by Joy Casey
The people NewLife Ethiopia are reaching with the Gospel live in villages deep in the countryside. Most villagers never wander too far from home and land is passed from one generation to the next. The economy is subsistence farming with maize used for barter.
These villages have a tribal culture and communication is primarily oral. With this in mind, we look for ways that the hearers can grasp God’s Word and easily tell many others through Bible story telling. When the gospel or doctrinal material is conveyed in ways only used in literate cultures, there is much higher risk of a superficial grasp of the faith.
It is estimated that two-thirds of people on earth today are primarily “oral learners.” In the villages in Ethiopia, this statistic is much higher. Oral learners learn best and their lives are most likely to change when communication comes to them in oral forms. So to effectively share the Gospel and see changed lives, people must be equipped to tell the story of the God of the bible.
In June we are piloting a week-long oral storytelling workshop in a village where we have built a church. “Simply The Story” is the resource used and is taught by Ethiopians in the language of the tribe. The training will impact 40 village people initially.
We would like to place a solar-charged audio Bible in the hands of these pioneers so they can hear God’s word and implement the inductive Bible story method they have learned with their family and neighbors. It is easy to invite people to have a cup of buna (coffee) and listen to a story! But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)
Our mission field in Ethiopia is vast. In just one tribe alone there are six million people and we are expanding to two other (smaller) tribes. Effective evangelism requires careful attention to be sure the gospel is communicated in ways that oral learners can receive and pass along the Good News. Would you help by purchasing a personal audio Bible from our gift catalog? Our goal is to have 40 for our Simply The Story workshop in June.