Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tell me more!

Julie is on the left; photo by Gary Abbas
“Tell us more about what you believe.”

Julie, her spoon hovering over a pot of simmering vegetables, paused in the middle of dinner preparations and straightened. The boys’ voices carried easily from the other room, and as she listened, one of the young men avidly described his entrance into local cult worship in Milne Bay province. The other Maiwala boys prodded him to learn more, and as he shared, Julie began to pray. Lord, how can I reach these boys?

Once dinner was ready, Julie invited the boys to join her. “But first, before we eat, I want to tell you a story.” And as they listened, Julie wove into life the Biblical story of the escaping Israelite nation and their downfall with the golden calf. When she finished, the room was silent, and Julie, smiling a little, merely handed the boys their bowls and bid them eat.

Two weeks later, Julie heard that another group of boys had sought out their friend who was involved with the local cult to learn more, but he held up his hand. “I knew,” he admitted, “but I’ve decided to stop.” The other boys pressed him, but he shook his head and explained he had heard a story from the Bible about a golden calf. “The story is still in me; I can still remember [it]. When I go to do other things, I feel like God is speaking to me since I heard this story.”

He paused, then looked them straight in the eye, “I know that there are no other gods—just God himself.

Storytelling is a powerful method of sharing God’s truth, and Julie has seen this firsthand both in her home language of Maiwala, as well as serving as a trainer of Oral Bible Storytelling throughout the nation. Julie was one of my colleagues when I was a translation adviser at one of the courses last year. She uses her gifts to teach people how to tell vivid, life-changing Biblical stories in their own languages, which often paves the way for written Bible translation.