name on high
Lord I love to sing your praises
I'm so glad you're in my life
I'm so glad you came to save us
A couple of them were shy initially and they kept saying they couldn't do it but with some words of encouragement, they gained more confidence and their faces lit up with smiles when they realized they actually could say the words in English and then sing it. The next step was teaching them how the guitar chords correlated with the words of the song. They soon picked that up and were so excited that they could play these first four verses. One of them even took the song sheet home so she could practice singing the song.
As they were playing their guitars and singing, I couldn't help but think Lord you have a creative way of engraving your truth upon the hearts of these girls. Here they are exalting you in a foreign language and learning the gospel message that is inherent in this song. Tomorrow they will learn the rest of the song:
You came from heaven to earth, to show the way
From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky
Lord I lift your name on high
At this stage, these maybe just words to them but Romans 1:16-17 reminds me that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. For in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith. Indeed, this is more than a guitar lesson. These are more than just mere words written on a page to teach them English. These are more than words of a nice tune. These are words of life. These lessons are all about the Living God who is seeking to get their attention, who is seeking to draw them to Himself, who is seeking to reveal Himself that they may have new life in Him. They think they are coming here for guitar classes but God has another agenda for them---He wants to give them the gift of salvation. For He has plans to prosper them, to give them a hope and a future!
Pray for these 5 young women that as they attend these daily guitar classes, they will encounter the One who wants to put a new song in their hearts---a song of salvation, a song of hope, a song of joy, a song of peace, a song of love! May this be the beginning of a new journey with the Lord that will lead them to come to the Sunday services to worship the One who has loved them with an everlasting love and has ordained every day of their lives even before one of them came to pass!