Hymnals and Music
The NEW Aztec Hymnal - 2012
(This hymnal shown above is the fourth hymnal translated for the Nahua people since 1968. It represents Pat Beller's final life's work. It is compiled of 473 hymns and choruses in Nahuatl, has guitar chord notations, and is 768 pages in length. 8,000 copies were printed in eight vibrant colors and delivered to the Huasteca in April, 2012. It has a sewn binding and heavy-duty paper. We sure could use some creative musically inclined individuals to help us distribute these!)
The Nahua people love music and enthusiastically worship God.
From our earliest years in the first village we have communicated wonderful truths of Scripture through song and stored treasures in the hearts of the people. It has been and always will be a very large focus of this Aztec Ministry.
In service to her King and with love for the people, Pat Beller nearly single-handedly translated more than 500 melodies into Nahuatl. She selected favorite uniquely Spanish evangelical hymns and choruses as well as many good ole' fashioned hymns that you would recognize in English. Oh, don't think that we have squelched their cultural identity by translating traditional melodies. Rather on the contrary, we have planted and harvested a glorious chorus that resounds its praise to God in Nahuatl. With joy, the Nahua people naturally add their "color" to the melodies often layering Latin rhythms, sincerity of spirit and the deepest cries of their heart. Their expressions of love, their verbal commitments of service, and the truths from Scripture ring loud and clear throughout the Huasteca.
(In the early years, the 1970's, we would have Sunday services in our front "sala" or the living room of our home. The people were so eager to linger and sing late into the evenings that Pat creatively translated a hymn entitled: "The Meeting is Over." When she grew tired from the toils of the day she would signal to Dick to select this hymn and the group would sing their way to a clear closing and final prayer. I remember as a child calling out the hymn number when I wanted to finally get to bed. Such fun memories!)
Here below I link a few audio files so you can hear a sampling of Nahuatl hymns. I will keep adding more, so check back soon!
Guitar Conferences: The photos below depict our regular guitar conferences during which we would teach people how to use the hymnals and play the melodies on their guitar. We would invite village churches to select a representative to come to a Guitar Conference--typically 5 days in length. After this time of instruction, representatives would return to their communities equipped to lead their congregation in worship. During these events we also studied the Bible in Nahuatl and prayed together. These conferences have been hands-down some of the best days of my life! Lord willing we will have another one before too long.