“Tall, African bush almost towered above us,” Michael reported from a story movement trip in Africa. “I looked around and all I could see was grass-carpeted vast land dotted with flat-topped trees. We had covered quite a distance already since we started our journey. We were on our way to the church our guide has set up.
“He kept saying we were nearly there but it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere. Or so I thought. Suddenly, we heard voices, faint at first.” Then we realized they were singing, in a language I could not understand. And then we saw them – one, two, three people. No, there were more than 20, 30, actually around 50 people gathered under a big tree.
“We quietly joined the group as we saw they were in deep worship. I was quickly swept into the sweet melody that was filling the air. I did not know what they were singing but I knew it was beautiful. God’s presence among the people was almost tangible. I soaked it all in. I was in awe. I looked at the people’s faces and they were so happy. As if everyone was so in love with Jesus. I could not shake off the feeling of awe. When we left a few hours later, I blurted out to my team, “What had just happened? I’ve never felt like that before. That was the best experience of my life!”
As it turned out the group that Michael was referring to was only a few months old. It started as an oral Bible study group with 11 people but had quickly grown to 65 within months. Before the group was formed, a man in the village from a different religious background, had purchased prayer mats to encourage people to do their prayers. But when the pastor started telling Bible stories in the village, everyone liked the stories so much that, eventually, all the people who belonged to the local place of worship started coming to the Story Fellowship Group. The same man who bought the prayer mats was the very first one to give his life to Christ. He is just one of the many changed lives Michael witnessed across Africa during his short visit there.
Michaella initially implored her boyfriend to turn the car around as they were making their way to the airport to catch her flight to our Rocky Mountain Summer Mission. Ten days later, she had a new attitude: she didn’t want to leave! “This was the best week of my life!” she told us. “I was scared to pray out loud in front of a group. I was scared of talking to strangers and of bringing up faith in conversations. This week I realized that I don’t have to be scared of things I don’t know about.”
One day, in Africa, a group of people gathered to hear the story of Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts chapter 8. During the discussion, one of them, ‘B’ (name changed for security reason), was gripped by intense conviction just like the Ethiopian in the story. B said that as a result of hearing the oral Bible story, he needed to be baptized right away. The story group leader asked B if he wanted to wait and truly determine that it was what he wanted to do. But B was steadfast. He said, “No, I will be baptized this coming Sunday.” So that’s exactly what they did. After the service, B and his wife went down to the river and were baptized by their church.” Praise God for these changed lives!
‘B’ and his wife were baptized after the story of the Ethiopian eunuch.
On November 28, #GivingTuesday, millions around the world will celebrate the true spirit of giving. After the frenzy of Cyber Friday and Black Friday, #GivingTuesday is the antidote to overspending. With a gift of only $25, you too can help reach people like ‘B’. Your gift will provide a local storyteller with an audio player containing StoryRunners’ 42 oral Bible stories from Creation to the Return of Christ. You can give now by visiting our Donate page. Or visit our #GivingTuesday pageto learn more how you can help StoryRunners on this special day.
In celebration of #GivingTuesday, #GivingStoryDay, we are giving you our five-part Advent series to help you prepare to celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus. Enjoy listening to them on Sunday, November 26th. Don’t miss a single Advent story. Sign up.
Meanwhile, listen to our other stories. You can also download them on your mobile so you can listen while driving, cooking or simply relaxing. They’re available both on Google play and App Store. Use it in your personal ministry, at home, on campus or at work. If you’re a pastor, why not use one of our stories in your preaching? Anyone can be a storyteller!