“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.
“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.
“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!
“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!
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” Romans 15:5
Life requires endurance.
We face hard things in life that require us to persevere. The Orality Institute 50-mile awareness and fundraiser bike ride requires stamina and so does the Grand Canyon hike in October. Reaching distant countries, memorizing God’s Word, and teaching people to training other people requires endurance. We know that we need to persist through challenges, but Romans 15:5 reminds us that God is the one that can give us endurance.
This year we have 15 participating in the bike ride from Emmaus Lutheran in Bloomington, to Chaska and back. The ride will include fun, fellowship, and the Orality Institute. It will help us raise vital funds for carrying out this ministry. This year there are three events: the first is the bike ride, the second is the motorcycle trip to the churches in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the third is the Grand Canyon hike. Each of these connect with different groups of people and together they will raise the awareness of how we are training people in Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda, Dominican Republic, and Mexico.
Together, we hope to raise $5000 to send four Ugandans to train in Malawi, $2,000 to print the second translated curriculum for Malawi, and $10,000 to introduce this training in Ethiopia in November. The bike ride has already raised $2100.
The Lord is the one that gives the endurance to face challenges in life and He is the one that provides for the work that He calls us to do. Our job is to continue looking to Him for strength and direction. May the Lord give you endurance in the challenges that you face as well.
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,… if any fellowship with the Spirit,… then make my joy complete.” Philippians 2:1-2
The motivation to face challenges comes from the effective results in the lives of people. This is a picture of one of the training groups that Watson N’gomba oversees in Malawi. Two of the ladies in this group talked about how the training has helped them know the Bible, to meditate on God’s Word, to do ministry, and to resist the temptation to do evil things.
Mama Nissi gave this testimony. “When I joined the orality training, I saw the evidence of the changed lives, lives which Christ had transformed. They taught the Word of God from what they knew in their minds. The Word transformed them and I wondered if the Word could transform me. I looked at myself and saw what a wretched woman I am; what I want to do, I do not do and what I do not want to do is what I do. As I surrendered to the Holy Spirit to do His work, people began to say that this training has really changed you.
I felt a burning desire to share God’s Word with as many people as possible.
We formed a serious prayer group and we have seen God answer prayer after payer. I started teaching and praying for each student by name. One time I had a class every day of the week and the Lord sent helpers. I loved the students above myself and paid the transport to go and teach them.
I was appointed as the Secretary for the Institute. God helped me to be faithful, obedient, work in humility, and to be available as needed. When Zones were introduced, I was appointed to oversee Zone C in Jinja. We chose a hard-working committee and led them in humility. I was given the opportunity to train in Malawi. When we reached there, there was true hunger for the Word of God! We have offered ourselves to be missionaries to various fields and we look to the Lord for help, and we see that He is using us.”
Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11
Jesus is the cornerstone of the Kingdom of God and the expansion of that kingdom flows through the support and direction of His church. Jesus told Peter, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not stand against it.” Since Jesus is the foundation and the builder then the potential growth has no boundaries.
Paul Kneeland has been sharing the vision and ministry of the Orality Institute with people from Montana to Illinois. There is an excitement about the growth of this ministry because it continues to multiply. Those who have been trained begin training others. Those who have been leading continue to expand their oversight to others.
Since the training in Malawi this past April, fourteen classes have begun along with multiple locations of informal training in new areas. In April, three Ugandans went to Malawi to lead the training. Three more have applied for passports so that they can assist in the discipleship of those first students, now teachers. We are beginning to see the Lord’s perfect timing for the handoff of the training in Malawi to those from Uganda. Right now, the price of airfare from the United States to Malawi has doubled but the cost of flying from Uganda has remained the same. The Ugandans do not need to get visas to travel within east Africa and a large-scale famine is predicted across Africa. Our goal is to send four Ugandans to Malawi, to print the next book of the curriculum, and to initiate training in Ethiopia over Thanksgiving. Let’s build His kingdom and watch it multiply.
“Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-13
We all pray that our lives will have lasting results. We want to be involved in something that matters, something makes a difference, and something that will last. Jesus makes that eternal difference in people’s lives through His Word, and this ministry is a tool to get that Word into their lives. Gold, silver, and precious gems are being mined in remote places of multiple countries by international friends who are teaching God’s Word to others.
This fall, we are promoting three opportunities to make a difference, with something that matters, that will last for eternity. This fall, our fundraising awareness events will raise money to send Ugandans to train in Malawi, to print the second book of the curriculum for Malawi, and to introduce the Orality Institute to Ethiopia. Each of these goals are important, but combined they stand as a lasting legacy.
The 50-mile bike ride will be held on Saturday, September 10th led by Kevin Olson. It starts at Emmaus in Bloomington, goes to Chaska and then back to Emmaus along the Minnesota River.
The motorcycle ride through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan will be led by Mark Antal. It will begin in Minneapolis on September 17th and include a ride through the beautiful colors of the U.P. and the AFLC churches.
The Grand Canyon Hike on October 15th will be led by Paul Kneeland. This hike is down to the bottom of the canyon and back out in one day.
Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you … men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. Acts 6:3
As the Orality Institute changes and grows, it is important that our support grows at the same time. This month the Orality Institute Board extended invitations to Paul Kneeland and Nathan Monseth.
Paul has been part-time with the Orality Institute for the past two years and will now be full-time as of August 1st. He will continue to promote the ministry of Orality Institute and encourage people to become partners with what God is doing through the ministry. This is a strategic move because we desire to continue to use the Ugandan leaders as missionaries around Africa. They can travel more easily and relate more quickly with those that they are teaching in Malawi and soon Ethiopia. The reach of the Orality Institute is expanding and bringing Paul on full-time can help meet the expansion.
At our June board meeting, Nathan Monseth was asked to join the Orality Institute board. He will be replacing Wayne Hjermstad who has served for five years. Nathan has a heart for bringing the gospel to the world through creative means. He and Julie lived in the United Arab Emirates for their first years of marriage while Nathan taught at a school there. He has served as a teacher for the Edina School District, been on multiple mission trips, and always shines the light of Christ through his life. His father, Francis Monseth, served on the predecessor Ambassador Institute board when it originated. We are excited about the ministry that will take place yet this year with continued training in Malawi through our Ugandan Ambassadors, the launch of work in Ethiopia, and the continued support of work in the Dominican Republic and the Baja of Mexico.
The Challenge Ahead
“For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” 2 Corinthians 8:3-4
We have found that some people prefer the consistent monthly support and other people prefer supporting annually or for specific causes. Both are needed to carry out what the Lord has put before Orality Institute.
There are two areas of special focus this year. The first is sending the Ugandan partners to teach the Orality Institute curriculum in Malawi for an extended period of time. The second is introducing the Orality Institute to the Tabor Evangelical College in Hawassa, Ethiopia (a school that serves the nine southern districts of the Makena Yesus church body.) It is exciting to see these wide-open doors for ministry and challenging to consider how we can reach these goals with the limitations of our current budget.
This year we are planning three fundraising / awareness events. We are calling them the Hike and Bikes. If you are interested in participating, contact Kevin at the address below or PaulK@oralityinstitute.org.
Paul is leading the third annual Grand Canyon Hike on October 15th. He already has 10 that are committed to the event and eight others that are considering. These hikes have been a bonding time for those that have participated (Nathan Monseth was on that first canyon hike.)
Kevin is leading the second annual Bike event. This year it will be held on September 10th and will be 50 miles long.
New this year, Mark Antal will lead a motorcycle trip through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The trip will begin in Minneapolis on September 17th and travel through the picturesque landscape of the UP, stopping to visit several AFLC churches located there.