The second Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS) workshop in Yabru finished on Saturday, October 25. It was a full two weeks as the participants worked hard to learn five stories related to Christmas. The OBS team arrived several days early and had ample time to review and prepare teaching materials. Participants began arriving on Saturday, October 11. We had high hopes that all six groups would arrive and that twenty-four people would be ready to begin the following Monday. However, we began class on Monday with twelve participants. Feeling somewhat discouraged, we were again reminded that none of this took God by surprise and that He had a plan for those who were there, as well as those who weren’t. By Tuesday afternoon, we had eighteen participants.
It is often a struggle for those who come. Some leave behind difficult family situations, family members who are ill, or ongoing tensions in the community which weigh heavily on them while they are at the course. Sometimes this makes it hard for them to devote their full energies to the work. With no radio or cell phone contact, getting news often comes by word of mouth. One group was unable to come because one of the team members lost his daughter during childbirth the Friday before the course.
In spite of the challenges, the participants worked diligently to master the stories. Internalizing the story which includes really understanding the sequence of events of the story as well as the characters in the story takes time. After internalizing the story, each group works to find the right words in their tok ples (mother tongue) to make the story speak to the community. Because most of these language groups still have a viable tok ples, it is easier for them to find the best fit.
Now that the stories have been checked by a consultant, they are ready to be shared with their communities. As they share their stories, two things happen. We pray that God’s Word in story form will impact people and lives will be changed. They can also receive feedback on things that might make the story more understandable.
The participants headed home on Saturday, October 25, with the trainers and staff leaving the following Tuesday and Wednesday. Now we wait to hear how God will use these stories.