“The rain pelts the metal roof and creates a dull roar for the background music of our lunch. But the cacophony inside is much louder, composed of voices in fve diﬀerent languages, with songs of various genres playing from phones for good measure. One man stands up from the table as he shouts and points. No, he’s not mad—it’s just another lively discussion over lunch between the participants. I looked around at the 30 or so people gathered together for this School of Storying—men and women, young and old, pastors and laymen, Francophones and Anglophones—and I can’t help but think that only God could assemble this particular group of people for his work. It’s a little taste of heaven to be able to worship together with seven diﬀerent tongues, tribes, and nations represented, all of us united in Christ to praise our glorious God,” writes Darren, leader of Team *Ewok.
Matt captivates the crowd with his story.
Darren and his team recently went to Africa to complete the second part of the 42 oral Bible stories they were developing in the Ewok language. At least 30 people participated, 9 of whom were also present in the frst part of the training in March. That in itself is incredible as former participants are not always able to attend the second session for various reasons. Everyone proved to be enthusiastic participants and turned out to be amazing storytellers. Many of the returnees also had testimonies of how God was using the stories in their villages. Coming from various backgrounds and professions, the team worked tirelessly for three weeks to develop and complete the set of oral Bible stories. In the process, everyone has been impacted, with many stories of lives changed. Here are just a few of their testimonies.
“Wow, there is much wisdom in this. We go so deep in the Bible stories—even more than in Bible college!” *Matt was one of our Ewok participants who came to a realization during story development time one day. One of the trainers had suggested a rewording of a question to get better responses from the guests who would soon test the stories. It seemed trivial at the time to the trainer, but had a profound impact on how this man would view Bible storying as a way to dive deep into the richness of God’s Word.
“When I sing in French it is somehow not so deep. But when I sing in Ewok* I feel it with my whole soul!” *Chuck was an Ewok participant who also served as a translator, and he saw the signifcance of having songs in his mother tongue. This is why we focus on these particular languages, even though many people in this region can speak French or even English. Stories of Jesus in your heart language will touch your soul in ways other languages cannot!
“Before my frst School of Storying I was a big pastor, always commanding people to do this and do that. That’s not how God made me. I didn’t know how to have fun with people. But now I can tell a story and just be free with them.” *Lew, from West Africa, served as one of our national trainers. Using Bible stories for ministry inside and outside the church has had a tremendous impact on him and those around him. He told about one little girl who had been struggling with reading and other literate learning methods in church and in school. But when Lew began using stories to teach, she quickly caught on and became one of the best storytellers in the church at only ten years old. And now she’s doing much better in school!
One of our translators, *Ethan, had a similar experience with Bible storying. Because he spent all week at this training, including evenings, he didn’t have time to prepare a sermon to preach. So he shared the story of Jesus walking on water, and to his surprise, the church loved it! Everyone actively discussed the story and had it learned by the end of the service.
Because of your partnership and prayers, people like Matt, Chuck, Lew and Ethan have learned to develop oral Bible stories that they can now use in their local ministries, Bible studies, evangelism and discipleship. Personally, they’ve also learned how to dig deeper into God’s Word. Please keep the Ewok language group in your prayers, and pray that they will be faithful in retelling God’s life-changing stories!
Praise & Prayer
1) For the successful completion of phase 2 of the Ewok* School of Storying and the safe return of our trainers.
2) For the successful West Africa “Train the Trainers” conference with 30 ministry leaders from five countries on the African continent in attendance.
WE COVET YOUR PRAYERS. PLEASE PRAY:
1) For the newly graduated Ewok participants to be faithful in using the completed 42 oral Bible stories in
their personal ministries, in evangelism eﬀorts, and in discipleship.
2) For our upcoming Cru17 US Staff Conference in July—that our StoryRunners team will be encouraged
and refreshed spiritually.
3) For the upcoming Rocky Mountain Summer Missions trip participants—for God’s provision and that they would all be encouraged and equipped to use oral Bible storying in their personal lives and outreach opportunities.
Get to Know
In a survey we ran earlier this year, you mentioned that you would like to know more about the StoryRunners team—so here’s an opportunity to take a personal look at who we are!
Mark Steinbach – StoryRunners Director
Mark has served on staff with Cru for the past 37 years. He came to Christ as a Penn State student through the inﬂuence of Cru, graduating in 1980. He later earned his MBA degree from Rollins College here in Orlando. Before his role with StoryRunners, Mark served with The Jesus Film Project. He was part of their executive management team for 13 years that included directing the studios for recording and post-production of JESUS (the most watched Christian flm in history) and its associated flms in over 850 languages.
When not immersed in our business operations or overseeing various StoryRunners projects, Mark loves to read and catch up on current events. Mark also enjoys going to the beach with his family, yard work with his wife, and cooking. He’s become quite famous around the StoryRunners’ offices at Christmas time for making the best fruitcakes in town too!
Mark has lived in Orlando since 1991 with his wife, Jenny, and their four sons. They are now enjoying life as empty-nesters.
Click here for the pdf version of our June 2017 Newsletter.
More Stories and Songs for the Ewok