Oral Story March 2023

Oral Story March 2023


“They received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed” Acts 17:11-12

What are you excited about? What do you look forward to?

Pastor Paul Kigozi said, “I am very eager to be taught. I am anxious. I want to see you because these people are eager to be taught. The people from South Sudan have been in a war all the time and God has given us the grace to bring the people together to be taught because now there is no war.” He was so excited for the training that it was difficult for him to put it into words. They are excited because this open door gives them hope and their recent past with the war has felt hopeless.

Pastor Paul is the leader of a Great Commission Church located near Juba, South Sudan. Their vision is to bring the message of Jesus to all of the areas of their country and to correct the bad and manipulative teaching that is prevalent. They recognize their understanding of ministry is still shallow and they need leadership training.

This is the perfect opportunity for our Ugandan missionaries to continue the expansion of the work they have been doing in Malawi and Ethiopia. South Sudan is the northern border of Uganda, so the Ugandans could go in and teach without drawing unnecessary attention to themselves. Whereas those from the U.S. could become targets because of South Sudan’s instability. The Orality Institute has received many new requests for training because people have been searching for training online or because they have heard of the training from a friend. Continue to pray for these open doors.


“We endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—For you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:17, 20

It is refreshing to be with a true friend, someone that really understands you. The Apostle Paul felt that way towards his friends in Thessalonica and we have that same longing, that desire, to be with those we have worked with in ministry.

Pastor Paul, Ruth, and Alisha Kneeland will be alongside some dear Ugandan friends March 12th – 25th. During their trip, there will be four graduations and a prayer retreat.

This year there are 70 graduates; 57 of them have competed the Certificate level which means that they have memorized 2200 verses from the 84 stories of the Bible. The first 42 stories give an overview of the Bible; the second 42 cover doctrine, character, and ministry. Thirteen students have completed the Diploma level which means that they have taught those same stories for two years, and then studied and memorized the book of Romans. All the students studied hard to get to this point.

The prayer retreat will include the Ugandan leaders, the American missionaries, representatives from AFLC World Missions, along with Paul and Ruth representing the Orality Institute. The Orality Institute is always a support ministry for the national organizations that are working within the countries we visit. Our prayer is that this retreat could be an opportunity for these four groups to come together in unity, clarity, and understanding so that we can continue moving forward as we serve our one King and His ministry.

Oral Story February 2023

Oral Story February 2023

Words of Hope

“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold… And we all, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image.” 2 Corinthians 3:12,18

What would you need most if you were a Christian living amid persecution?

The request for training in Pakistan came as a surprise to the Orality Institute office. We had not pursued contacts in Pakistan, nor do we know anyone living there, but the Lord led Rayan (pseudonym) to find the Orality Institute online and to ask about our oral training.

Rayan has two master’s degrees in the Bible. He attended a Lutheran high school. His father was an evangelist. He was trained on how to use oral teaching in the Philippians. He has a group of master trainers who also speak English, and he has a network of Christian leaders spread throughout the country. He is the perfect leader for a new branch of ministry in Asia.

Rayan had a message for the Christians. “For centuries, wonderful faithful men and women of the Lord… have served a lot in these developing nations. I want to convey this message to my brothers and sisters, that the Lord now wants to use Asian people to go into the nations in Asia to be messengers of the gospel. He wants to use us to go and preach the gospel… and do it until our last breath. So, keep praying for us… I have many friends in the U.S. who are close to my heart and those are the people that helped me and guided me to do missions. I respect those people very much. Thank you.”

We had not previously planned to go to Pakistan, but Rayan and his friends are already translating the curriculum into Urdu and this is an open door that we must find a way to walk through. Please consider partnering with us.

 Words of Life

“It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure… [so that] you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of Life.” Philippians 2:13, 15

Have you considered that the Lord works in you and through you for His good pleasure?

When we had our team debrief session after the mission trips to Malawi and Ethiopia, we were encouraged from the stories of how God had been working in us and through us. Each person shared how the Lord had carried them in their weakness, caused students to respond, and allowed the work to expand. They were exhausted after a month of ministry and refreshed because it was for the Lord’s good pleasure.

Since that meeting, six new countries asked the Orality Institute for training. We have nine trainers who are ready to go but we need more funding to start these new fields. We would like to send two trainers to each of the following four countries this year.  Here is a rough break down of what it would take for this to be possible. The costs will vary, but it is an initial estimate.

Zambia              $3000               Two Malawian trainers

South Sudan     $3000               Two Ugandan trainers

Kenya               $3000               Two Ugandan trainers

Pakistan           $8000               Two U.S. trainers

Leadership        $3,000              additional per month

The Lord has provided the locations and the trainers. We believe that He will provide the funds for this expansion as well. He provided the means for two trips to Malawi to train leaders from four ministries. He provided for our introductory trip to Ethiopia. Prayerfully consider the role that you and your church could have towards this goal.

Oral Story January 2023

Oral Story January 2023

Press On

“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Have you ever felt the Lord stretch you beyond what you could manage? That is where we are at right now.

This past year we felt stretched as we trained four different ministries in Malawi over three weeks in April; sending four Ugandan missionaries to train in Malawi over the month of November; and training one hundred Missiology students at the Tabor Evangelical College in Hawassa, Ethiopia.

During the last weeks of 2022, the International Orality Institute received invitations to train leaders in Zambia, South Sudan, India, and Japan. These invitations have come to us without any pursuit of our own, but align with our goal to train leaders, so that they can train their own people, who can multiply the training in their own country. We have seen this discipleship take place in Uganda and now the Ugandans are going as missionaries to other countries.

We feel stretched between the opportunities before us and the resources that we have available. To consider bringing God’s Word to these new invitations, we need to expand our monthly support by 38%. A Chinese friend recently told me that financial supply is easy for the Lord, because He owns everything in the world. It is much more difficult to get people to seek Him and desire to know Him. Since we have an abundance of interest in learning God’s Word, now we need to provide the means to do so. Thank you for participating with us in your prayer and generous support.

Stand Firm

 “My brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.” Philippians 4:1

Who are those that you love and long for? Who would you describe as your joy and crown?

Those who have been involved in the international training can relate to Paul’s description of his brothers and sisters whom he loves and longs for. We feel close to these partners in ministry and picture them as are our joy and crown. They often refer to their trainers as their parents with the affection and respect that goes along with the title. They are like precious jewels that are being chiseled and polished by God’s Word.

Victory is when those who have been trained in God’s Word are able to stand firm on that Word and then begin to train others. It brings joy when they give testimonies of how the Lord has changed them and how He is molding and shaping them through His Word. Ernest, one of the students in Malawi, recently wrote: “Since the training, we have had time to rebuild our relationships both with our friends and in our marriages. We have seen God at work in our marriages because now we have Christ in our homes.”

Earlier in December, Ernest was asked by some friends in nearby Zambia how they could learn God’s Word the same way, using an oral strategy, so that they could train the people in their churches. Ernest has been a part of four trainings, so he was told, “You go and teach those in Zambia the very things that you have been told, teach them what you have been taught.” In other words, they are standing firm on God’s Word and “there is no greater joy than to hear your children are walking in the truth.” Thank you, Jesus, for producing fruit in their lives!

Oral Story December 2022

Oral Story December 2022

The Battle

“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:12-13

The battle for the hearts of people is real and it is intense. We have faced serious battles this past month in our outreach to Malawi and Ethiopia. The challenges we have faced include: two deaths of family members, Bishop’s nephew, and Pam’s mom; four visits to the hospital; a pilot’s strike; money transfer problems; delay in printing; lost luggage; and illness. All of these are normal challenges of life, but when they all come at the same time, it is obvious that the battle is against spiritual forces in the heavenlies. I am grateful that our call is to stand firm using the armor of God. Jesus is the one that fights these unseen battles.

Facing intense assault can be overwhelming and discouraging, but Paul experienced those same attacks, and he reminds us that our battle is ultimately with spiritual forces not physical ones. He reminds us that we are not alone in the battle. I am grateful that Jesus is interceding on our behalf and that we stand together with all of you as ministry partners. Finances are another area of struggle, dependence, and answered prayer. Support-based missions is a place where the ministry is forced to depend on the Lord for its daily supply and it is a place where Jesus continues to show us His faithfulness. I marvel at the ministry expansion from just this past year in Malawi and Ethiopia. We have partnered with four ministries in Malawi to cover much of the two-year curriculum. Ethiopia has received the introduction to the Orality Strategy of education. Pray for IOI as we consider what the Lord has planned for us in 2023.

The Victory

“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel… Pray that I may declare it fearlessly.” Ephesians 6:19-20

Paul desired that he would be faithful to proclaim the gospel and do it fearlessly. Success in missions needs to be measured from that same heavenly perspective.

This month we have been faithful to proclaim the gospel in both Malawi and Ethiopia. The Tabor Evangelical College, in Hawassa, Ethiopia has 100 students enrolled in their missiology program. They were excited to learn how to share the gospel using an oral strategy. This is the third Bible college that we have introduced to this oral method of education and each one of them intends to use the training in different ways.

In Malawi, we held separate trainings in the north, the center, and in the south. There were 65 people who attended the 28 lessons presented by our Ugandan missionaries. They proclaimed the Word of God fearlessly and lives were touched. Beyond hearing the Word, those 65 people now have 28 more stories from scripture that they can use to boldly proclaim with this simple oral communication tool.   We marvel at the testimonies of the students because it is obvious that the Lord has been at work. They tell us that they will be using this method personally, with their families, their churches, and for evangelism. They recognize that this has brought the Bible alive as they communicate with their voice, body, and images. The Bible becomes engaging and now they can recall those stories from their heart, which means that they have a training for all levels of people, educated and uneducated alike.

Oral Story November 2022

Oral Story November 2022

Beyond the Schedule

“Men from Cyprus and Cyrene, … began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.” Acts 11:20-21

This account of Africans spreading the gospel to the Greeks is a unique story from Acts and it is likely the largest revival recorded in the Bible. These un-named believers who spread the Word of God created a bridge from the exclusive Jewish community to the untrained Gentile community.

During the month of November, this recorded experience is happening again. The four teachers from Uganda are teaching great numbers of people and telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. We pray for the Lord’s hand to be with them as they share the oral stories of God’s Word.

The Malawi schedule will look like this:

     Missionaries Mufumbiro and Bagatya

          North Region – October 31 – November 4

          Central Region – November 5 – 11

          South Region – November 12 – 18

     Missionary Musasizi and Kinene

          North Region – November 5 – 11

          Central Region – November 12 – 18

          South Region – November 19 – 25

The Ethiopia schedule will look like this:

     Leaving Uganda and the U.S. – November 20

     Training at the Tabora Seminary – November 23-25

     Leaving Ethiopia – November 28      Kevin returns to the U.S. – December 4

Behind the Details

“The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.” Mark 14:16

What is on the list of things to do for Orality Institute in order for the training to go smoothly?

There is scheduling, financing, and communication. Here are some of the details from the last month for Dr. Kevin Olson and Pastor Paul Kneeland for the Orality Institute.

* Complete the 3rd fundraising event of the year with the 3rd Grand Canyon Orality Institute Awareness Hike

* Communicate the finances with the Orality Institute Board

* Get final approval for travel to Malawi and Ethiopia

* Order the printing of the second book of curriculum in Malawi

* Send money for the translation and printing of that second book

* Purchase 3 smartphones to communicate with our teachers in Malawi

* Send money for food expense for the families left behind in Uganda

* Receive the last of the 3 passports from Kampala in order to travel

* Purchase the airfare for the first two missionaries and their schedule

* Purchase tickets for the second two missionaries and their schedule

* Communicate with those in Malawi the pick-up and drop off dates for teachers as the travel to the north, central, and southern regions

* Send Money for the transportation to each of those locations

* Order tickets from the US to Ethiopia

* Order tickets from Uganda to Ethiopia

* Invite the South Sudan seminary president to the training in Ethiopia

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support! The mechanics of this multi-national East African expanded ministry can be overwhelming. God is at work and there is a spiritual harvest to reap!

Oral Story October 2022

Oral Story October 2022

Teach the Word

“Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.” Galatians 6:6

It is harvest time in the United States, and this scripture highlights the spiritual harvest with discipleship. Next month, for the first time, our Ugandan Orality teachers will be leading their own mission trip. The last passport was issued to our Ugandan team this past week and they will head to Malawi soon. The exact dates are not set yet, but November will be filled with both the training in Malawi and we pray also in Ethiopia.

Four of our seasoned Ugandan teachers will be going on this trip. Musasizi Wilson and Mufumbiro David both participated in the Malawi training last April. On this trip they will be joined by Bagatya George and Eliab Kinene. They will be teaching two by two and the two teams will rotate between the north, the central, and the southern regions of Malawi. This will help the students so that they will not travel as far to attend to the classes and the training will be intended for those that are already leading classes.

We praise the Lord for His provisions. This last month, the bike ride and motorcycle awareness events raised $17,000 toward these trainings and the printing of the second book of the curriculum for Malawi. That meets our expected expenses for the trips and printing, but our monthly expenses are $8000 and our monthly income is about $5000, so that is our current prayer. The Lord has continued to provide for every opportunity He has put before us. We marvel at the multiplication of this training and we are grateful for your support. May Jesus be glorified as we take the precious Word that we have been taught and pass it on to others who in turn pass it on to others.

Reap the Word

 “Whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Galatians 6:7

Grain harvest is measured in bushels per acre, but how do you measure spiritual harvest? It is possible to determine the number of people that have been at training events. It is possible to count the number of countries, locations, classes, or even the number of graduates. Each of those metrics have value and each point to physical, practical, and intentional steps that have been taken to advance the gospel. However, those ways of thinking are based on human perspectives of success.

Reaping the Word of God must have an impact on people’s hearts if it is to have an eternal value. It is the transformation of lives and the visible evidence of the Spirit of God working in people that has significance. Acts records Barnabas going to Antioch to find out what was happening among the gentiles. “When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord.” Acts 11:23

In Malawi there is evidence of the grace of God at work in people’s lives. Rural pastors come to study God’s Word for a week and sleep on the cement floor. Seventeen classes have started up, and they are being led by teachers who are learning along with their students. 500 children attend a weekly Bible Club put on by Sam and Patricia, a newly married couple. Prison chaplains were convicted by their failure to share the gospel with the prisoners, and they took up the challenge of starting classes for those who wanted to grow. Our Ugandan teachers are not content to just teach their own communities. They are answering the call to be missionaries to other African countries. Yes, God is at work and there is a spiritual harvest to reap!