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
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.
“I was losing my joy in serving God but this trip helped me get the joy back.” JiSoo, Buffalo, NY (bottom left)
“I have not encountered this much love in a group before. I am so overwhelmed.” Erin, Tennessee (center)
“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.)
“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
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
- 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.
- 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
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Click here to check the pdf version of the StoryRunners September 2017 Newsletter.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
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.
Recording songs in Ewo.
He came to her with a simple request, but the implications would be huge. Hera, leading our first School of Storying (SOS) in Cameroon just two months ago, tells the story:
“God told me to ask you something,” one of our translators told me. “For a long time, I’ve been bothered that we have no real worship songs in our language. When the missionaries came through our area, they taught us songs in French, and those are the songs we sing today. Our mentality is that God doesn’t speak our language. But I think we should be able to worship God in our own language, so I’ve translated some of the French songs. Would you record me singing them so that we can worship in our heart language?”
We crammed five people and a keyboard into our sweltering makeshift recording studio, a tiny 2×8 foot space. With sweat running down their faces, they raised their voices in praise to God in their heart language. I felt so privileged to be there to record. Eight songs later, the translator thanked me profusely. “You have no idea how appreciated these songs will be. They will change everything.”
Acting out the Pentecost story to help them remember.
I adore that my job is to give people the opportunity to realize that God speaks to them in their heart language – that they don’t have to have a fancy education to talk to God and learn about Him!
As the fifteen SOS participants diligently worked to develop Bible stories in the Ewo language, we witnessed the impact the stories were having on their own lives, too.
“Listening to all these stories really touched me,” one man, Moses, explained. “The stories came alive-as if they affect us still today. I’ve been waiting 30 years for a training like this. Now, after just three weeks, I have all these stories. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.” Another participant, Luke, exclaimed, “When I listen to these stories, I’m really struck that I’m part of this spiritual legacy of prophets and kings, taking God’s rescue plan to the world.”
Retelling His story.
We have had an incredible ministry here! More than 1800 people heard stories over three weeks, and 308 story groups were started in this area. They plan on starting another 88 groups over the next three months, on top of continuing the groups they’ve already started!
Thank you for praying this team! Your gifts and support are helping us take His stories to people who have never heard them.
-Hera, from Team Ewo
WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS SUMMER?
If you are 18-24 years old, join us for a fun-filled 10-days camping and hiking in the Rocky Mountains as we reach out to other hikers by sharing
Bible stories to spark spiritual conversations. Learn how to tell your story, how to listen to another person’s story, and how to tell God’s
It’s from July 25 – August 3, 2017. Get more information and apply at: storyrunners.org/summer-projects.
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“GOD DOESN’T SPEAK OUR LANGUAGE”
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
Kelsie (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
Savoring my successful climb to the top of a mountain peak in the Arizona desert, I spent some time giving glory and praise to God for His awesome creation,
Unaware of anyone noticing, I was singing and smiling as I descended the peak, until I caught up with a fellow traveler on the trail named Michael.
“I saw you up there so full of life, lifting your hands up to the sky! Wow, you really appreciate this beauty!”
“Absolutely! I can’t help praising God for His awesome creation! “Do you know Our Creator?” I asked. “I’m Jewish,” he said! “That is wonderful!” I exclaimed! “Through the Jews, God brought His covenant of love, and I am grateful to you and your people.”
We continued our exciting conversation, as I explained about Jesus, “Yeshua,” being a Jew. Michael told me his name meant, “Like God” and I told him that Yeshua knows him by name, and had a purpose for his life.
As he listened curiously, I asked him, “How would you like to hear a story?” He readily agreed. So I told a simple story of Yeshua’s encounter with a tax gatherer named Zaccheus found in the Bible. His curiosity heightened as we discussed the story and his faith journey. Considering himself an agnostic, he asked how I could be so sure of my faith. “When Yeshua changes your life, and many others’ lives, there is tangible evidence, plus all the fulfilled prophecies in His Word.”
Evidently, the Spirit of God was drawing him as I gave several examples of God’s faithfulness to His covenant people, the Jews.
Michael told me he had never met anyone like me and was considering what I shared. Willingly he accepted my offer to pray for him, as well as give him some Bible verses to read on his own.
After praying for him to discover for himself who Yeshua was, he hugged me and thanked me for being “a little like God” to him.
Visit our Get Involved page if you would like to learn more about how to become a better storyteller of His stories.