Anita Laya, a Filipino from Batad, has worked as a Bible translator, teacher, storyteller, songwriter, speaker and women’s leader in both Ifugao and Ayangan languages. Her church, a stone’s throw from her home, holds services in both languages. Mother-tongue churches in the area have nearly doubled in number in the last 50 years, to more than 120.
I wanted a band. I wished we could have our own songs. We have them in Tagalog and English, but not in Ifugao. So we just prayed about it.
I said to one of the musicians, “Can you help me find some singers? If we have singers, I will try to find funding for the instruments.” So he called about 10 of them, and they came.
At the first meeting, I said to them, “We are going to have a ministry, but this ministry has no money. We are going to sing Christian songs in the churches. Are you willing to dream with me?”
Some people sent money. In three months’ time, I collected 100,000 pesos [about $2,140 US]. I set the date for the singers to meet, and they all came back.
I got someone to train them to sing and play the instruments. After one year of planning, we had our first evangelistic night. And it was really beautiful. The music — to hear the music in their own language. They had never heard that. And we had the preaching to go with it.