Oral Story July 2024

Oral Story July 2024

Come and See

I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:22-23

These past months, new opportunities have been coming to us from churches in the U.S.. Some of those opportunities have been in the state of Washington.

This past month included online meetings with the youth group at Atonement Free Lutheran in Arlington, an introduction for Elim Lutheran in Lake Stevens, and several messages at the Pacific Northwest Bible Camp.

The theme of the camp was, Come and See. The goal was that we would see Jesus as well as share Jesus. The oral style of teaching allows all ages to participate in the discussion, so it works well in a family camp setting. The evening messages covered four different people who encountered Jesus. The lame begger in Acts 3 was surrounded by the religious community. The Samaritian woman in John 4 was an outcast. The Ethiopian eunich in Acts 8 was from another country. The Philippian jailer, in Acts 16 was against the faith. All four of them saw Jesus in a new and personal way.

Several people responded with the following comments. I was surprised to see myself in every story. I had not considered that my struggles enable me to reach out to others. It is amazing to see all ages interacting together with the same story and learning from one another. I enjoy seeing how God put every word in scripture for a purpose. It was a helpful reminder that we can see Jesus in all of scripture. Come and See is a motto that fits with the oral strategy of engaging scripture, because when the stories are acted out, those who are participating literally enter into the narratives and see themselves in those recorded in the Bible. The first person to see a benefit from learning how to share oral stories is the student themselves. The scripture becomes deeply personalized as they understand how they themselves are similar to those in scripture.

Hike and Bike

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1 Corinthians 9:27-28

It is true that Paul loves the Grand Canyon and Kevin loves biking, but their enthusiasm for the Hike and Bike is more than exercise or some earthly prize. The real goal is the imperishable value of bringing God’s Word to the world. The Orality Institute’s Hike and Bike has helped raise the awareness of this ministry, the people we are training, and the support we have raised.

This year, the ride will be taking place on September 21st. This is an good way to support the ministry and have a fun, organized, easy Saturday morning bike ride. We will be riding roughly 30 miles this year to gain riders who want to participate but are not ready for the 50-100 mile commitment. Contact Kevin Olson for more information. Text him at 952-412-1366 or email him at kevino@oralityinstitute.org.

This year’s hike will be happening on October 12th. Paul will be leading the group down the South Kaibab trail of the canyon to the Colorado river and then back up the Bright Angel trail. The hikers will stay overnight near the trail head on both the 11th and the 12th. Hiking the Grand Canyon is a serious 17 mile hike and a 1 mile vertical elevation. If you are curious about this hike contact Paul Kneeland at paulk@oralityinstitute.org or text him at 520-334-8612. This year we are taking a big step by adding Nate Jore to our ministry team. He will be coming alongside churches that are requesting training as well as leading some of the international training that he has been a part of for these last 17 years. We want to continue ministry in all our current 12 countries as well as add Nate to the ministry team. It is a big step of faith to expand the ministry and add staff, but both are important when we see the waves of opportunity coming to us.

Oral Story June 2024

Oral Story June 2024

Equipping Disciples

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40

Equipping Disciples,

One Story At A Time is our new motto. It describes in simple terms what the Orality Institute is doing. Regardless of the language, or culture, or educational background, our purpose is to equip disciples of Jesus.

People have wondered, what is this training all about, who it is for, and what makes it unique? To answer simply, it is all about equipping disciples with a tool they can use to easily share God’s Word. It is a tool that works with anyone, anywhere who is open to the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives. It is a unique tool because through memorizing the scripture, the people of the Bible become alive and relatable to our own lives.

Orality has often been mistaken as a training primarily for the illiterate and uneducated, meaning that it would work better in other countries than it would in the United States or other western societies. Learning, meditating, and personalizing God’s Word works in every culture when students allow the Holy Spirit to apply God’s Word to their lives. Distractions and busy schedules can get in the way of the meditation and personalization needed for scripture to work in us and humble us. The leaders from Our Savior’s in Zumbrota, MN are walking through a training process using the oral stories. They have found that they have been able to share these stories with people at the café, in health crises, on the playground, with their family, and when caring for someone. However, the greatest impact is on the leaders themselves as they allow the Word of God to penetrate their hearts and the Holy Spirit applies it to their own lives. Oral training will also be a part of the Pacific Northwest Summer Bible Camp this June. Join the movement as we equip disciples, one story at a time.

Open Doors

Pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear. Colossians 4:3-4

Requests for training continue to come from many new places both internationally and within the United States. This past month, we were asked to participate in a trip to Kenya, to assist a school that trains leaders in several countries, and to work with several U.S. churches. A clear purpose is critical to discern when and where and how to help.

The Orality Institute’s role is always to come alongside existing ministries that request assistance to train their people. Training leaders and equipping disciples is essential for this ministry to multiply because the newly trained leaders quickly become the trainers of their own ministry.

This training is international in the same way that God’s Word is international. God’s Word is intended for every nation, every culture, and every language regardless of education, age, gender, or social status. It is equally important for rural, urban, and suburban settings.

The Orality Institute helps ministries on four different levels. The first level is the oral strategy. It is a unique technique and looks significantly different than a traditional lecture or classroom instruction. The goal is for God’s Word to become living and active in the mind and the heart of all the participants. The second level is training. Participation requires commitment and study; it means taking time to learn the story and personalize it. There are four years of curriculum that can be used as a guide. The third level is support. The Orality Institute commits to stand alongside those who begin this process until it is complete. Internationally, that often means graduations. The fourth level is organization. As classes progress and new classes begin, we are committed to assisting ministries as they consider how to multiply and expand beyond the first level of training.

Oral Story May 2024

Oral Story May 2024

Seeking Wisdom

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33

This oral strategy continues to expand. Every month we get a detailed report of the training that is taking place in Pakistan. They are almost finished with the first year of study and are ready to translate the second book. We are careful about information that we publish because of the persecution that they face as Christians in a majority Muslim society. This month we asked for permission to share some of the testimonies from the 15 master trainers and their 141 students.

“I run a store for supplies of building construction work. I was talking to one of our venders who shared with me that they are Muslim and they are above all other nations and Allah loves them the most and all other nations will go to hell who do not embrace Islam. When he said that I asked him, Have you heard the story of Jonah, he said “No, but his name is written in the Quran”, Then I told him the story of Jonah, and told him how God cares for all the nations and does not want any of them to perish if they repent. He heard the story and did not reply. I noticed a small change in his life and, I could tell him the Biblical story because this training has helped me to identify the immediate need of the person and relate his need with the Biblical story.”“I work at a local home to recycle cotton. One of my colleagues shared how their son had left. Her husband was in trauma and could not forgive his son for leaving. I told her the story of the son who left his father but when he returned, his father forgave him. She went home and told the story to her husband. Her husband met my husband and asked him to tell the story. My husband told the story to him, and he confessed that he could not forgive his son. He invited us to his home to pray for his family. This time, we share the story of the King who forgave his servant’s debt. We told this story to show them the love of God. This is how we can share the gospel with our community.”

Finding Truth

You have heard… the word of the truth, the gospel,… indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. Colossians 1:5-7

We recently had our first call with Swapon from Bangladesh. His church leaders are seeking a practical way to be trained in God’s Word. This oral strategy seems like it could be the answer they are looking for. This first call was an introduction to one another and to our work. Swapon represents 26 churches. His response to our call was, “I and my family members and team members have been praying deeply that by the will of the Lord, we can be associated with IOI. I will gladly watch the videos and begin the translation of the curriculum.”

He immediately started translating the first book which led him to ask some important questions regarding the stories he was learning through the process. He wrote, “I am very lucky indeed to be translating this book. I can learn more about God’s Word while translating. Already my life has started to get stronger spiritually. I believe that in the future this curriculum will bring great blessings and change the lives of many in Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh is one of the countries that we have been asked to work with. Mozambique, D.R. Congo, and Tanzania are wanting training as well. It is critical that every training begins in a stable, measurable, and sustainable manner. Ensuring that those goals are met depends on the in-country leader, the seriousness of their intention, their measurable progress in the training, the costs involved, and the time available to invest in helping them.

The core of this oral strategy requires that the national workers take the responsibility for training their own people in their own language and culture. It is essential that the training is self-sufficient so that it can multiply without dependence on support from the outside. This is a new paradigm, for many it is challenging, but for all it is a transformative experience.

Oral Story April 2024

Oral Story April 2024

From the Board

Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe…praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47

Awe struck is an accurate phrase to describe what it’s like to serve on the Board of Directors of International Orality Institute. One of the joys of serving on the board is to see the Lord at work. His blessing upon this ministry is to hear reports of and seeing precious souls being saved and that disciples are being made as Jesus directs His church in Matthew 28:18-20.

The Lord has never failed to provide for Orality Institute whether in temporal matters or with people of the same heart. He does so through you as supporters of IOI and in those He leads to join our work.

Most recently He has guided Orality Institute board members to call former AFLC missionary Nate Jore to join us in this work. While on furlough from Uganda, Nate and Rhoda sensed a change in ministry focus leading them to resign from AFLC World Missions. IOI extended a call to Nate to join us. 

His work will be primarily here in America, where many churches have asked him to assist them to develop their efforts of evangelism and discipleship, and training up church leaders. This ministry will be defined more clearly as Nate begins. We have called him to expand the work of building up Christ’s church through the making of disciples alongside the church in America. His call will begin August 1st.

Thank you for your support. We thank the Lord for how He provides for our ministry through faithful disciples such as you. He gives us peace and assurance through your faithful support.Because of Calvary, The Orality Institute Board: Greg Johnson, Marshall Nessa, Jim Rasmussen, Mark Antal, Nathan Monseth, Peter Ward

From the Jores

Dear friends & family,

We know many of you pray for us, and we’re so very grateful. How prayer impacts the heart and movement of God is a mysterious thing, but we believe He is attentive to His children, and it’s a comfort knowing that there are people talking to Him about us.

There has been much change for our family over these past 10 months in the States. We came back to the U.S. sensing there was a shift coming for our family and that God was perhaps redirecting us, but not knowing what that redirection might look like. We asked Him to help us to hold everything with open hands and to have the courage to step into whatever He asked of us.

In the past several months, a few doors have opened to our family that we‘ve discerned are ours to step through. One of those doors was an invitation to join International Orality Institute, an organization dear to our heart that is based here in Minneapolis and works internationally to provide Bible training through storying. Their vision for reproducible discipleship mirrors the vision that Nate has had in the discipleship he’s been privileged to be involved with in Uganda, and there’s not much that gets him more excited.

Orality Institute follows Jesus’ example of using storying and a question-and-answer teaching style as the primary mode of instruction. The invitation that Nate accepted from International Orality Institute (IOI) is primarily a Stateside teaching and equipping position, with the opportunity to travel occasionally to Uganda and to encourage the brothers there. We will finish our service with AFLC World Missions at the end of July, and Nate will begin his new position with International Orality Institute the 1st of August (his birthday!). We’re so grateful for our time spent serving under AFLC World Missions and for the support, leadership, and encouragement they gave to us during our 17 years in Uganda. For those who have supported us financially and would like to continue to do so, we will give information in a future update about transferring support to IOI. We will receive support through AFLC World Missions until the end of July.

Oral Story March 2024

Oral Story March 2024

Set Apart

“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Acts 13:2-3

Set apart is a great description of what the Orality Institute is about. It means that students set apart time to study God’s Word, the leaders dedicate two years to teach them, and the style of education is set apart from traditional methods.

This picture is one of the new Ugandan churches that have been started through the Ambassador Institute’s ministry. This is one of five new house churches, and it is held at Mama Rose’s business. It has taken years for the oral students to see the need to start their own churches, but it seems that this simple house church model is beginning to spark interest in Uganda. The leadership is divided among the members, and they worship in a simple and personal way. The Word of God, prayer, and worship is the heart of their gatherings.

Paul Kneeland’s trip to Uganda is to encourage the ministry and give the leaders some practical training. Paul’s two-week trip has very little time for rest. He will be participating in two of the five graduations, four zonal leaders’ meetings, and two meetings with the Ugandan international missionaries. The training has grown so quickly that we need to add some structure to the vision and passion. We have multiple places requesting training and six potential missionaries. This trip gives Paul a chance to introduce clear expectations and qualifications for those that represent the Orality Institute when they travel to other countries. He will be introducing budgeting and structural topics so that classes can start in a strong and stable manner. We need to be strategic with the use of our finances and make sure that when we begin a new location or country, they will be trained well.

Established

Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. All the brothers send you greetings.
1 Corinthians 16:19-20

One of the greatest blessings of a ministry that spans years is watching the Lord transform lives. Alex and Mary were both graduates from the oral ministry in Uganda. Mary became a teacher and taught her class through their graduation while she worked in the Ambassador Institute office. Alex was a budding pastor, and he was mentored by Pastor Brent Raan and Michael Rokenbrodt as he started a church outside of Jinja.

Shortly before their engagement party Alex was in a severe motorcycle accident. At first, he was expected to die, then after finding a hospital that would treat him, they expected that he may have permanent spinal or head injuries. The Lord healed him in some miraculous ways. When they were married a month later Alex was able to walk and stand on his own. Their wedding was a celebration for the whole ministry family in Uganda.

Now Alex is the pastor of Gideon church. He grew in his preaching through his oral training. Alex and Mary have led their congregation in spiritual growth, and they have seen people set free from various forms of spiritual bondage through Jesus. They have also faced severe spiritual opposition. Strong winds blew down their church, one of their leaders was killed by a falling brick, and Alex was mugged when he was delivering money. Yet, they continue to faithfully proclaim the hope in Jesus and teach oral classes.   Their daughter Rohi, which means The Lord is my Shepherd, just turned three. She has been in the center of the missionary meetings from the day she was born and travels with her parents to the graduation events as a special guest of honor. The Orality Institute truly is an international family.

Oral Story February 2024

Oral Story February 2024

Celebrating God’s Word

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16

We just held the first graduation of Orality Institute students in the Dominican Republic. They studied 84 stories of the curriculum for two years and memorized 2200 verses of the Bible. That is an accomplishment worth celebrating! These 21 students have an overview of the Bible and a foundation that includes doctrine, character, and ministry. Those lessons are hidden in their hearts, and they can easily be passed on to others.

Their teacher, Daniel Lantigua, and his wife Rosa were learning the lessons alongside of the students ranging in age from 10 to 70. The Word of God that is hidden in their hearts cannot be taken away from them. It becomes a part of how they view the world and how they live their lives. Daniel is expecting to oversee the startup of 5-7 new classes. As well as the expansion of oral training in the Dominican Republic.

Daniel and Rosa are applying the Word that they have studied into practice as they train children in a Haitian immigrant village. Daniel became excited about the possibilities of how this could be used among these unruly youth. The youth were so affected by the training that they began to talk about God in their classroom. Their teacher was so amazed at the change in her students that she went to observe these classes for herself. The parents also noticed a change in their own kids, and they began attending classes to learn the stories. News of this transformation began spreading among the community and among the pastors because those students had seemed so difficult to deal with. God’s Word Changes lives!

Celebrating God’s Work

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word. 2 Timothy 4:1

Our team of two brought an introduction of the Orality Institute training to Tanzania this month. They were scheduled to train a group of students in Bukoba, on the western shore of Lake Victoria. When they returned, we found out that their Tanzanian guide, Peter Shalom, had brought them to 5 cities to introduce his leaders to this new strategy of studying God’s Word!

In every town that they visited, the people were so enthusiastic to learn that they pleaded with Mufumbiro and Musasizi to stay and let them invite others to come and see how God’s Word could come alive for them. We have recommended that Peter attend a class in Uganda to learn the curriculum. If he could learn the stories then he could be the teacher for his Tanzanian students. Pray for Peter and the resources to reach these cities.

Marshal Nessa has joined the Orality Institute Board. Marshal participated in an IOI training in the Baja of Mexico in September of 2018. After that, he and his family moved to Uganda, where they worked with Amazima Ministries and school and practiced sharing God’s Word orally with the students. Marshall brings with him the experience of serving as a pastor in the U.S. as well as his international missions background. He has seen firsthand the powerful effect of this oral strategy, and we are glad to add him to our visionary board which includes: Greg Johnson, Peter Ward, James Rasmussen, Mark Antal, and Nathan Monseth. The Lord continues to expand this ministry around the world along with renewed interest and opportunities here in the U.S.. Pray for us as we try to discern God’s Will and watch for His open doors.