In the tiny island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe just off the coast of west Africa, national leaders participated in a recent seminar. Among those invited were the President, Prime Minister as well as Ministers of Education, Culture, Sciences and Communication. At the event in September 2017, the church-based translation association, The Bible in Our Language (ABNN) promoted Bible translation projects in Angolar and Forro to spread awareness of the effect of these languages spoken in churches and homes. Both languages are recognized, but enjoy a lower status than the island nation’s official language of Portuguese. The Seed Company (part of OneStory) has labored in Bible story projects for these languages for years.
When speaking truth to unreached people groups on the final frontier of the great commission, OneStory keeps key concepts and realities in mind.
“Orality refers to reliance upon the spoken, rather than written, word for communication. Orality is an ancient phenomenon that continues to the present. …Purely oral societies pass along everything that matters from one generation to another without putting anything into writing. They rely on the spoken word including its sung and chanted forms.”
Starting with a “skeleton panorama” of just 17 stories, Asian and American missionaries eradicated Bible poverty in a tribe who’s unwritten language is spoken by only about 1,000 scattered in small villages. Today, this remote tribe can memorize, meditate and disciple others using a set of 50 stories that begins in Genesis and tells God’s story in chronological order through the 1st century AD.
Lives are being supernaturally transformed using the time-tested OneStory approach. Not content with the progress made so far, mission workers have now launched a full digital oral Bible translation using the new Render tool on tablet computers. All this to bring freedom in Christ to a small, seemingly insignificant people group. Before they were discovered in 1991, the only hope they thought they had was to worship evil spirits. Today they don’t fear spirits in the trees, rocks or rivers as they get to know the power and love of Jesus.
Enjoy the complete photo story at seedcompany.exposure.co/now-i-understand.
Photos by Mark Elliott
October 21-28, 2015 two events are being hosted by the OneStory Partnership at the International Linguistics Center. The first is a Community of Practice gathering. The others are an Introduction to Orality & Storying workshop and a
Storycraftng Consultant Training workshop. AUGUST 19 UPDATE: The third workshop has been canceled. The Introductory workshop is to give people a chance to taste and see what storying is about.
See this flyer for details and registration contact information on an interactive oral church planting training June 15-20 in Waxhaw, North Carolina, USA. Ten stories from the Book of Acts will be learned and discussed by participants.
Tuition is $100 and onsite housing options are available.
Update Feb. 27: You can now register online.
The following stories come from Carrie. She is serving among a Muslim Unreached People Group with only a handful of Christians and a single nascent church.
Mama G has been so excited about the stories from the beginning. She is really hard of hearing and doesn’t know a bit of Swahili, so a heart language story set has been an amazing tool to share God’s story.
A OneStory worker in Asia told us this month about a utilization project he started three years ago (2011) with a story set in Northeast India.
I was working with several YWAM relationships around Varanasi and became aware of about 30 Bhojpuri church planters working in that region. I then learned of a finished but unused Bhojpuri story set. I asked about interest in oral strategies and immediately went there to begin story usage and church planting training. A year later I consulted and did a refresher training. By the end of 2014, these 30 Bhojpuri YWAMers on five church planting teams will have established 100 house churches and continue to train pastors and elders.
The above photo shows all five YWAM church planting teams meeting last month (November 2014) to praise God for all He has done and plan for the future.
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.