Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tell THE Story in Vanuatu

Ray and Becki Neu in Vanuatu
We asked you to pray and fast with us for an important training event, and God answered your prayers!  Approximately 50 people from our Nazarene churches and several people from other denominations were introduced to and received their initial training in Tell THE Story from Ray and Becki Neu during the weekend training held at Eratap Nazarene Church August 1-3 in Port Vila, Vanuatu.  

Rev. Peter Isaac translated for Ray.
Ray’s gentle approach to teaching captured our attention and got us hooked!  Everyone loves to hear a story!  After telling us a Bible story, he asked us to share what we remembered with someone seated near us.  After that he told the story again, but changed a few things in the story and invited us to say, “NO, no, no,” if we heard something that wasn’t right.  That was perhaps the favorite part of the process for many of the people.  It helped everyone to relax and get comfortable and also gave us another opportunity to hear the story.  The simple open-ended discussion questions that followed gave us a chance to think about the story and helped us to learn together as the Holy Spirit directed our hearts. During the three days of the training, it was interesting to see the responses to this “new” way of learning from the Bible. 

The training happened at Eratap Nazarene Church
 “More than two-thirds of the world’s population can’t, won’t, or doesn’t read,” stated Todd Aebischer, Asia-Pacific Regional Communications Coordinator in a recent story posted on the Asia Pacific Regional website.  Todd goes on to say, “Some estimate that as many as 75 percent of all people learn, gather information, and live their daily lives without reading. They do so by listening and watching rather than by reading.  The Church of the Nazarene is responding to the challenge of making disciples of oral learners by introducing a relational small group discipleship tool called Tell THE Story.”

The men's group discovering truth from the story.
It has been over a month since Ray and Becki taught us about Bible storytelling, and the people in our churches are still learning new stories and sharing them in various ways.  Pastor John seems particularly gifted in learning and telling Bible stories.  On Sunday mornings before he begins telling the Bible story, Ps. John asks the children who are seated on two mats at the front of the church to get up and find a place on the benches with the adults so that everyone is ready to listen.  Then, he tells his Bible story and leads everyone in discussing and discovering God’s truth in the story.  Various church members have taken turns telling a new Bible story for Wednesday evening Bible study and then leading the discussion.  Attendance has increased and people come with a sense of expectancy.

Makfin and Jennifer on the left listen as Pastor Jenny shares her thoughts
It is a method that helps children, youth, and adults to stay alert, engaged, and participating with the Holy Spirit to discover God’s truth in his Word.  One of the young mothers, Elizabeth, is not able to read, but she has such a hunger for the stories, and is beaming with interest as she listens and shares her thoughts!  Black Sand Church's Sunday School teacher, Noela, used the same word to describe how the children feel about hearing a Bible story - hungry!  

Last Saturday, we met with two SPNTC students, Taku and Pastor John, who want to learn more stories and are interested in organizing to share Bible stories using this method with our lay pastors on outer islands.    

Noela reviewing the 12 stories from the Gospel of Luke

Elizabeth and Lily at the Bible storytelling training

Anthona repeats the story for everyone.

Ladies group praying together after talking about God's Story

Pastor Jenny shares the 12 stories from Luke visual with her friend.
For more information about Tell THE Story, visit

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