God’s Timing

“I was very discouraged when the Aja SOS finished,” remembered Dodji, our Aja translator and a current School of Storying (SOS) trainer. He explained, “It looked like my people were rejecting the stories.” 

So few participants in the Aja SOS in October 2013 were interested in telling the stories that we despaired of anyone ever using the stories in ministry, but God was still at work!

We recently learned that one of the participants, Francois, began telling stories in his home village. When people in his church wanted to learn to tell stories, he trained Germain and a few other men how to use the stories. As these men visited surrounding villages to share the good news of Jesus through the Aja stories, in one village, the people responded to the stories with such enthusiasm that Germain and his friends planted a church.  After Dodji heard Germain talk about the new church, he exclaimed, “I’m so happy to know that people are using the Aja Bible stories to reach our people.”

Sensing God‘s prompting to restart a storying movement among his Aja people, Dodji offered two storytelling trainings in April in Djakotomey, his home village. By the end of the trainings, 71 new storytellers had told stories to 596 people and had started 68 new story groups.  As Dodji follows up with these new storytellers, he hears how people are responding to the stories the training participants tell. He recounted, “Jean-Paul started a story group, and, in just three weeks, his group grew to 32 people, and 26 of them have become believers! Amele and her husband started a group in another village, and 60 people attend regularly!”

Dodji continued, “Now I realize that it was just not God‘s timing yet. It’s like I hear a voice inside me saying, ‘Don’t ever again think that no one is using the stories you are helping make. God is using His stories to do exactly what He wants among people groups. What you have to do is just go, make good stories, and train storytellers. God will use them according to His will.”

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 

 

 

A Day in the Life of a StoryRunners Trainer

A Day in the Life of a StoryRunners Trainer - StoryRunners

We had been driving for an hour when our driver stopped by the side of the dirt road next to a carpenter’s shop. “Why are we stopping?” I asked our translator. “Are we not going to the church our friend planted using stories?” “Yes we are,” the translator replied. “But we can’t go any farther in the car because we will get stuck.” So we piled out of the Range Rover and hopped onto the backs of motorcycles. I clung to my driver as we drove off along a narrow, foot-wide dirt path.

A Day in the Life of a StoryRunners Trainer - StoryRunners

We drove past endless corn fields and pineapple fields. Tall grasses brushed against my skirt as we rode on under the African sun for half an hour without seeing a single hut. I was already beginning to wonder how anyone had even found this village in the first place, when suddenly, a hut loomed in front of us. And then another and another. We entered the village and drove straight towards the center. As we approached, I heard loud voices singing. Turning at the corner, we finally saw the church—a makeshift one. It was basically an open-air meeting place with a thatched roof made of dried palm leaves supported by wooden planks. The place was literally spilling over with people. Every single one of them was dancing, singing and praising God at the top of their lungs.

A Day in the Life of a StoryRunners Trainer - StoryRunners

The church was planted by one of the trainees who attended our School of Storying (an oral Bible strategy) conducted in this unreached people group. Our trainee turned trainer had come here faithfully doing oral Bible storying, and so many people had accepted Christ. It felt like the church had sprung up almost overnight and had grown to over 150 people. I quickly joined in the singing and interacted with as many people as I can. It was a glorious day spent with this unreached people group in Africa. What a day it was.

 

And that’s just another day in the life of a StoryRunners trainer. Please pray for this particular church plant in this unreached people group in Africa. That the members would continue to thrive and glorify God. That they will continue to grow in their faith and multiply.

A Day in the Life of a StoryRunners Trainer