Sadder and Sadder

African Man Moved to Tears After Hearing Passion Story - StoryRunners

“Stop! What’s that?” Our non-Christian translator, *Edward, held up his hand. His face was pale, as we sat under the mango tree outside our training room translating stories from the Passion Week. We all listened. We heard one of our trainers calling one of our participants, but to our translator, he heard, “He is dead! He is dead!” God was clearly touching this man’s heart. We continued working through the stories. After each story, he’d say, “Wow, these stories are getting sadder and sadder! Last week in the stories, Jesus was doing miracles and healing people, and everything was happy. But now they are so sad.”

Edward is a very kind and gentle, smiling person, but we noticed that he was unusually somber today. It was very apparent to us that the stories were affecting him. Edward was beginning to see Jesus in a different light from what he was used to. Before this School of Storying he viewed Jesus as the ‘Christian God’. But he did not know or understand who Jesus really was. We continued playing the stories for him, sentence by sentence. We noticed that with every sentence, he was pondering the real meaning and weight of what was being said, rather than just translating them. When we got to the crucifixion story, he listened to the line, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” At that point, tears began to fall down his face. He started shaking his head.

“Jesus was at the point of desperation,” he whispered. “I understand.” He excused himself and went away for a few minutes, washing his face and composing himself. But he was still shaken when he returned. When we reached Jesus’ resurrection, the tears flowed again, and once again, he had to excuse himself for a few minutes. At the end of our translation session, he told us, “In the beginning I didn’t realize where this was going. But now I realize it is about Jesus’ life. And beyond all this he rose from the dead and went to heaven promising his Spirit to his followers. When people hear these stories, they should believe, because Jesus proved over and over again that He is the Son of God.”

*Name changed and face has been blurred for security reasons.

In the Middle of Nowhere

Experiencing God Among the Unreached - StoryRunners November 2017 Newsletter - Road to Nowhere
“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.
Experiencing God Among the Unreached - StoryRunners November 2017 Newsletter - Beautiful worship
“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!”
Experiencing God Among the Unreached - StoryRunners November 2017 Newsletter - Enjoying church
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.

 

 

Changing Hearts

Aint No Mountain High Enough - StoryRunners

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.”

Man insists to be baptized after hearing Ethiopian eunuch story

Man insists to be baptized after hearing Ethiopian eunuch story - StoryRunners - #GivingTuesday - #GivingStoryDayOne 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!
Man insists to be baptized after hearing Ethiopian eunuch story - StoryRunners - #GivingTuesday - #GivingStoryDay
‘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 page to learn more how you can help StoryRunners on this special day.

GIVE NOW

To find out more about #GivingTuesday, please watch the video below.


A GIFT TO YOU FROM US!

Man insists to be baptized after hearing Ethiopian eunuch story - StoryRunners - #GivingTuesday - #GivingStoryDay

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 storySign 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!

 

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Oral Bible Storying helps a man in India start six story groups

Oral Bible Storying helps a man in India start six story groups - StoryRunners - #GivingTuesday - #GivingStoryDayJeyalal is one of the very few in his remote village of ‘S’ who can read and write. With Bible in hand, he preached week after week to his villagers, teaching passages of Scripture and attempting to build on the passage from the previous  week, but they never understood, let alone remembered, what he taught each week.

Oral Bible Storying helps a man in India start six story groups - #GivingTuesday - #GivingStoryDay - StoryRunners

Discouraged, he participated in a StoryRunners School of Storying in his language. In just 35 days, he helped develop 42 Bible stories in his local language that his people could easily understand. He also learned how to lead a meaningful discussion of the stories.
Afterwards, EVERYONE remembered the stories and could share them with their neighbors and relatives throughout their entire village. Jeyalal started six story groups of his own, and five of his 48 group members became leaders of the next generation of story groups!
Oral Bible Storying helps a man in India start six story groups - #GivingTuesday - #GivingStoryDay - StoryRunners

This is the reason why we do what we do. 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 Jeyalal. Your gift will provide a local storyteller with an audio player containing StoryRunners’ 42 oral Bible stories from Creation to the Return of Christ.

Visit our #GivingTuesday page to find out how you can help StoryRunners on this special day. Or visit our Donate page to give now.

To learn more about #GivingTuesday, please watch the video below.

A GIFT TO YOU FROM US!
In celebration of #GivingTuesday,  #GivingStoryDay, we are giving you our five-part Advent series to help you prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus. Enjoy listening to them on Sunday, November 26th. Don’t miss a single Advent story. Sign up here. Or visit our #GivingTuesday page to learn more.

GIVE A GIFT

Oral Bible Storying in Full Swing in Africa

StoryRunners logo - A good story in the making
Our vision is to help people in 500 unreached language groups become followers of Christ in a growing community of faith by the year 2025.
ORAL BIBLE STORYING IN FULL SWING IN AFRICA - StoryRunners
“God told me to go to the most unreached, to the darkest places,” Karim explained. That’s why I go far to start my groups. I find places that have no churches, with no one working there, and that’s where I start my groups. That is who God has called me to,” said Karim, one of our team’s guides in Africa.

Early this month we had three teams spread across Francophone Africa to meet with local leaders, to develop oral Bible stories, and to equip people to reach out to their own unreached people group. Hallie, a team leader who was with Karim, had this to share: “We have been to three cities and six remote villages. Everywherewe went, we saw over and over again that these stories CHANGE LIVES. They  WORK. God is MOVING in places where people know nothing about Him.”

“These are dark places, in dire need of God’s light. In one tiny village alone, I counted five religious temples within 60 seconds of driving through. During a hike to get to a story group in one village, we passed through a courtyard with four cult altars.”
ORAL BIBLE STORYING IN FULL SWING IN AFRICA - StoryRunners

But there is hope for God’s WORD is changing people’s lives. One person (among many) is a village chief whose life has been radically changed because of the story group in his village. He was so excited to have the story group there and welcomed the StoryRunners team with open arms. In another village, the chief proudly took the team to visit the land he was donating so that Karim could build the first church in their village. Everyone has been eagerly using storying, forming many new story groups, including second-generation groups and churches.

A team in another part of Africa had an equally fruitful time developing oral Bible stories and using them in outreaches. In just three weeks, more than 1,500 people heard the oral Bible stories, and around 56 story groups met in the two villages the team worked in. Hallelujah!

The third team leader shared, “Seeing the simple method working in a relaxed and natural environment reminded me of the power of storytelling. It truly can be done by anyone, anywhere, any time for nearly any situation. And all you need to do is show up. When you do, so does God.” Indeed. Look out for more on how storying is changing the spiritual landscape of Africa in our next newsletter.

GET TO KNOWNANCY KELLEY ALVAREZ

The Lord saved Nancy 44 years ago and was burdened to share God’s Word and love to others. She first followed God’s call to Asia in 1979 to teach English to the Japanese. Later she went to the Philippines to plant churches. She later earned an MA from Wheaton Graduate School in Intercultural Studies and then returned to Japan as a church planter. Through twists and turns the Lord led her back to the Philippines to teach at Cru’s International Graduate School of Leadership as trainer of English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. During this time, she met the love of her life – Al Alvarez. They married in 1999 and adopted Al’s niece and nephew in 2002. Nancy joined Cru in 2000 and has been serving with StoryRunners since 2010.

Nancy and Al travel throughout Asia to tell God’s stories in their heart language. Nancy is passionate about human trafficking victims including among the youth. She loves to make jewelry, read, cook, watch movies, cuddle with her dog Bingo and travel the world. She is also a writer and published her first novel – “The Butterfly Impact: An Unexpected Story of Courage and Transformation”.

 

PRAISE & PRAYER

PRAISE
1) For the marvelous work God is doing in Africa.
2) For the old and new oral Bible storying opportunities He has opened in the Philippines.
3) For the completed set of 42 oral Bible stories in the “E” language.

PRAYER 
| We covet your prayers, please pray:
1) For God to continue to open doors in Africa; for the right partners in the region.
2) For God’s Word to bear fruit in the lives of those who heard the stories.
3) For protection and provision for our missionaries and partners in various parts of the world.

WOULD YOU PARTNER WITH US?
StoryRunners partners with people like you who fund our School of Storying projects and our day-to-day operations. If you are encouraged about how God is using StoryRunners, ask Him if He wants YOU to become a monthly giving partner or to make a special gift.
You can make a difference for people who have never had God’s word in their own language. To give towards a specific School of Storying project, contact Pam Lilly.

Click here for your tax-deductible contribution.

Read the pdf version here StoryRunners October 2017 Newsletter.

 

Oral Bible Storying in Full Swing in Africa 

 

 

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.

Spreading our wings even farther in Africa

A StoryRunners team goes to Africa to look for new partnerships

Spreading our wings even further in Africa - StoryRunners
“We spent our first week in a dry, dusty, Central African country. Our goal there was to work with the national leadership to set up our first School of Storying in that country. It was so moving and inspiring to see these leaders’ passion for their country and desire to see it reached for Christ. We spent several mornings in meetings, ironing out the details of the project and learning about the reality of the situation in the country. We also visited a possible location to hold the training. On top of that, we had dinner at the home of one of the staff members and got to visit the big local market. 
Spreading our wings even further in Africa - StoryRunners
 
Yesterday we hopped on a propeller plane and flew several hours to a West African country we’ve been working in for four years. It was so great to be reunited with my dear friends here!  
 
Tomorrow we will head to the central north part of the country. We will start feeling out the situation to set up a project for January, and we are so excited to follow up with the work that has been going on in the region from our past SOSes. We will be visiting lots of story groups and encouraging the local believers-and getting TONS of stories about what God is doing!
Spreading our wings even further in Africa - StoryRunners
 
We’ve already heard some of those stories. Dodji and one of our other trainers have started a ministry in a prison. They went and told stories for three days and ten prisoners gave their lives to Christ! Many more expressed interest in having ongoing story groups in their cells, and our guys were able to connect with several Christian prisoners who want to be trained to lead those groups! – Team Leader
This is one of the three StoryRunners groups in different parts of Africa today. We are excited to hear of these developments and we can’t wait to share them with you. Please keep our teams in your prayers.
Check our August Newsletter to learn more about our work in Africa.
Spreading our wings even farther in Africa

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

StoryRunners logo - A good story in the making

Our vision is to help people in 500 unreached language groups become followers of Christ in a growing community of faith by the year 2025.

“I’m nervous in big groups so, on mission trips I’m in the background, but this trip has pushed me to be a more confident Christian.” Hannah, Missouri

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough - StoryRunners September Newsletter

Hannah, second from right.

Spanning more than 265,000 acres and soaring up to 14,259 feet, Rocky Mountain National Park is a magnet for millions of tourists every year. Tourists and locals alike flock to the Park to bask in its natural beauty – multicolored wildflowers carpeting the park, meandering rivers, hiking trails snaking through subalpine forests, exotic animals and a plethora of recreational activities.

Earlier this summer, a group of college students and StoryRunners staff members, climbed up the mountain to soak in something different. Something far more precious and lasting than the breathtaking panorama. They came to immerse themselves in God’s Word, in the greatest stories ever told. In doing so their hearts were pricked and their lives were changed.  Read on to hear about the experience of StoryRunners intern Allyssa.

“On July 25 college students from campuses across the USA joined us in the Rocky Mountains on a 10-day summer mission trip packed with adventure, fun and amazing opportunities to fellowship with one another. Surrounded by spectacular sceneries, the students learned 12 oral Bible stories from the gospels and learned how to use each story to engage people in spiritual conversations. Each evening, in a story group around a campfire, we dug deep into a story and committed each to memory. God pierced our hearts with His Word, changing us profoundly. Every morning, after a night in a tent, or, in my case, a hammock under the stars, we took our stories to the hiking trails.

“We enjoyed conversations with many people who were eager to hear a story. Each encounter was a great encouragement, not only to the listener, but also to the storyteller. For those who weren’t interested, we thanked them, and we prayed for them as we continued on our way. In 10 days, our students shared 237 stories with 561 people on the trails! It was so uplifting!”

After the 10 incredible days up the mountain, with hearts on fire and rekindled passions, the students returned home, ready and committed to share the stories they learned. At least a half dozen of them have already led story groups back on their campuses, and others are planning to integrate storytelling into their outreaches on campus.

Because of your support and partnership, these students have been impacted tremendously and they will continue to reach others in the coming years.

If you’re 18-25, consider joining us next year. Check storyrunners.org, ‘Get Involved’ section.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough - StoryRunners September Newsletter

“I was losing my joy in serving God but this trip helped me get the joy back.” JiSoo, Buffalo, NY (bottom left)

 

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough - StoryRunners September Newsletter

“I have not encountered this much love in a group before. I am so overwhelmed.” Erin, Tennessee (center)

 

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough - StoryRunners September Newsletter

“This was the best week of my life!” “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.” Michaella, Texas (Michaella initially implored her boyfriend to turn the car around as they were making their way to the airport. Ten days later she had a new attitude … she didn’t want to leave! In this photo she confidently shares an oral Bible story to a hiker they met on the trail.)

 

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough - StoryRunners September Newsletter

“When Melissa gave that presentation about Unreached People Groups, my heart broke after knowing that most mission resources are allocated towards reached people. I realized how much God is calling me to work with international students. I’m involved in Bridges on my campus, and my Bridges leader wants me to bring Bible storying to campus so I’ll be teaching them the Bible stories and how to use them.” Amaryllis, Texas

 

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough - StoryRunners September Newsletter

Some of our new staff members prepare a studio out of materials available in the house during their five-week training in Orlando.

Meanwhile, back in Orlando, we welcomed six new staff members, volunteers and interns! After an intensive five-week training, they are ready to go to reach the ends of the earth to share our life-changing oral Bible stories. We are so blessed to have each one of them. Please lift them up in your prayers as some are still in the process of raising support.

PRAISE & PRAYER

PRAISE:

  • For sparing our lives, that our homes and the Cru office suffered minimal damage during hurricane Irma.
  • For the 561 people on the trails who heard Bible stories.

PRAYER:

  • For God to bring healing and restoration to each person affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma
  • For the hikers with whom we engaged in spiritual conversations – that God would grow the seeds planted in their hearts.

 

Photo Credit: Dustin Brecht Photography

To receive regular updates from StoryRunners, follow us @storyrunners on our Social Media sites : Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn

TWO WAYS TO GIVE: ONLINE | Give.cru.org/2817474 BY CHECK | Made payable to Cru and mailed in enclosed envelope

100 LAKE HART DRIVE, MC 1100, ORLANDO, FL 32832 • STORYRUNNERS@CRU.ORG • (407) 826-2396 • STORYRUNNERS.ORG

 

Click here to check the pdf version of the StoryRunners September 2017 Newsletter.

 

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Spreading our wings in West Africa

 

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.

 

Spreading our wings in West Africa - StoryRunners

Dance is an integral part of worship in Africa


“Every morning and afernoon session began with worship. Dancing is an integral part of worship, and everybody has to dance. I’ve never experienced anything like it. The beat, the style and rhythm are so different, and ofen there is a lead singer with the crowd cheerfully responding with a chorus,” reported Mark Steinbach, StoryRunners Director. Mark was at the very frst West Africa Train the Trainer workshop held this summer.


The workshop saw 41 leaders from churches, para-church groups and other ministry leaders gather in West Africa along with three members from StoryRunners in the US. With representatives from Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Togo, the event was the frst of its kind for StoryRunners and the African leaders. Its main purpose was to train the African leaders to become trainers for future School of Storying (SOS) projects.

During the three-week training, everyone developed oral Bible stories using our six-step process and learned how to coach a story development group. The participants also gained practical experience. Using Bible stories developed on the ‘F’ SOS project (name undisclosed for security reasons), some of them taught
‘ F ’ – speaking people how to learn and discuss stories in a Story Fellowship Group (SFG).

For many of the participants, it was their first authentic cross-cultural experience. They had to work with a translator to reach a people who spoke a language different from theirs. Another team also reached out to students at a nearby university to help plant a new Cru ministry in that campus. 

Spreading our wings in West Africa - StoryRunners

Story development in progress


The workshop culminated with the certification of 31 participants as ‘Assistant Trainers in StoryRunners School of Storying.’ This is a huge milestone for us as we have now more than doubled our training capacity—with African nationals ready to work with other unreached language groups. We are incredibly grateful to
these African leaders. Please pray that they will faithfully share the gospel through these oral Bible stories. 

We are also very grateful for your prayers and partnership. We could not have done it without you.

 

A glimmer of hope for the Haka people

Spreading our wings in West Africa - StoryRunners

This summer, we joined forces again with E3, a partner mission agency based in Dallas, Texas. We sent one of our team leaders to revisit the *Haka people, an unengaged and unreached people group who live in a restricted country in Central Asia. 

Afer a challenging two-week session, we were delighted to see encouraging improvements among the participants. When Maria, one of the participants, told the story of Jesus calming the storm to her son, she experienced a ‘breakthrough’ moment. She told our team, “Suddenly, the story came alive to me for the frst time. It was like I was sitting on the boat with the disciples, feeling the water on my face.” We are now planning to complete the project in early 2018 to fnish the story set and continue our training with E3 partners in Bible story development. We praise God for this glimmer of hope. Please also pray that the Haka participants will be steadfast in sharing the gospel among their people.

Spreading our wings in West Africa - StoryRunners

“I was losing joy in serving God but this trip helped me get the joy back!” Exclaimed one of the 25 students who exclaimed one of the 25 students who
participated at our Rocky Mountain Summer Mission. look out for more exciting stories on this in our next edition!

Praise & Prayer

PRAISE:
1) Praise God for the recently concluded second part of the Haka School of Storying, for the changed hearts among our participants there, for their renewed
commitment to using oral Bible stories, and for their partnership with us.

2) Praise God for the recently concluded Cru17 US Staff Conference in Colorado that our team attended from July 16 – 24.

3) Praise God for our summer mission, which fnished earlier this month. Our 32 participants learned about oral Bible storying and shared their faith all over the
Rocky Mountain National Park using Bible stories. Read next month’s newsletter to learn more.

PRAYER

1) Pray for our upcoming SOS trips in the fall: for preparation by our nationals in the feld, safety and health for our travel teams, and for full funding for each
language. 

2) Pray for the 31 African leaders we trained to be School of Storying Assistant Trainers to continue to develop their storying skills and gain more experience.

To receive regular updates from StoryRunners, follow us @storyrunners on our Social Media sites: Facebook, twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube

 

Spreading our wings in West Africa – StoryRunners