The most recent Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS) course finished for the Lumi cluster participants last week and the participants began the long journey home on Thursday. With forty participants from fifteen language groups, it was a busy time of learning six stories during the course. We purposefully picked stories to do a panorama picture from both the Old and New Testaments so that they can have a better picture of what God has done for us.
Four new stories were introduced this course. These were new not only for the participants, but the trainers had not taught these stories before either. Three of the stories focused on Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. As connections were made between the lambs sacrificed in the Old Testament and Jesus being our sacrificial Lamb, the lights began to come on as people understood more of what Christ did on our behalf. A video was shown to help them understand more of what Jesus endured when he took our punishment. As the men watched, you could hear them whisper, “Enough, enough!” as they saw how much he suffered for us.
Six stories are the most we have attempted during any one course which means the participants had to stay focused and work hard. One of the memory activities that seemed very effective this time was drama. Most of these stories translated had a significant amount of action in them, so they were more conducive to cementing the stories in their minds through drama.
As staff we are excited to see many of the participants growing in their abilities to tell Bible stories. After each course they are becoming more effective as they go back and share their stories in the village. During this course nine participants had the opportunity to “student teach” part of the class material. They were pared with seasoned trainers who coached them, gave them pointers, and helped out when they found it difficult.
At the end of each teaching day, all the trainers and whoever had taught during the day gathered together for a time of debrief to see what went well and what needed to be changed. Debrief is always a good time to connect as a team and figure out how to prepare for the days ahead. Some of these participants will have the opportunity to become trainers after the final course is completed in January 2017. Some of them seemed very natural standing in front of fifty people teaching. What a blessing that could be, to have incoming trainers with these gifts! Mentoring is one way that OBS works to train up new workers to continue to help carry this work into more parts of the Sepik and Papua New Guinea. We look forward to seeing how God will use these trainers in the future.
Pray for the participants and trainers as they go back and share these stories in their village. Christmas will soon be approaching and this may be the first time some of these groups hear the Christmas story in their own language. As they share the stories surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection, pray that God’s Word will impact lives and people will come to know Christ as Savior. Isaiah 55:10-11 promises us that “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty.” (NIV)