The people who speak Boma [pseudonym] as their mother tongue live along the coastlines of several Southeast Asian islands. Although a few portions of Scripture are available in the Boma language, most Christian clergy rely only on the national language leaving the majority of Boma speakers struggling to understand God’s Word. That leaves the majority of Boma speakers struggling to understand God’s Word and why The Seed Company, Wycliffe personnel, Kartidaya and the largest local denominational church started working in partnership on an oral Bible project.
Story facilitators are working with Boma speakers using on-the-job training for crafting oral stories then checking and testing them in local communities. In November 2013, OneStory heard from David Moore, one of the team leaders for the Wycliffe Asia-Pacific partnerships in the area where Boma is spoken.
David reports that one outcome has been growing excitement within the local denominational church after they decided to do an awareness event at one of their larger churches. Over 100 ladies attended and they adopted the OneStory approach as a strategic part of the women’s ministry. We praise God for five developments so far.
- Every month the OneStory team teaches a group of 36 women a new story. These 36 women (18 pairs) represent 18 different women’s sectors and each sector has about 25 women. That means every month the women go in pairs and teach the story to their sector and discuss it and every new story reaches approximately 450 women each month (without even considering any additional storytelling in their own families.)
- The local church denomination in partnership with Wycliffe led a “Using Local Language in Ministry” workshop for about 60 pastors. Ten women from the church helped teach a module about OneStory and lead the pastors in facilitating discussion with a Storying Fellowship Group.
- Another congregation requested a similar awareness event for their youth. This, too, may become a monthly event.
- The initial congregation held a storying competition. Nine teams of two entered wearing traditional clothing. Judging was based on story length (not too long or too short), accuracy, heart-language articulation, and appearance.
- The first congregation also has plans to start Storying Fellowship Groups as part of their Men’s Ministry and Youth Ministry. Plus, two other congregations signed up to be trained and use the stories in their ministry.
Do the math! Any way you look at it, hundreds of Boma speakers heard God’s Word in their heart language last year. As David puts it, “What started as addition, turned into multiplication, and is now becoming exponential growth!”