Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Exodus 14:15
This verse describes the confidence the Board had when deciding how to respond to the growing interest in the oral teaching. In April, the Board decided to create a new IOI position of Missionary/Representative.
With great joy and thankfulness, the Board of International Orality Institute announces that Rev. Paul Kneeland has accepted the call to serve as our Missionary and Representative. After years in pastoral ministry, Pastor Paul and Ruth have felt the Lord’s call to serve Him with a different focus and a renewed zeal. Pastor Paul will assume the new position on August 1, 2020.
This appointment will be a half-time position aimed at two areas of focus. First, Paul will serve as an international missionary to take the oral style of teaching to new areas of interest. One of those areas will be in the development and training in Malawi. Second, he will serve in the United States to garner support for the ministry of IOI. We are excited to see how the Lord will continue to bless this ministry and new position. We will miss Paul’s leadership as board president, but we look forward to his new role within the ministry even more.
Please welcome the Kneelands to this new area of ministry and be in prayer for Paul and Ruth as they say goodbye to parish ministry. As a Board we also humbly seek your support. We would greatly appreciate it if you will often remember the Board, Pastor Kevin and the IOI ministry before the throne of God. Pray for us as we seek to fill two board positions. Peter Ward, OI Board
Over the last couple years, I’ve had a front row seat to watch the International Orality Institute (IOI) being used by God to reach hundreds of unreached individuals around the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. And now I get to directly step into that arena and join God in this great work.
Beginning August 1st, I will be serving alongside IOI’s Director, Dr. Kevin Olson, as a Missionary/Representative for IOI. It will be a half-time position in which I will be asked to oversee current and future ministry areas such as Malawi. I will also serve as an ambassador for Orality Institute to people and the churches in the United States which will include general awareness presentations as well as fundraising efforts.
International Orality Institute has been witnessing hundreds of lives being transformed around the world through God’s Word in powerful ways as it’s life-changing message is reaching the unreached through the oral style of teaching. It is a great honor and privilege to be asked to come alongside in this new capacity.
Ruth & I will be moving our ‘base of operations’ to Prescott, AZ, where we will be seeking additional work/support to help cover the other half of our living expenses. Thank you for your prayers during this shift in ministry. Maybe Ruth and I will be at a church near you sometime in the future to share more about the incredibly growing ministry of IOI.
The coronavirus has vividly reminded us
that we are all neighbors on this planet earth. Regardless of where we might
live, we are all connected by health, economy, and … The Word.
Pam and I were enjoying peaceful remote
Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria when we heard news that the ferries to the
island would be shut off. That started a four-day evacuation that included:
canceled flights, closed borders, rebooking, health screenings, and an intense
adventure. That incident reminded me how much our world is interconnected.
We are interconnected through the Word
of God and His revelation of Himself. It is in His Word that we know Jesus, we
are offered salvation, and we are united as God’s family. We need that
revelation because His promises give us hope. His power gives us peace. His
death and resurrection give us faith and a picture of his undying love. Regardless
of the chaos around us, God’s Word brings everything back into order.
Therefore, the ministry of getting
God’s Word into the hearts and minds of people around the world is so
essential. Without the revelation of God, without His Word, the world spins
into chaos; but when His Word enters people’s hearts it changes everything. His
Word can unite our world and restore order. My prayer is that this current event
will initiate a return to God’s Word and it will be remembered in the future as
the Corona Revival. He
who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the
Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I
trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the
deadly pestilence. Psalm 91:1-4
dressed in brightly colored graduation gowns, paraded through the streets of the
poor fishing village called Kikondo. This small village had never seen such a
thing. They had never had a graduation comparable to this. A large banner, three
color coordinated singers, five graduates, three teachers, ten from the Ugandan
Ministry Team, the national director, the founder, and invited guests all
joining in the march around the village.
What was the occasion? Five students finished the two years of study in
the Bible. Two middle age men and three middle age women had set aside Sunday
afternoons as their time to learn God’s Word, every week, for two years. The
class had started with 24, but these five finished. The celebration was about more
than getting a certificate, it was about the change that the Lord had done in
their hearts as the Word had changed them from the inside out. These five
students and their teachers planned a celebration that the whole town would see…
and begin to seek. By the end of the day, people were asking the graduates how
they could take these classes and study the Bible. These five graduates are
planning on starting four new classes with the flood of interest generated by
the parade through town.
George, the leading student, chief of a village, respected man, and
principle of a school said, “I will be starting another class like this and
there will be many who will join that class.” Here in Kikondo, a village with little
recognition in the world, the people had a reason to rejoice.Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The
Lord is near. Philippians
The ministry in Uganda marches on. During this past year, the chairman and his wife were severely injured in a motorcycle accident, the secretary nearly lost her home, Michael Rokenbrodt’s father passed away, a teacher was paralyzed the week before his marriage, another loss of land, and another debilitating illness. Yet the ministry marches on.
The Corona Virus is international news, but almost no one has heard of the billions of locusts that have swarmed East Africa, consuming harvests and putting 20 million people at risk of starvation. These swarms have hit more than 10 countries and one swarm is just miles away from Jinja, Uganda. Yet the ministry marches on. Please pray for Pastor Kevin as he joins the march.
3 Mar – Leadership Team Meeting 4 Mar – Visit Jinja Zone C 5 Mar – Missionary meeting 6 Mar – Musasizi’s Home 7 Mar – Graduation at Mpumudde 8 Mar – Graduation at Kikondo 9 Mar – Rest 10 Mar – Zonal Leaders Meeting 11 Mar – Leadership Team Vision Meeting
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18
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
The Oral Curriculum
now speaks Swahili. That opens the door to be able to introduce the training
into the country where this vision originated from.
The year was 2005, our family was in Tanzania teaching at Waama Bible
School and presenting the Jesus film to remote areas on the weekends. We were
able to get to know many of the evangelists of the small rural mud and stick churches.
They loved Jesus but had very little training in the Word of God. The great
commission continued to ring in my mind, “Go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them…, and teaching them…”
How were we supposed to make disciples of these remote people and even
unreached people? The barriers of language, distance, culture, education, and finances
all seemed insurmountable. Even training these rural pastors in a school away from
their home, families, work, and ministry seemed irresponsible. There had to be
a way to train them where they lived in a way that would make sense to them.
Two years later, in 2007, a ministry
using an oral strategy of training was born. It was a ministry with the Word of
God at the center. It was following the model of parables and questions that
Jesus used. It did not depend on school buildings or tuition. It was flexible
and allowed the classroom to go to the students where they were able to meet easily.
The student who was taught could become the teacher of the next class of
Now, 13 years later, we return to Tanzania. Pray for open doors as
we visit Tanzania, March 12-21.
Kelvin was assigned to be my Malawian translator for the Oral Seminar with 35 prison chaplains and leaders who came together from across the country. Our shared name allowed our connection to begin and teaching together allowed our friendship to grow. During one session we were invited to share things that had kept us in prison or bondage. Kelvin asked for prayer for his family and his leadership of his family. I shared my former struggles with the same things that he was dealing with and the victory and freedom I had found. We all share the same inner struggles as people from any other part of the world. Their situation may look different on the outside, but inside we are all sinners in need of God’s grace.
It was beautiful to watch God’s Word convict Kelvin of sin, offer forgiveness, give freedom, and begin the process of transforming his life. It was especially encouraging because I remembered how the Lord had done the same thing for me when I was a young father. Kelvin sent this picture of his family after he had returned home. He said, “I am happy that my family is so lovely. My wife Gloria is very excited for the change.”
Kelvin works with Iris Africa Bible School in southern Malawi. I am praying that the next trip to Malawi will offer an opportunity to meet up with Kelvin and his family. It may also be an opportunity to introduce the Iris Africa Bible School to the Oral Strategy of instruction. Their school would be a natural place for the oral training to get passed on to pastors and leaders from Malawi and Mozambique who attend that school.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
Marko Antonio, Baja, Mexico – “The form in which we presented the stories confronted me with the Word of God. This new way of seeing the biblical stories was not only words of knowledge for my mind, it was also words to transform my heart.”
David Mos, Malawi – “It will help me to teach those who are not well educated. This teaching can catch the pictures of scripture. They will not forget what they learn. The Bible will now be in my heart. I will be able to teach others how to take the Bible into their hearts as well.”
Dariel Lantigua, Dominican Republic “We have two groups meeting in our church on Friday evening and we are progressing a lot. Each class is a big blessing for us because we are learning the Bible.”
Rose Waiswa, Uganda – “I have learned how to
live as a Christian and to understand the Bible and it has helped me to have
courage to stand in front of people and share God’s Word. I can bring the stories
out from my head.”
After 12 years of oral ministry, three things have become our intentional, determined, resolve:
1. Train people in
God’s Word. We have worked in nine different
countries and the need continues to become more obvious.
In Malawi, there are prison chaplains, rural pastors, and a Bible School; three
separate groups, who all want help training their people. I have found the same
in other countries as well. Church leaders have seen the problems their pastors
face when they go down dangerous doctrinal paths without solid biblical
training. The people spiritually starve without Christ-centered, gospel-centered
2. Empower nationals to teach their own people. The challenge of learning the culture and the language well enough to
teach scripture takes years. Trusting the nationals to teach their own people
allows scripture to be taught in their heart language from the very first
lesson that they study. This is the first step in nurturing independence rather
than dependence. Leaders must be able to teach their own people rather than looking
to those from the outside for wisdom.3. Implement oral training as the strategy. We can help people become
disciples who make disciples. The oral method of teaching is a unique strategy.
It involves the students in the learning process as they find the answers to
their questions in scripture itself. The process of stepping through a scripture
passage teaches students how to study, and the requirement of memorizing the
story gives students a natural method to pass on the scripture they have
studied to others.
2020 has been a focus of predictions and future thought for years. Now that we
are here, what can we know about the Orality Institute for 2020?
The leaders in the Dominican Republic will need to be encouraged as
well as their students from this past year. We will have a teacher’s training time
where we can hear what has gone well and what has been difficult.
The curriculum in Malawi will be translated into Chichewa so that
the classes can continue without using the English text. There are two leaders
doing the translation, each of them is doing a book.
The rural pastors of Malawi will be challenged to go through the
first book of the curriculum in their nine study groups. Currently, they are reviewing
the lessons that they were given during the training week.
The prison chaplains will be introducing the oral training to the
inmates in Chewa prison this year.
The Iris Africa Bible School of Malawi will begin introducing oral
training to their students.
The trainers in Uganda will be encouraged to go through the fourth
book of the curriculum which focuses on planting churches. The hope is to see
churches springing up from the graduates that have been a part of the oral training
these past 10 years.
More than the goals above, we will be trusting
the Lord to build this ministry according to His will. It is His precious Word and
Jesus is the center of that message. Our job is to be faithful obedient children.
1 Peter 2:4-10 says, As you come to Him,…
you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house.
I want to give you sincere thanks for
your partnership in this ministry.
The Orality Institute started two years
ago and the Lord has moved people like yourself to support this ongoing
training. Your partnership has made it possible to continue the spread of God’s
Word to new countries using an oral strategy. Here are the ministries that have
begun these past two years for which there is a good reason to thank the Lord.
I am thankful for Carlos and Loli who
lead the Christ for the World Bible School in Vicente Guerrero, Baja, Mexico.
They are using the oral training as a regular part of their school curriculum. Students
are taking their training to many parts of Mexico.
I am thankful for John Pabst and the Daniel
Lantigua family from the Dominican Republic. They hosted an introduction to
oral training and then started three study groups who continue going through
the lessons today.
I am thankful for Pastor Moses with
Word of Grace Churches in Malawi. He hosted a training in August and another
one in October for two different groups of 35 students in each of the sessions.
After the second training, Pastor Moses organized 9 groups that continue to
study the Bible using the oral training that they received.
I am thankful for Rodrick with Prison
Fellowship International in Malawi. He coordinated an oral training event for
prison chaplains from across the country. Those chaplains stated that this
training method is exactly what they need to be able to easily bring God’s Word
into the prisons of Malawi.
The Lord provided the funds to make five international trips this
year. Each trip costs between $2000 to $3000 depending on the airfare and the length
of the trip. These trips are “priceless” for helping leaders understand of the
Bible and enable them to teach others. The translation cost for this year included
$1000 for the first book of Swahili, $450 for the Orality Institute App
development, and $550 for printing costs.
It is amazing, even miraculous, to count the things that the Lord
has made possible this past year.
Deep impact of God’s Word on those in the training
Safety and good health while traveling
Ministry in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Malawi, and Uganda
Five oral training classes with 130 participants
Partnership with five ministries abroad and two in the US
Requests to come to new places
A new Android Phone App for the curriculum
Translation of the Romans
Curriculum into Spanish
Translation of Creation to
Christ into Swahili
Two translators for the Chichewa language of Malawi
A home Bible Study called Living
Faith from the curriculum
Philippians 4:19-20 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in
glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.