Prayer and Praise January 2022

  • Pray the upcoming training in Malawi this February.
  • Pray for southern Malawi and Uganda with regard to the Omicron covid variant.
  • Praise God for His provisions that made it possible to finish the year in the black!
  • Praise for the successful trip to the Baja of Mexico in September. There were 19 new students and we found that eight of the previous students are active in ministry in that area.
  • Praise for the successful trip to the Dominican Republic in August. There were four introduction classes taught in a week. Six teachers have begun teaching in 3 regions.
  • Pray for the 2nd book to be translated into Chichewa for Malawi.
  • Prayer for the finances to continue and grow this ministry
Oral Story January 2022

Oral Story January 2022

A Year in View

What will this next year look like?

How easy planning would be if we had an answer to that one simple question, and then Jesus says, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

As I write this, the Orality Institute Board is considering the decision of whether to travel to Malawi, or train over Zoom. This trip has been on and off several times because of the virus. Training for three ministries, in different locations, with multiple teachers, from two countries takes time to coordinate in order for everything to run smoothly.

We want everything to go well and to use our time wisely, so our response is to plan out the details and the back up plans. But there are things that we just cannot control, especially when it comes to international travel. Maybe in the past we thought we had control even though we were dependent on the Lord for everything. Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26

For now, we plan a February 21st – March 11th trip, trusting that the Lord will work out details that we cannot see and cannot control. We go forward, knowing that He has called us to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” We keep in view this year, that God is in control, that He loves us, and that He is working out everything for His purpose and His glory. These past two years have reminded us again that training nationals to train their own people is the only way that the Word of God will reach the nations. When disciples start making disciples the result is multiplication and we need to empower others to carry on the ministry regardless of whether we can return. That is what Jesus taught His disciples when He was returning to heaven and looking into the future.

A Year in Review

When we take time to look back at what God has done, it can give us clarity on how we should proceed forward.

It is encouraging, amazing, and humbling to see all the ways that the Lord has been at work when His Word has been taught around the world.

In Uganda, we had three graduations, eight zonal meetings, and two board meetings. Each graduation and every zonal meeting was filled with excitement and anticipation. Pictured above are just the teachers from the Kamuli zone. How encouraging to see former students who want to see the Kingdom of God grow and are willing to give of themselves to teach others.

In the Dominican Republic, it was amazing to hear of how the unruly youth from an immigrant community were affected by the training and they began to talk about God in their school 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 the classes to learn the stories. News of this transformation began spreading among the members of the community and among the pastors.

In the Baja of Mexico, it was humbling to meet eight students from classes taught three years earlier. Three of them were working with students in the orphanage, three in the Bible College, one is a local pastor, and one a church member. All eight of them had continued to teach others using the oral strategy that they had learned.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

Prayer and Praise December 2021

  • Praise God for the successful test of a Zoom call to Malawi. Pray that we might be able to move forward with training regardless of our ability to travel.
  • Pray for southern Malawi and Uganda with regard to the Omicron covid variant.
  • Praise God for the successful hike and bike awareness/fundraiser on October 15th. We had 82 people participate in the event AND we surpassed our goal with support of $12,333!
  • Praise for the successful trip to the Baja of Mexico in September. There were 19 new students and we found that eight of the previous students are active in ministry in that area.
  • Praise for the successful trip to the Dominican Republic in August. There were four introduction classes taught in a week. Six teachers have begun teaching in 3 regions.
  • Pray for the 2nd book to be translated into Chichewa for Malawi.
  • Prayer for the finances to continue and grow this ministry
Oral Story December 2021

Oral Story December 2021

Behold, He Provides

You have seen the headlines: Omicron Found in Southern Africa, Travel Cut to 8 African Countries. Those headlines are frustrating to our mission effort, but they also serve as the catalyst for a new plan.

Is it possible to do training for people in Malawi over Zoom? If so, Prison Fellowship would be the place and they might have the internet speed and equipment needed. This picture is from our first Zoom test call to Prison Fellowship in Malawi and it worked very well! The room above is the same room that we held training for 25 chaplains in 2019.

If our travel is going to be limited, then we must find another way to reach across the distance to bring the Gospel. Rodrick is a very capable leader at the Prison Fellowship campus in Balaka, Malawi. When it is not used as a half-way house for inmates, it is a great place to host an Orality conference. We would be able to rent this space, provide food and lodging, and support the ministry of Prison Fellowship all at the same time. There are challenges to work through such as the reliability of the power or the fact that their day is our night, but this is a powerful first step toward expanding our training beyond the limitations of things that are outside of our control.

Next, we will be testing a call that connects the ministry team from Malawi, Uganda, Prescott, AZ, Minneapolis, MN, and Cross Lake, MN. May the Lord go before us as we bring God’s Word to the world! 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

Behold, He Came

Behold is a beautiful word.

It is simply to look, to take in, to be in awe over. There are many things that capture our attention, many things that we look at, and take in, but Jesus surpasses them all. Let us behold Him!

To behold Jesus is not like beholding anything else. It is to see who He is and what He has done. It is to marvel at God coming down, to the earth that He made, as a baby. It is to allow the wonder of this gift to sink in, to be invited in and to be welcomed.

That is what happens when Jesus is revealed and understood. It is the awareness of God speaking through His Word. Michael Rokenbrodt recently told a story about Jesus coming down from John 6. Michael said, “From what I could judge from the unanimous royal reverence of the group, it was as though the Lord’s Supper had very much descended from heaven among them.  Our arrival had brought shock and awe. I perceived they were even fearful.  Our discussion in John 6 and the other verses had unintentionally drug out the idol of alcohol into the light. We explained the forgiveness found in Jesus’ blood in the Last Supper, and how it could cleanse and restore a heart from the idol of alcoholism.”

Oh, may we all behold that Lamb that we also may be cleansed and restored. Yes, Lord, thank you for coming all the way down to us. Thank you for the freedom, the wonder, and the forgiveness we can find in you. “For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:33-35

Prayer and Praise Fall 2021

  • Praise God for the successful 100 mile bike ride and Grand Canyon Hike on October 15th. We had 82 people participate in that awareness/fundraising event AND we surpassed our goal with support of $12,333!
  • Praise for the successful trip to the Baja of Mexico in September. There were 19 new students and we found that eight of the previous students are active in ministry in that area.
  • Praise for the successful trip to the Dominican Republic in August. There were four introduction classes taught in a week. Six teachers have begun teaching in 3 regions.
  • We are talking about a trip to Malawi next February into March. There are schedules and details to bring together with four teachers and four separate ministries.
  • Pray for the 2nd book to be translated into Chichewa for Malawi.
  • Prayer for the finances to continue and grow this ministry
Oral Story November 2021

Oral Story November 2021

Intangible Gratitude

Our faces communicate many things, and the image of gratitude shines bright from deep within. Each of the students from the Bible Institute in the Baja of Mexico had a unique reason for their joy and at the same time, they all shared the fact that they had seen Jesus working in their heart. Their gratitude shines through their smiles and their empowered lives. Those are the intangible blessings that come from being a part of the Orality Institute.

These are eight of the 19 students from our training in September. They have gratitude for what Christ is doing within them, gratitude for what they are learning from God’s Word, and appreciation for the new oral strategy that they had the opportunity to learn. They come from indigenous backgrounds, addiction recovery, health challenges, and unbelieving families. Each of those could have prohibited them from coming to learn, but God called them to set aside time to be a student of His Word.

At the end of the week, the students responded to what they had learned and shared what they had appreciated. They said that they began to see themselves in the stories. They were impacted by developing a relationship with the characters in the Bible and the sincere communication of God’s Word with a living illustration. They were glad to have a simple tool that made sharing God’s Word easy and natural.

“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.” Psalm 69:30-33

Tangible Thanks

Setting a goal of $10,000 to cover the expenses for the trip to Malawi seemed like a difficult, almost impossible, ideal. That is the real cost for transportation, hosting training for four different ministries, and providing over 100 students with basic necessities for a week of classes together.

God gave strength to the seven hikers that crossed the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. He gave stamina to the eleven bikers who rode in the 100 mile ride. Both groups started early in the morning before the sun came up and ended after dark. Rodrick, from Prison Fellowship in Malawi, joined us by phone to pray for the start of our day.

Crossing the chasam of the canyon or going a long distance is a picture of what Jesus did to offer us the hope of life in Him. It is also a picture of the effort we make when we bring the gospel to people who need that life giving Word. The oral strategy helps bridge those physical and spiritual barriers. It allows God’s Word to be presented in a way that can be understood. Our international partners cross barriers and endure challenges daily as they bring the hope of Jesus to people. Our main responsibility is to encourage them and spur them on in the calling that God has put on their lives.

Praise the Lord who provided 82 people who supported this effort. Many of them were first time partners. Together we raised $12,333! That is on top of the regular monthly support that came in. You are an amazing support team and the Lord has once again supplied for a need that only He could meet.

We are grateful for your prayers, your support, and for your partnership in this ministry.   “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.” Philippians 4:19-20

Prayer and Praise Fall 2021

  • Praise for the successful trip to the Baja of Mexico in September. There were 19 new students and we found that eight of the previous students are active in ministry in that area.
  • Praise for the successful trip to the Dominican Republic in August. There were four introduction classes taught in a week. Six teachers have begun teaching in 3 regions.
  • We are talking about when a trip to Malawi might work. There are so many schedules to work together with three leaders and four separate ministries. We are hoping for February – March.
  • Pray for the 100 mile bike ride and the Grand Canyon Hike on October 15th. Pray for endurance and awareness.
  • Pray for the 2nd book to be translated into Chichewa for Malawi.
  • Pray for us as we plan for a children’s curriculum.
  • Prayer for the finances to continue and grow this ministry
Oral Story October 2021

Oral Story October 2021

Lasting Effects

It had been three years since I visited the Christ for the World Bible Institute in Vicente Guerrero, in the Baja of Mexico. What a joyous surprise to find that three former students are now staff at this Bible Institute, three are staff at the orphanage, one is a local pastor, and one is working locally and serving his church.

Miguel and Paola were both students of the Oral Training in 2017 and 2018. They were married two years ago and started working at the orphanage. This summer they both began working at the Bible College. Miguel uses his oral training to reach those in the villages around the area. Paola is active in outreach to children in the area. The storytelling method helped the children grasp and understand the Bible quickly.

Caesar and his wife Miriam took the training. Now he is the pastor for two local churches and has used the training as a Bible Study to help his church grow in God’s Word.

Marco shared with the class one of the stories he remembered when they were part of the school’s mission to the indigenous people of Oaxaca, Mexico. They used the stories to cross the language and cultural barriers and bring the gospel to that hard-to-reach people group. Adriana, Fabian, and Marina use the training as they work with the kids of the orphanage.

 John told his churches in 3 John 4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth”, oh how true that is.

Growing Influence

Orality training continues to empower national leaders to equip their own people. As it does, the influence of this strategy of discipleship continues to grow. The lives that have been affected through the Christ for the World Bible Institute are taking God’s Word further than any individual or any ministry could.

The borders to Malawi have reopened and the requests for training continue. One of their leaders sent a text that said, “Your ministry has allowed our people to begin doing ministry. It even helps us to reach the Muslims in this area.”

There are four ministries in Malawi that would like to train their people in this oral strategy; Prison Fellowship, Grace Bible Churches, Balaka Churches, and the Iris Africa Bible School. We will need to prepare well in advance for this trip. It will require lodging and food for the students and extra teachers to lead the classes.

To get all these groups started well, we will need two teachers for each location and three weeks for travel and training. The training team for this trip will include Kevin Olson, Paul Kneeland, Michael Rokenbrodt and a teacher from Uganda. The cost will be significant, but the impact will be even greater.

On Friday, October 15th, we will be doing a fundraiser / awareness hike and bike. There are currently seven signed up to hike the 20+ miles into and out of the Grand Canyon. There are seven others who will be riding bike for 100 miles around Minneapolis and St. Paul. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to make this training in Malawi possible. It is possible to sponsor a biker or a hiker directly by check, through the www.oralityinstitute.org web site, or through www.tithe.ly online giving. “What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge.” 1 Corinthians 9:18

Prayer and Praise Fall 2021

  • Praise for the successful trip to the Dominican Republic in August. There were four introduction classes taught in a week. Six teachers have begun teaching in 3 regions.
  • The trip to Malawi had to be canceled because their borders are still closed. We hope to reschedule this for winter of 2022.
  • Pray for the trip to the Baja of Mexico this year. This trip will be take the place of the trip to Malawi.
  • Pray for the 100 mile bike ride and the Grand Canyon Hike on October 15th. Pray for endurance and awareness.
  • Pray for the 2nd book to be translated into Chichewa for Malawi.
  • Pray for us as we plan for a children’s curriculum.
  • Prayer for the finances to continue and grow this ministry
Oral Story SepT 2021

Oral Story SepT 2021

Measuring Success

They received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11

The greatest measure of success is when the nationals get excited for the training and begin to lead the training. That was the experience during the August trip to the Dominican Republic. John and Mary Pabst from Canal Winchester, Ohio are the missionaries that invited the Orality Institute down for the initial training in May of 2019. That was the first time that the Lantigua family had been introduced to the oral style of teaching the scriptures.

Daniel Lantigua became excited about the possibilities of how this could be used in an immigrant community with unruly youth. The youth were so affected by the training that they began to talk about God in their school 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 the classes to learn the stories. News of this transformation began spreading among the members of the community and among the pastors.

On this second trip, many pastors were interested in learning about this training. Instead of hosting one or two classes for the week, they had scheduled four. That was only possible because both Kevin and Paul went on the trip. Two classes were held in the afternoon and two others were held in the evening. The new students were enthusiastic, but better yet was the fact that Daniel and his son Darriel did most of the teaching. They knew the training well enough to empower their own people with this strategy.

Since our departure, the future teachers met and planned for the start of their classes. They will begin with six teachers in three regions.

Building Awarness

The international excitement for training in God’s Word has been present since the classes began in Uganda in 2009. When we have introduced this training in Africa, India, Mexico, Ecuador, and the Caribbean the training has been enthusiastically welcomed. In each place, the nationals adopted the training and began teaching others.

The biggest challenge has been communication of this ministry in the United States. Some have understood and have been standing alongside of our work for the past 3 years, but many others are unaware of how the training works, where the growth has been taking place, and what role the Orality Institute has in assisting nationals with a tool for discipleship.

A way to build this awareness in the US is through the two events held on Friday, October 15th. The second annual Grand Canyon hike led by Pastor Paul Kneeland still has a short window of time left to sign up. Paul’s email is paulk@oralityinstitute.org. The second event will be a one-hundred-mile Minneapolis bike ride. That ride will begin and end at Emmaus Lutheran in Bloomington and will be a tour of the many bike trails around the cities. Pastor Kevin Olson will lead that trip. If interested contact him at kevino@oralityinstitute.org.

The physical efforts that we put out on these trips parallel the effort we and our students make to bring God’s Word to the world. It is not easy to hike 20 miles in a desert. It takes endurance to bike 100 miles, but the perseverance that we need is also a gift from God. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6