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.
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
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.
“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
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.
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
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.
Spreading our wings in West Africa – StoryRunners
One year ago, our School of Storying team leader wrote to us from West Africa:
“I am happy to report that we completed all 42 (stories), copied them to solar powered Megavoice audio players and gave one to all of our participants. We left behind a useful tool in the recorded stories, but we also left behind something even more valuable: We left behind 19 participants who are trained to tell stories in their own language to start groups that will continue to meet together.”
So what’s happening today among the Tem people? Fourteen of those 19 SOS graduates are leading at least 2 story groups each, and one of those is a “2nd generation” story group – started by a member of an original group last year who stepped up to be a leader himself. New churches have been planted as a result of these story groups. And people in an unreached language group are coming to Christ.
One village leader who practices the local non-Christian religion actually began hosting a story group in his home because he witnessed the miraculous healing of his wife after a Christian prayed for her. Still, local villagers put so much pressure on the man that he had to discontinue hosting the group. But imagine the excitement of our Tem story group leader when the village leader then offered to buy land so that the group could have a permanent, and safe, place to meet!
Two years ago when a different led a School of Storying with another unreached people group, the Anufo, they struggled with participants and translators. Falling short of the 18 desired, they forged ahead with only 13 participants and completed all 42 stories in the Anufo language. Our team prayed for them and encouraged them to persevere and start story groups everywhere they could.
Today? Nearly 200 people are meeting in story groups throughout six different villages — led by these faithful SOS graduates!