“Taumafai” — Song from Borrowed Angel

For those of you who have read Borrowed Angel, you know there is a special song that is referenced in the beginning and the end of the book. I have a video of this song to share with you.

But first, from the final chapter of Borrowed Angel:

“On Dan’s mission in New Zealand, he loved attending sacrament meeting because of the way the congregation sang their hymns. The Samoan members would sing as loudly as they could, while still maintaining a spirit of reverence and respect. They sang with commitment. There was no shame if a person didn’t have a good voice. Singing was about the message of the hymn and believing in that message. Dan described it as feeling like a melodic prayer. As the Lord told Emma Smith, “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” “Taumafai” was one the hymns Dan memorized so he could close his eyes as he sang, allowing the power of music to permeate his soul. It did not matter that he had little voice training and used to be timid singing in public. All anxiety and self-consciousness disappeared when the Samoans harmonized together to praise God and the gospel they believed to be true.

It was eight years after Dan’s mission when I held my son’s lifeless body in my arms at the hospital and requested Dan to sing “Taumafai.” Somewhere in our five years of marriage, this song grew to represent comfort and a way to remember Jesus Christ as our Savior. Having already learned this on his mission, Dan had passed this message onto me throughout our marriage. On days when I needed to be consoled, I would cry on his shoulder, and he would sing this song to me as he held me. The song had a way of softening my pain as it did even in the hospital. It did not matter that I didn’t understand all of the Samoan words. What mattered was inviting the Spirit into that moment of hurt and allowing Him to translate the song’s message of hope and comfort.

The three verses of the song describe challenging life events we may encounter. At the end of each description is the word “taumafai.” Simply stated, the word means ‘try.'”

 

samoan hymn bookOne day I hope to have a good copy of this beautiful, powerful song. But currently, the only version I have been able to find is a partial recording on Youtube. Still, at least you can now hear the music HERE.

 

 

 

My husband’s translation for “Pe’a Faigata le Ala, Taumafai”

First Verse

If the path is hard, try

If a disaster comes along, try

If you begin to cry, then look to the heavens and you gain a reward, try

Chorus

Don’t weaken from difficult things

There are many things to be gained

After the disaster is gone

 

Second Verse

If you are sad, keep trying

You must keep enduring, keep trying

If you are quarrelling, you will overcome

This is the best goal, keep trying

Chorus

Don’t weaken from difficult things

There are many things to be gained

After the disaster gone

 

Third Verse

And if you fall, keep trying

Jesus still stands firm, keep trying

He is close, the holy lord, who brings forth the joy, keep trying

Chorus

Don’t weaken from difficult things

There are many things to be gained

After the disaster is gone

try

UPDATE: Here is the English version sung by the LDS Tabernacle Choir. It’s sung slower and the words are different than the Samoan version, but the concept of faith in Christ is the same. I was so excited when my Grandma Smedley mentioned to me that she recognized the song when my husband sang it in Samoan at Ty’s funeral. She knew the tune from her younger years when, “If the Way Be full of Trial, Weary Not” used to be sung more commonly in church meetings.

 

 

4 Comments

  1. As a Samoan I grew up singing this song often, at least once or twice a week during family prayer time this would be the chosen hymn. I loved it as a child and even more as I got older and fully understood the message of the hymn. As it is not contained in the English hymnbook I have never sung this in any ward. If I am visiting a Samoan ward and it is sung it always brings joy to my heart and I can sing with conviction because even after all these years I still know all the words. So behold my joy when about 2 years ago I heard the MoTab sing these words to the beloved familiar tune from my childhood!

    If the way be full of trial; Weary not!
    If it’s one of sore denial, Weary not!
    If it now be one of weeping,
    There will come a joyous greeting,
    When the harvest we are reaping—Weary not!

    Do not weary by the way,
    Whatever be thy lot;
    There awaits a brighter day
    To all, to all who weary not!

    Brought a tear to my eye and a renewed love and appreciation for this great hymn.

    • Saga,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my blog post. I love hearing personal stories, and I especially love yours because you share your experience with this hymn! Yes, my Grandma in Utah told me about this MoTab version, “Weary Not” after hearing my husband sing Taumafai at my son’s funeral. It made me so happy to hear the tune as well, and they do a beautiful job. It’s interesting how the translation is a little different though, English to Samoan. My husband is fluent in Samoan and was explaining to me how Taumafai in Samoan means “to try, to persevere.” As a Samoan, what do you think of the translation of that word?

      Thank you for connecting with me!

      Erica

  2. Erica your husband translated directly form the Samoan version and he nailed it. That is exactly what it meant in English. We love the song as so as almost all the generations before the latest Samoan Translation. I at time would just hummm this tune at time Im down and needing comfort. Thanks for sharing your story.

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