Pass On What You Have Learned

On July 31, five of our Tagalog SOS participants are heading to Cambodia!

Cambodia is usually known for its predominately Buddhist and highly unreached Khmer people group. The country depends greatly on international aid, and education is extremely hard to come by due to Cambodia’s traumatic history. In fact, most of the population relies on NGO and mission-run schools for their basic education.

This presents an opportunity that our participants decided to seize. Partnering with three ministry-run schools in two different cities, these five teachers will use oral Bible stories to conduct English camps with over 500 children. They also hope to have opportunity to teach the full-time teachers how to continue to use stories after they have gone, and how to transition from the stories to a clear gospel presentation.

Please pray for these 5 Filipino participants and their mission trip in Cambodia. Pray for safety and open doors for them, that many children would accept Christ through the stories, and that their work there would lead to further opportunities for StoryRunners to work in Cambodia.

God’s Timing

“I was very discouraged when the Aja SOS finished,” remembered Dodji, our Aja translator and a current School of Storying (SOS) trainer. He explained, “It looked like my people were rejecting the stories.” 

So few participants in the Aja SOS in October 2013 were interested in telling the stories that we despaired of anyone ever using the stories in ministry, but God was still at work!

We recently learned that one of the participants, Francois, began telling stories in his home village. When people in his church wanted to learn to tell stories, he trained Germain and a few other men how to use the stories. As these men visited surrounding villages to share the good news of Jesus through the Aja stories, in one village, the people responded to the stories with such enthusiasm that Germain and his friends planted a church.  After Dodji heard Germain talk about the new church, he exclaimed, “I’m so happy to know that people are using the Aja Bible stories to reach our people.”

Sensing God‘s prompting to restart a storying movement among his Aja people, Dodji offered two storytelling trainings in April in Djakotomey, his home village. By the end of the trainings, 71 new storytellers had told stories to 596 people and had started 68 new story groups.  As Dodji follows up with these new storytellers, he hears how people are responding to the stories the training participants tell. He recounted, “Jean-Paul started a story group, and, in just three weeks, his group grew to 32 people, and 26 of them have become believers! Amele and her husband started a group in another village, and 60 people attend regularly!”

Dodji continued, “Now I realize that it was just not God‘s timing yet. It’s like I hear a voice inside me saying, ‘Don’t ever again think that no one is using the stories you are helping make. God is using His stories to do exactly what He wants among people groups. What you have to do is just go, make good stories, and train storytellers. God will use them according to His will.”

Sadder and Sadder

African Man Moved to Tears After Hearing Passion Story - StoryRunners

“Stop! What’s that?” Our non-Christian translator, *Edward, held up his hand. His face was pale, as we sat under the mango tree outside our training room translating stories from the Passion Week. We all listened. We heard one of our trainers calling one of our participants, but to our translator, he heard, “He is dead! He is dead!” God was clearly touching this man’s heart. We continued working through the stories. After each story, he’d say, “Wow, these stories are getting sadder and sadder! Last week in the stories, Jesus was doing miracles and healing people, and everything was happy. But now they are so sad.”

Edward is a very kind and gentle, smiling person, but we noticed that he was unusually somber today. It was very apparent to us that the stories were affecting him. Edward was beginning to see Jesus in a different light from what he was used to. Before this School of Storying he viewed Jesus as the ‘Christian God’. But he did not know or understand who Jesus really was. We continued playing the stories for him, sentence by sentence. We noticed that with every sentence, he was pondering the real meaning and weight of what was being said, rather than just translating them. When we got to the crucifixion story, he listened to the line, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” At that point, tears began to fall down his face. He started shaking his head.

“Jesus was at the point of desperation,” he whispered. “I understand.” He excused himself and went away for a few minutes, washing his face and composing himself. But he was still shaken when he returned. When we reached Jesus’ resurrection, the tears flowed again, and once again, he had to excuse himself for a few minutes. At the end of our translation session, he told us, “In the beginning I didn’t realize where this was going. But now I realize it is about Jesus’ life. And beyond all this he rose from the dead and went to heaven promising his Spirit to his followers. When people hear these stories, they should believe, because Jesus proved over and over again that He is the Son of God.”

*Name changed and face has been blurred for security reasons.