A Day in the Life of a StoryRunners Trainer

A Day in the Life of a StoryRunners Trainer - StoryRunners

We had been driving for an hour when our driver stopped by the side of the dirt road next to a carpenter’s shop. “Why are we stopping?” I asked our translator. “Are we not going to the church our friend planted using stories?” “Yes we are,” the translator replied. “But we can’t go any farther in the car because we will get stuck.” So we piled out of the Range Rover and hopped onto the backs of motorcycles. I clung to my driver as we drove off along a narrow, foot-wide dirt path.

A Day in the Life of a StoryRunners Trainer - StoryRunners

We drove past endless corn fields and pineapple fields. Tall grasses brushed against my skirt as we rode on under the African sun for half an hour without seeing a single hut. I was already beginning to wonder how anyone had even found this village in the first place, when suddenly, a hut loomed in front of us. And then another and another. We entered the village and drove straight towards the center. As we approached, I heard loud voices singing. Turning at the corner, we finally saw the church—a makeshift one. It was basically an open-air meeting place with a thatched roof made of dried palm leaves supported by wooden planks. The place was literally spilling over with people. Every single one of them was dancing, singing and praising God at the top of their lungs.

A Day in the Life of a StoryRunners Trainer - StoryRunners

The church was planted by one of the trainees who attended our School of Storying (an oral Bible strategy) conducted in this unreached people group. Our trainee turned trainer had come here faithfully doing oral Bible storying, and so many people had accepted Christ. It felt like the church had sprung up almost overnight and had grown to over 150 people. I quickly joined in the singing and interacted with as many people as I can. It was a glorious day spent with this unreached people group in Africa. What a day it was.

 

And that’s just another day in the life of a StoryRunners trainer. Please pray for this particular church plant in this unreached people group in Africa. That the members would continue to thrive and glorify God. That they will continue to grow in their faith and multiply.

A Day in the Life of a StoryRunners Trainer

Finding Them Faithful

StoryRunners - School of Storying - West Africa

One year ago, our School of Storying team leader wrote to us from West Africa:

“I am happy to report that we completed all 42 (stories), copied them to solar powered Megavoice audio players and gave one to all of our participants.  We left behind a useful tool in the recorded stories, but we also left behind something even more valuable: We left behind 19 participants who are trained to tell stories in their own language to start groups that will continue to meet together.”

So what’s happening today among the Tem people? Fourteen of those 19 SOS graduates are leading at least 2 story groups each, and one of those is a “2nd generation” story group – started by a member of an original group last year who stepped up to be a leader himself. New churches have been planted as a result of these story groups. And people in an unreached language group are coming to Christ.

StoryRunners - School of Storying - West AfricaOne village leader who practices the local non-Christian religion actually began hosting a story group in his home because he witnessed the miraculous healing of his wife after a Christian prayed for her. Still, local villagers put so much pressure on the man that he had to discontinue hosting the group. But imagine the excitement of our Tem story group leader when the village leader then offered to buy land so that the group could have a permanent, and safe, place to meet!

Two years ago when a different led a School of Storying with another unreached people group, the Anufo, they struggled with participants and translators. Falling short of the 18 desired, they StoryRunners - School of Storying - West Africaforged ahead with only 13 participants and completed all 42 stories in the Anufo language. Our team prayed for them and encouraged them to persevere and start story groups everywhere they could.

Today? Nearly 200 people are meeting in story groups throughout six different villages — led by these faithful SOS graduates!

Taking Bible Storying To New Heights

College students from campuses all over the country shared a week together in the Colorado Rockies this summer, conquering way more than the fear of the rugged outdoors.  Leaving their comfort zones below the timberline, they quickly learned how to initiate spiritual conversations by sharing stories from the Bible.  The result?  Nearly 250 visitors to the Rocky Mountain National Park heard about God’s love for them and had a chance to respond.  And the best part?  These students returned to their campuses this fall with a powerful tool for reaching their peers!
Taking Bible Storying To New Heights - Rocky Mountain Summer Mission - StoryRunners

God showed me I can share my faith!! He took away the fear of judgment and the fear of not being perfect at talking with people about Jesus.   -Sam | Texas

This summer mission helped me take God out of my little Cru (ministry) box and learn ways to evangelize other than the typical ways I’ve done it back on campus.  -Micah | Michigan

We really wanted to share stories, but, on the first day, we were scared of initiating conversations with people. Now, I am so fired up to do more outreach on my campus this year because I am equipped with these stories.  -Camille | California

StoryRunners - Rocky Mountains - Summer MissionsKelsie (a Florida sophomore) shared this after returning home: “At a youth Bible study, when the leader read the Scripture passage about the pearl of great price, I was sitting there thinking, ‘They aren’t getting it. Say it in a story!’  So when they let me chime in, I retold the passage in the form of a simple story.  I wish you could have seen their reaction.  And they were able to answer the questions better.  I am so excited!!!” This semester Kelsie is involved in a Bible study with international students on her college campus.

 

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news!”  Isaiah 52:7

She Said Yes!

StoryRunners - Africa - School of StoryingServing as a translator for the Aja (Benin) School of Storying, Dodji sensed God’s invitation. “But how could someone like me ever become a servant of God?” Young, single and inexperienced, he couldn’t see it. But God could.

Coached by Parfait Mitchai, Dodji began his missionary training by sharing the gospel on a nearby campus using oral Bible stories as one of his strategies. But Parfait wasn’t finished recruiting.

One day Dodji learned that a young lady would be joining the campus ministry and be trained, with Dodji, in how to lead future SOS’s in West Africa. “I was sitting there with Parfait when she came in,” Dodji recalls. “We were like brother and sister… people started asking if we were twins!”

As Dodji and Doriane began working together as trainers for the Fulfulde SOS, our American trainers could see that God was up to something. “They think alike, their personalities are so similar,” Hallie remembers. “They even have the same sense of humor!” Mie, a StoryRunners intern, agreed. So, as might be expected, Hallie and Mie put their matchmaking skills to work. It didn’t take much convincing.

“It was when the SOS ended in May of 2015 that I realized it,” Dodji recounts. “I knew she was the one God had prepared for me, and I knew she would be my wife!” Dodji didn’t waste a minute. Without one date, Dodji told her what he knew from God. “Will you be my wife?” he asked her. “I thought you might ask,” Doriane replied to him. “And I had already decided to say YES.”

After a year of preparing and getting to know one another, Dodji and Doriane were married last May in a beautiful ceremony that several of our StoryRunners’ staff were able to attend.Dodji Doriane

“Now that we are married, we want to continue working with StoryRunners as full-time trainers and missionaries.  We are ready to go anywhere and everywhere God wants us to go!”

Dodji and Doriane will be dynamic and strategic in the work of nationalizing StoryRunners’ Schools of Storying in the entire region of West Africa. Together, they have already begun training many local believers and will be leading SOS’s for many unreached languages in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

She Said Yes!

A Mom With A Mission

Meet Sharon—wife and busy mother of one high- schooler and one college student—from north central Texas. So how did ONE WEEK in Orlando, Florida become, as she says, “one of the greatest gifts in her life”?

StoryRunners - A Mom With A MissionBack up to October 2010. Involved in a local church in their area, Sharon and her husband were in search of new ways to minister within their congregation and beyond. After hearing about a 5-day training in oral Bible storying, the couple set aside a week, made arrangements for their kids back home, and headed to Florida. What they learned and brought home with them was life- changing.

“Within 3 months, our church had asked me to lead and teach a women’s group in Bible storying. In another 3 months, I found myself on a church- sponsored trip to the Middle East where we ministered to women in Jordan through storytelling.” Imagine the joy she had standing on the banks of the Jordan River, telling a diverse group of tourists the story of Jesus baptizing people in that very place! Later, she shared with Jordanian women from broken homes the story of Moses—of how God uses the broken to be His messengers of hope. “Then the following year, I traveled to Cambodia, partnering with long-time missionaries in training pastors and church leaders from Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines,” Sharon says. She taught them how to use oral Bible storying, and as they practiced their newly-acquired skills in the afternoons, Sharon and her group went outside the city to camps where they ministered to children. “It was beautiful to hear the creation story delivered to the children in their own language, and then to see the children delighting in answering the questions after the story,” she recounts to us.

StoryRunners - A Mom With A Mission - Sharon using storyboardingSince then, she’s journeyed to Ethiopia to teach more pastors and church leaders how to use storying in their churches and ministries. “I received an email last week from a youth pastor who was very excited about the training and how it was impacting his church,” Sharon tells us. “He said that storying has changed the way the pastors are preaching. They no longer lecture, but use stories about Jesus—and this is CHANGING LIVES.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Mom With A Mission

“The Lord gave me a voice…”

StoryRunners - "The Lord gave me a voice..." - School of Storying

“I hardly opened my mouth to talk to anyone,” Corine* confessed.  “Before coming to the School of Storying, I was quiet and reserved, and never knew how to talk to people about God.”  But learning to tell stories has been life-changing for her!  “It is like the Lord gave me a voice and filled my mouth with the words,” she says.  “I can tell these stories boldly and with confidence.”  Even her family and friends remarked about the difference, and Corine even found herself chosen to share a story at a nearby radio station!

name changed for her security reasons

“The Lord gave me a voice…”

Spiritual Avalanche

Spiritual Avalanche

StoryRunners - Spiritual Avalanche



“The harvest is truly plentiful.”
Those words of Jesus have never come more alive to me than during our recent School
of Storying project in northern Benin. Over and over again we were impressed by the evidence that the people are so ready to respond to the gospel–as long as you approach them in a way that is appropriate to their culture. If you come to them as one of them, speaking their language, holding out simple truths, then it is amazing to see the movement that God ignites! Over the 5 weeks of our training, we saw 25 ongoing small groups started.

From the first day, the people in these villages were begging our participants to come and share more stories with them. “These stories are just so interesting!” one man told one of our participants. “I want you to come back and tell these stories to my whole village.” Our non-believers that are involved in the training were also enraptured by the Word of God. “If these stories are true, then I’m going to become a Christian. Pray for me,” one of them told me. We knew at that point that the Holy Spirit was doing some powerful work, and we weren’t wrong.

Pastor Didier

Over the course of a few weeks, we saw all 11 non-believers that were involved directly in our training decide to follow Christ! One of them explained to me, “Before I came here, I was always worrying. I was obsessed with thinking about all of my problems and all the terrible things in life. But now that Jesus has come into my life, I have so much peace!” I could see the change in their lives as they became children of God. For me, this training felt like we were riding on the edge of an unstoppable avalanche. We were attacked from all sides by Satan, but nothing he could do could even slow down the advancement of the mighty kingdom of God. I am so overwhelmed and humbled to have gotten to see it. – From one of the StoryRunners team members

 

Spiritual Avalanche