Oral Story May 2020

Oral Story May 2020

Go Forward!

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. 

                                    Paul Kneeland, New OI Missionary

Oral Story April 2020

Oral Story April 2020

One World, One Word

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

Worth Celebrating

Forty people, 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 4:4-5

Oral Story March 2020

Oral Story March 2020

March Forward

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

Speaking Swahili

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 students.

Now, 13 years later, we return to Tanzania. Pray for open doors as we visit Tanzania, March 12-21.

Oral Story February 2020

Oral Story February 2020

Brothers in Christ

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.

Growing Abundantly

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.”

Oral Story January 2020

Oral Story January 2020

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 instruction.

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.

The year 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.

Oral Story December 2019

Oral Story December 2019

Giving Thanks!

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.

Thanksgiving Pie

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.

God is Good

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.