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.

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 

 

 

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

DO YOU BELIEVE?

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 have never ever heard this story before,” said translator Nadine* during StoryRunners’ Elkanlen* School of Storying (SOS) workshop in West Africa earlier this spring.

StoryRunners - Nadine Akasalam in Africa

As a native Elkanlen speaker and a follower of her people’s majority religion, Nadine was exactly the kind of person the StoryRunners SOS team needed to test how well the Bible stories would be understood by other Elkanlen-speaking people who also follow the majority religion. As a fluent English speaker, Nadine was a critical and integral part of the fnal process of checking for accuracy and comprehension. She worked long hours alongside SOS team members Joey and Allen, listening over and over again to the Bible stories.

Joey reflected on his experience with Nadine:

Although hearing the Bible stories is important, a key component of non-believers from this religion coming to faith is experiencing the welcome from followers in Jesus. First, they realize that Christians do not fit in their pre-conceived notions. Then, the stories in their own language and the Spirit work together to bring their hearts to saving faith, and they often make decisions to follow Jesus.

During her time working with us, Nadine grew more positive towards following Jesus instead of following her way. She joined some of the worship times with our believing participants, and one day we heard her singing a song she had learned during worship to her seven-month old daughter to get her to sleep.

Not long after that, Allen and I were quite encouraged by a conversation he and Nadine had.
Allen: “Do you believe these stories?”
Nadine: “Oh, I believe ALL of the stories!”
Allen: “And do you think it was an accident that you came here to work with us?”
Nadine: “Oh no, God has called me here! When I come here to work on the stories, I feel a joy that is from God.”

As you can imagine, we were praying fervently for Nadine to choose to follow Jesus instead of the way of her people. During our last week together, afer our entire group listened very closely to the 24 stories we developed together, Nadine and two of her friends (non-believing participants in the workshop)
decided to follow His way!
Rejoice with the entire StoryRunners team that Nadine and her friends now know the joy that comes only from the Lord! Thank you for your partnership with us, so that many more of Nadine’s people can come to know Christ.

 

TAGALOG REPORT

Each School of Storying (SOS) training is unique. In some locations, developing Bible stories is easy, but telling stories in community evangelism is difficult or impossible. In other places, telling the stories is easy but developing them is a huge challenge. In the April Tagalog training in the Philippines, everything synced.

StoryRunners - Tagalog School of Storying
From the team leader: The Tagalog participants were so sharp and they picked up the training so quickly, resulting in excellent, natural, Biblically accurate stories. They were also on fire for God so they excelled in using the stories also.

One of the highlights was sharing stories with high school and college age basketball players whom we met through an ongoing outreach of a local church. Of the 19 guys who heard stories, 11 players prayed to receive Christ!

These stories will spread quickly because the SOS participants are from islands and provinces throughout the country, and they plan to tell stories to co-workers and to unreached tribal groups during evangelistic community outreaches and various ministry opportunities.

Not only will many people hear these Bible stories and trust Christ in the months to come, but developing the Tagalog Bible story set will foster opportunities for StoryRunners to schedule SOS trainings to develop stories in the languages of the more than 30 Unreached People Groups in the Philippines.

StoryRunners - Tagalog School of Storying - basketball players pray

“I LOVE THAT WE IMMEDIATELY APPLY WHAT WE LEARN BY TELLING THE BIBLE STORIES IN EVANGELISM.” JADA*

“SHARING STORIES WHILE I’M WITH PEOPLE FROM THE TRAINING GIVES ME THE CONFIDENCE TO SHARE JESUS ON MY OWN WHEN I GET HOME.” DARWIN

 

PRAISE & PRAYER

PRAISE:
In the Philippines, in just two weeks 360 people heard Bible stories and 190 indicated decisions to follow Christ. Praise God!

PRAYER: WE COVET YOUR PRAYERS. PLEASE PRAY:
1) For the church with the basketball ministry to help the 11 new believers to grow in their new relationship with Jesus.
2) For the SOS team in Central Africa to stay healthy and the SOS participants to share stories boldly in spite of community opposition.
3) For the 25 college students participating in the StoryRunners Rocky Mountain Summer Mission to raise their support by July 1.

SURVEY UPDATE

How well are we communicating our message to you?

Last month, StoryRunners director Mark Steinbach sent an invitation to everyone on our newsletter list inviting them to participate in an online survey. We learned that:
1) Over 70% of you understand clearly that StoryRunners is translating Bible passages into stories to take the gospel to unreached groups living in oral cultures.
2) 87% of you enjoy reading about how lives are changed through hearing the gospel in stories. Thank you for participating. If you would like to add any further comments you can contact us at storyrunners@cru.org.

*Names have been changed and faces have been blurred for security reasons.

To receive regular updates from StoryRunners, follow us @storyrunners on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube.

Check May 2017 StoryRunners Newsletter to read it in pdf.

DO YOU BELIEVE?

Into the Bush

Into the Bush - Telling oral Bible stories in the jungles of Africa - StoryRunners

Deep into the bush we drove, winding our way along the pot-holed dirt road, the jungle pressing in on both sides. After miles of trekking up and down the mountains we arrived at a small village where a family greeted us. Over the next hour, more and more people showed up at the house to hear the story. *Zeb began telling the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He skillfully guided them through the steps of a story fellowship group, which culminated in a discussion of the story.

Into the Bush - Telling oral Bible stories in the jungles of Africa - StoryRunners

The man pictured in the grey suit volunteered to retell the story, and he recounted it almost verbatim. The School of Storying participants who helped develop the story a few weeks ago were thoroughly impressed at how well the man learned the story and retold it. They were audibly ooohhh-ing and aaahhh-ing every time he nailed a line.

Into the Bush - Telling oral Bible stories in the jungles of Africa - StoryRunners

This man is but one example of how transferable Bible storying is for communicating God’s Word. During the discussion, another man asked what happened at the feast (the Passover in the story). *Zeb answered with a smile, “You’ll have to come back to find out in the next story.”

Darren for the Ewoks

This is the latest update from our team in Africa currently running a School of Storying for the *Ewok language group. If you missed our earlier updates, please check our previous posts. May you be blessed.

*Names changed for security reasons

Into the Bush 

School of Storying in Africa continues to impact participants

Here’s the latest update from our Ewok team currently running a  School of Storying in the *Ewok (changed for security reasons) language.

Ma Soul! (Hi in the Ewok language)

“Wow, there is much wisdom in this. We go so deep in the Bible stories – even more than in Bible college!” *Matt (name changed for security reasons), one of our amazing participants, exclaimed during story development this week. This was in response to one of the trainers suggesting a rewording of a question to get better responses from the guests who would soon test the stories. It seemed trivial at the time to the trainer, but had a profound impact on how this man would view Bible storying as a way to dive deep into the riches of God’s Word. 

 *Matt testifies about how deep school of storying goes.

*Chuck (not real name), a participant/translator, intimated, “When I sing in French it is somehow not so deep. But when I sing in Ewok I feel it with my whole soul.” This is the reason why we focus on these particular languages, even though many people here can speak French or even English. Stories of Jesus in your heart language will touch your soul in ways other languages cannot.

 

StoryRunners - Chuck testifies of how deeply he is touched when he sings in his (#Ewok) language rather than in French.

Chuck testifies of how deeply he is touched when he sings in his (#Ewok) language rather than in French.

 

 We have all worked very hard on six new stories this week, and will continue to put the finishing touches on the 24 previous stories. Thank you for your steadfast intercession on our behalf to the Lord.

—-Ewok team—

 

Thank you for your continued prayer and support. Because of you people like *Matt and *Chuck are able to know God deeper and worship Him in their heart language. The Ewok team members are also gradually recovering from various illnesses.

School of Storying in Africa continues to impact participants

Another StoryRunners School of Storying kicks off in a jungle in Central Africa

School of Storying - Central Africa
The road to the village where our team is currently carrying out a School of Storying. Looks like a serene place.
“We have been in the village for two days now. It is in the jungle actually. And very beautiful,” reports one of our trainers.

“We have 20+ participants which is amazing! They are a great bunch and good storytellers. Nine have returned from the first training and have many testimonies of how God is using the stories in their villages. It is so encouraging.” She continued.

It sounds like our team is having a great time in Central Africa and our prayers for translators have already been answered. Not everything is well though as one of our trainers had been ill. She had fever, swollen tonsils, cough, etc. She did manage to grab some sort of a Z-pack and she seems to be on her way to recovery. Please continue to pray for her complete healing, especially for cough and nasal congestion. She badly needs her voice in order to help with the training.
School of Storying - Central Africa
Participants at our School of Storying in the ‘E’ language.

“Our back translator is here. And we have three translators, with a fourth coming soon. We feel so spoiled. And the food has been amazing.” She further writes. “Pray for this first week of story development. We are working on the Passion stories, and the Resurrection.”

“Pray for our newest translator, N, who is struggling in life. She is also lacking confidence in her translation skills, but we tested her out today and she did great. We know she will improve a lot as time goes on and hopefully this will boost her confidence.” “Pray for our team leader and our host as they are juggling many things.” “Thank you! Your prayers are heard.”

Thank you indeed. We covet your prayers.

Please note that we are unable to reveal the names (and faces at times) of our trainers or disclose the name of the place for security reasons.

 

Another StoryRunners School of Storying kicks off in a jungle in Central Africa

An Incredible First Week of School of Storying in Manila

 

Here’s a fresh update from our Team #alog in Manila, currently running a School of Storying there.

Hello everyone! Greetings from the hot, steamy tropics!

What an absolutely incredible week it’s been. I cannot imagine a trip better set up than this one. We had everything we needed – great translators, super helpful guests, a friendly back translator, and 27 OUTSTANDING participants. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever been on a trip where we’ve had better participants. They are stoked to be a part of the training, totally on fire for sharing their faith, super quick learners, and just so much fun to be around. Everyone is always laughing and joking and telling stories!

Participants worship before starting a session.

On the first day when we were doing introductions, they kept going on and on about how they’re already planning on using the stories. Their answers spanned a broad spectrum of uses, and I know that over this past week, they’ve come up with even more.

Seeing them sharing the stories has been such a wonderful experience – and God is already blessing their efforts abundantly. In this past week, our participants shared stories with 227 people, and 115 of them prayed with our participants to accept Christ! We feel so humbled to be a part of what God is doing in this country!

A very enthusiastic group of participants indeed.

One quote I want to share that I think really gives you an idea of how these participants approach everything with eagerness and excitement. During our people check where we have non-Christians come listen to the stories and answer questions, one of the participants asked me, “Can we have a third round of this check? Can you bring another guest? This is so fascinating! They’re giving such interesting and useful responses!”

God is so good, guys!

– From the Team Leader of our trainers in Manila, Philippines running a School of Storying. We praise God for all these fruitful results. Please pray for the 115 people who have decided to give their lives to Christ after hearing our oral Bible stories. Please also continue to pray for everyone’s health, safety and commitment to telling His life-changing stories.