Telling an oral Bible story by a flowing stream in Africa

We have three teams currently in Africa at the same time. Team Maximus is on a return trip to West Africa to work with the *M people. Team ET is also on a return trip to West Africa with the E* people. While Team Toad is working toward building relationships with leaders in Central Africa to set up the first SOS (School of Storying) in that region. Here is the update from our leader for Team ET.

Telling an oral Bible story by a flowing stream in Africa - StoryRunners

 “Dumah, Dumah Zama, Dumah!” Glory, Glory to God, Glory! Dumah is also used to refer to the majestic trees like this one. (Faces have been blurred for security reasons.)

“We stopped by a flowing stream for a drink of good mineral water. It so happened that there were a few people there. They were filling five-gallon plastic drums from the free flowing water to carry on their heads back to the village. I started telling the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, which I thought was quite fitting for the context. After I finished, some more people gathered. So I told the story again and asked what they learned about Jesus.

One man said, “Jesus can do miracles, like give eternal life.” I asked them if they followed Jesus. The man said he wanted to follow Him. I shared the Gospel that Jesus died to take away our sins and rose to life again on the third day. If we believe that He did this, we could ask Him to give us eternal life too. He said he wanted to, so I prayed and our translator interpreted it while he prayed in his heart. We exchanged contact information so we can follow up with him and invited him to hear our stories next week.”

 

Telling an oral Bible story by a flowing stream in Africa - StoryRunners

A sea of Dumah trees.

We praise God for opportunities such as this where we can share the Good News through life-changing oral Bible stories anytime, anywhere to anyone. Pray for those who heard the stories, that they will have a genuine hunger for Christ. And that they will realize that Jesus is the Living Water. If you would like to hear the story of the Samaritan woman, check our YouTube channel.

Telling an oral Bible story by a flowing stream in Africa

 

*Names changed for security reasons.

More Stories and Songs for the Ewok

StoryRunners logo - A good story in the makingOur vision is to help people in 500 unreached language groups become followers of Christ in a growing community of faith by the year 2025.

“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.

More Stories and Songs for the Ewok - StoryRunners in Africa

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!

More Stories and Songs for the Ewok - StoryRunners in Africa
Ethan (right) smiles with another of our translators.

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

Praise:

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.

PRAYER:

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

More Stories and Songs for the Ewok - StoryRunners in Africa

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 film in history) and its associated films 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

 

Into the Bush

Into the Bush - Telling oral Bible stories in the jungles of Africa - StoryRunners

Deep into the bush we drove, winding our way along the pot-holed dirt road, the jungle pressing in on both sides. After miles of trekking up and down the mountains we arrived at a small village where a family greeted us. Over the next hour, more and more people showed up at the house to hear the story. *Zeb began telling the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He skillfully guided them through the steps of a story fellowship group, which culminated in a discussion of the story.

Into the Bush - Telling oral Bible stories in the jungles of Africa - StoryRunners

The man pictured in the grey suit volunteered to retell the story, and he recounted it almost verbatim. The School of Storying participants who helped develop the story a few weeks ago were thoroughly impressed at how well the man learned the story and retold it. They were audibly ooohhh-ing and aaahhh-ing every time he nailed a line.

Into the Bush - Telling oral Bible stories in the jungles of Africa - StoryRunners

This man is but one example of how transferable Bible storying is for communicating God’s Word. During the discussion, another man asked what happened at the feast (the Passover in the story). *Zeb answered with a smile, “You’ll have to come back to find out in the next story.”

Darren for the Ewoks

This is the latest update from our team in Africa currently running a School of Storying for the *Ewok language group. If you missed our earlier updates, please check our previous posts. May you be blessed.

*Names changed for security reasons

Into the Bush 

‘Douma’ Means Glory

Here’s the latest update from our team in the *Ewok (name changed for security reasons) language in Africa. If you haven’t seen our earlier updates, please check our previous blogs…

“Douma douma douma, a Zamba. Douma eh, douma eh, a Zamba.” “Our voices harmonize to send up these praises every morning. Glory, glory, glory to God. Glory oh, glory oh to God.” The word ‘douma’ is also used for really big trees. How big you may ask? Check out the picture below – that’s me in the bottom right!

StoryRunners - 'Douma' Means Glory
Darren, one of our team leaders, poses next to the humongous tree in Africa.

This week we confirmed the fact that *Ewok and *Etok (both names changed for security reasons), though generally mutually intelligible, are different enough languages that they warrant their own story sets. In light of this, we have been working very hard to get the stories recorded in both languages. Most of our current participants speak Etok, so the priority is to get whatever stories they tell translated into Ewok. If time allows we will also do the reverse​.

Mie and I had quite an eventful lunch. We stepped onto a road quickly when the yells of a child didn’t stop. She was sitting in a ditch clutching her lower right leg, with two young boys looking on. We would find out later that a run-in with a wheelbarrow​ had caused the injury, quite possibly a fracture or at least a deep bruise. After examining the knot forming and discovering that it wouldn’t bear her weight, we decided to help the girl back to her home. Someone suggested tossing her in the wheelbarrow, but Mie compassionately scooped her up in her arms and started walking, with a small crowd of locals following. 
StoryRunners - laundry day among the Ewoks in Africa
A glimpse of everyday life among the Ewoks in Africa – laundry day.

The girl said “here” in French when a small path appeared at the side of the road, and off into the jungle we trekked, weaving in and out of various plants and fallen trees. Midway through, Mie handed her over to me to carry. Finally we reached another dirt road that led to the girl’s home and called for her mother. 
Remembering the rarely-used cold compress that we packed in the medical kit, I ran back to get it. Theresa was there to find it for me when my search turned up void, so it was truly a team effort to take care of this girl. Upon returning to the girl’s home, I found Mie telling a story via a translator to the crowd that had gathered. We activated the compress, gave instructions for how long to keep it on, and recommended taking her to a doctor. Then we prayed for her and disappeared back into the jungle.

 

What a week it has been. Please pray for continued wisdom, strength, and discipline as we develop, record, and rerecord stories. And pray against the bugs – they don’t seem to understand that repellent means we don’t want them to bite us. Mie must be especially sweet, as she is covered in bites. We’re thankful that Theresa and I have been more or less restored to our healthy selves! Darren for the Ewoks

 

Thank you for your continued prayers. Our team among the Ewoks are almost getting ready to wrap things up. Please pray that the Ewok School of Storying participants will be faithful in proclaiming the gospel through our oral Bible stories. That they would be effective in using the stories in their personal ministry, Bible study groups, discipleship and hopefully church planting.

 

If you are new to StoryRunners and would like to know more about our oral Bible stories, please check our ‘Stories‘ section. Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or would want to know more about this amazing oral Bible storying ministry and strategy among unreached people groups.

School of Storying in Africa continues to impact participants

Here’s the latest update from our Ewok team currently running a  School of Storying in the *Ewok (changed for security reasons) language.

Ma Soul! (Hi in the Ewok language)

“Wow, there is much wisdom in this. We go so deep in the Bible stories – even more than in Bible college!” *Matt (name changed for security reasons), one of our amazing participants, exclaimed during story development this week. This was in response to one of the trainers suggesting 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 riches of God’s Word. 

 *Matt testifies about how deep school of storying goes.

*Chuck (not real name), a participant/translator, intimated, “When I sing in French it is somehow not so deep. But when I sing in Ewok I feel it with my whole soul.” This is the reason why we focus on these particular languages, even though many people here can speak French or even English. Stories of Jesus in your heart language will touch your soul in ways other languages cannot.

 

StoryRunners - Chuck testifies of how deeply he is touched when he sings in his (#Ewok) language rather than in French.

Chuck testifies of how deeply he is touched when he sings in his (#Ewok) language rather than in French.

 

 We have all worked very hard on six new stories this week, and will continue to put the finishing touches on the 24 previous stories. Thank you for your steadfast intercession on our behalf to the Lord.

—-Ewok team—

 

Thank you for your continued prayer and support. Because of you people like *Matt and *Chuck are able to know God deeper and worship Him in their heart language. The Ewok team members are also gradually recovering from various illnesses.

School of Storying in Africa continues to impact participants