Oral Story April 2024

Oral Story April 2024

From the Board

Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe…praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47

Awe struck is an accurate phrase to describe what it’s like to serve on the Board of Directors of International Orality Institute. One of the joys of serving on the board is to see the Lord at work. His blessing upon this ministry is to hear reports of and seeing precious souls being saved and that disciples are being made as Jesus directs His church in Matthew 28:18-20.

The Lord has never failed to provide for Orality Institute whether in temporal matters or with people of the same heart. He does so through you as supporters of IOI and in those He leads to join our work.

Most recently He has guided Orality Institute board members to call former AFLC missionary Nate Jore to join us in this work. While on furlough from Uganda, Nate and Rhoda sensed a change in ministry focus leading them to resign from AFLC World Missions. IOI extended a call to Nate to join us. 

His work will be primarily here in America, where many churches have asked him to assist them to develop their efforts of evangelism and discipleship, and training up church leaders. This ministry will be defined more clearly as Nate begins. We have called him to expand the work of building up Christ’s church through the making of disciples alongside the church in America. His call will begin August 1st.

Thank you for your support. We thank the Lord for how He provides for our ministry through faithful disciples such as you. He gives us peace and assurance through your faithful support.Because of Calvary, The Orality Institute Board: Greg Johnson, Marshall Nessa, Jim Rasmussen, Mark Antal, Nathan Monseth, Peter Ward

From the Jores

Dear friends & family,

We know many of you pray for us, and we’re so very grateful. How prayer impacts the heart and movement of God is a mysterious thing, but we believe He is attentive to His children, and it’s a comfort knowing that there are people talking to Him about us.

There has been much change for our family over these past 10 months in the States. We came back to the U.S. sensing there was a shift coming for our family and that God was perhaps redirecting us, but not knowing what that redirection might look like. We asked Him to help us to hold everything with open hands and to have the courage to step into whatever He asked of us.

In the past several months, a few doors have opened to our family that we‘ve discerned are ours to step through. One of those doors was an invitation to join International Orality Institute, an organization dear to our heart that is based here in Minneapolis and works internationally to provide Bible training through storying. Their vision for reproducible discipleship mirrors the vision that Nate has had in the discipleship he’s been privileged to be involved with in Uganda, and there’s not much that gets him more excited.

Orality Institute follows Jesus’ example of using storying and a question-and-answer teaching style as the primary mode of instruction. The invitation that Nate accepted from International Orality Institute (IOI) is primarily a Stateside teaching and equipping position, with the opportunity to travel occasionally to Uganda and to encourage the brothers there. We will finish our service with AFLC World Missions at the end of July, and Nate will begin his new position with International Orality Institute the 1st of August (his birthday!). We’re so grateful for our time spent serving under AFLC World Missions and for the support, leadership, and encouragement they gave to us during our 17 years in Uganda. For those who have supported us financially and would like to continue to do so, we will give information in a future update about transferring support to IOI. We will receive support through AFLC World Missions until the end of July.

Oral Story March 2024

Oral Story March 2024

Set Apart

“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Acts 13:2-3

Set apart is a great description of what the Orality Institute is about. It means that students set apart time to study God’s Word, the leaders dedicate two years to teach them, and the style of education is set apart from traditional methods.

This picture is one of the new Ugandan churches that have been started through the Ambassador Institute’s ministry. This is one of five new house churches, and it is held at Mama Rose’s business. It has taken years for the oral students to see the need to start their own churches, but it seems that this simple house church model is beginning to spark interest in Uganda. The leadership is divided among the members, and they worship in a simple and personal way. The Word of God, prayer, and worship is the heart of their gatherings.

Paul Kneeland’s trip to Uganda is to encourage the ministry and give the leaders some practical training. Paul’s two-week trip has very little time for rest. He will be participating in two of the five graduations, four zonal leaders’ meetings, and two meetings with the Ugandan international missionaries. The training has grown so quickly that we need to add some structure to the vision and passion. We have multiple places requesting training and six potential missionaries. This trip gives Paul a chance to introduce clear expectations and qualifications for those that represent the Orality Institute when they travel to other countries. He will be introducing budgeting and structural topics so that classes can start in a strong and stable manner. We need to be strategic with the use of our finances and make sure that when we begin a new location or country, they will be trained well.

Established

Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. All the brothers send you greetings.
1 Corinthians 16:19-20

One of the greatest blessings of a ministry that spans years is watching the Lord transform lives. Alex and Mary were both graduates from the oral ministry in Uganda. Mary became a teacher and taught her class through their graduation while she worked in the Ambassador Institute office. Alex was a budding pastor, and he was mentored by Pastor Brent Raan and Michael Rokenbrodt as he started a church outside of Jinja.

Shortly before their engagement party Alex was in a severe motorcycle accident. At first, he was expected to die, then after finding a hospital that would treat him, they expected that he may have permanent spinal or head injuries. The Lord healed him in some miraculous ways. When they were married a month later Alex was able to walk and stand on his own. Their wedding was a celebration for the whole ministry family in Uganda.

Now Alex is the pastor of Gideon church. He grew in his preaching through his oral training. Alex and Mary have led their congregation in spiritual growth, and they have seen people set free from various forms of spiritual bondage through Jesus. They have also faced severe spiritual opposition. Strong winds blew down their church, one of their leaders was killed by a falling brick, and Alex was mugged when he was delivering money. Yet, they continue to faithfully proclaim the hope in Jesus and teach oral classes.   Their daughter Rohi, which means The Lord is my Shepherd, just turned three. She has been in the center of the missionary meetings from the day she was born and travels with her parents to the graduation events as a special guest of honor. The Orality Institute truly is an international family.

Oral Story January 2024

Oral Story January 2024

A New Creation

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

Our missionaries to Zambia returned from a two-week trip where they introduced oral training to a new group of leaders near the border with Malawi. There were 15 students that attended the training and they covered much of the first term including the first set of oral exams. The follow-up for this group will be under the supervision of Ernest Chigawa from Malawi. He oversees the training in Kansungu, in northern Malawi, and now will add this group in Zambia to his oversight.

The pastor of the church testified that this training changed their lives. “The whole team is now able to teach and preach the real stories in the Bible.” He said that they didn’t even know some of these stories and now they could tell them from their heart. “From now on our teaching will be different because God has lifted us up through this program.”

Two of the students were not able to read or write. When they took their oral exam on the 33 verses that cover the story of Noah, they both scored 100% on remembering the details of the story. They outperformed their literate classmates. Eric joined the class at the end of the first week. He was one of the leaders in his church but had been preaching without knowing the real meaning of the Word of God. After two days of oral training, he immediately started using it to teach his people. Lydia is planning to use this training as she goes out into the villages to share the Word of God. Betty was reluctant to come and study but after joining realized a significant change. She is now able to explain God’s story to people. During their training, the team led the manager of their guest house and her daughter to faith in Christ. On their way home, they led the hotel manager to faith in Christ.

All Things New

 “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5

Peter Shalom is the newest contact for the Orality Institute. He would like to train his leaders in both Bukoba in western Tanzania and in Dar Es Salam in eastern Tanzania. Although we have had several contacts from people in Tanzania and tried to introduce the training, Peter is the first person to request training enthusiastically and persistently. We are expecting to send him a team of two people for two weeks this January.

The opportunities before us are amazing, the fruit is obvious, and we wait on the Lord to show us how to meet these needs.

  • Victor from Kenya is waiting for training so that he can introduce the oral strategy to his people in Congo. He needs support to be trained.
  • Peter wants to train 15 people in a remote area of northern India every month and needs to cover the expenses for those trips.
  • In Pakistan, Rayan is training his 15 master trainers every month.
  • We would like to send a follow up team to South Sudan this year.
  • We will be going to the Dominican Republic this month for their first graduation of 23 students after two years of study.

In addition to everything that is taking place around the world, there is a growing interest in oral training in the U.S. There is an oral class taking place with Living Stone Chinese Fellowship. Living Stone is a Chinese church plant that reaches out to the Chinese students that come to study at the University of Minnesota. Pastor Holmes Zhao and the men from his church meet every Tuesday to orally study God’s Word. Hosanna Free Lutheran in St. James, MN and St. Ansgar’s Lutheran in Salinas, CA have had oral training seminars so that they can reach their communities with a simple evangelism and discipleship tool.

Oral Story December 2023

Oral Story December 2023

Great Need

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house.  Romans 16:3-5

Meet Dr. Victor Lonu, the most recent friend of the Orality Institute. Victor is from Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). Victor received his master’s and PhD in Biblical Studies through the African Theological Seminary in Kenya. Since that time, he has been developing training manuals for pastors in rural Africa.

Victor is the most recent person to contact the Orality Institute asking for us for training in an oral strategy of education. He would like to bring biblical training to his home area near Bunia, but traditional written education is not going to be effective for them. He was introduced to oral instruction some years ago through one of Pastor Kevin’s early mentors, and he remembers those lessons today. He wants to share that living instruction with those in his home area.

Northeast DR Congo has been ravaged by violence for many years. The people in the villages have fled to the city of Bunia for safety, but that also means leaving their farms and homes. Victor has a network of pastors in that area and through that network the hope of the gospel has a chance to spread into an otherwise dangerous area. This year the Orality Institute has received inquiries and invitations to work in Pakistan, Nigeria, South Sudan, Northern India, and now DR Congo. These are dangerous locations for U.S. citizens to be working, yet by God’s grace, we have been able to encourage and motivate these leaders in their spheres of influence. We praise the Lord for our partnership with people who can share the Word of God in these places where there is such a great need.

 Great Gift

Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of The Name. Therefore, we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth. 1 John 1:5-8

The Word of God is the greatest gift that we can give to people. Mama Nissi, who is one of our missionaries, just returned to Uganda after spending five months visiting her children in England. This was intended to be a personal trip paid for by her children. She was insistent that it was an opportunity to start a new class in England. She found that everyone was overly busy, several working two jobs just to cover their life expenses. During her time, she was able to find five people from different parts of London who were willing to study and could do so over Zoom. So, now this 70+ year old woman will be teaching her new students, using a computer,  … from Uganda.

Meanwhile our Zambia team will be leaving Uganda on December 8th and returning on the 24th. The team includes Bishop, Sharif and Tracy in the picture. Ernest will be meeting them in Malawi when they land on the 8th, then they will travel by bus across the border. Their purpose will be to help Ernest, from Northern Malawi, start a new class. Ernest has been a part of several orality training courses. Now he will become the overseer of the class of teachers in Zambia. Our team will help him be successful with this new class. Please pray for them as they bring the priceless gift of God’s Word to people who need to hear and understand how much God loves them. They need to experience the transformation that happens when they are immersed in His Word. These dear friends will go “out for the sake of The Name.”

Oral Story November 2023

Oral Story November 2023

Bearing Fruit

 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing.  Colossians 1:3-6

Everything in nature reproduces when it becomes mature. We see it in the animal and the plant kingdoms. We are also seeing spiritual reproduction within the Orality Institute.

Those that were trained in Malawi have started many more classes to the extent that we just printed 100 more teacher’s manuals which have been distributed to those who will be leading classes. Ernest is one of the teachers in Malawi and he has been pleading for support so that he can bring this training to his friends in neighboring Zambia.

In Pakistan, 15 master trainers each have their own class with a total of 137 students between them. The church that we trained in South Sudan received an introductory course and immediately started three classes in their church. The training zones in Uganda continue to expand. The above picture is a Teacher’s Workshop from one of the nine zones. In January, we will celebrate the first graduation in the Dominican Republic. They have studied for two years and now these students can start their own classes.

This oral strategy is expanding within the United States through the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations. The Free Lutheran Schools have held classes for the seminary, and it has been included within a Bible college class. It is being used as an evangelism and discipleship tool in four churches. A man in one congregation plans to reach out to Veterans, another is planning on using it in his Taekwondo gym.

All of this is evidence of the work of God and the fruit of the Spirit through the Word of God.

Giving Thanks

But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.  Psalm 79:13

Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can increase our happiness, improve our physical health, give us better mental well-being, higher self-esteem, and greater life satisfaction. Giving thanks is also a celebration of all that the Lord has given us and His promise to provide in the future as well.

We are grateful for the privilege of being ambassadors of Christ among so many people groups. It is an honor to be trusted by people from so many countries, languages, and strata of society. In these last few months, we have printed books in Malawi, and translated curriculum into Hindi, Luganda, and Urdu. This week we received a new invitation to bring training to another people group in another part of the world.

We praise the Lord for the enthusiastic response people have toward the study and memory of God’s Word. We see the transformation of individuals, marriages, families, and communities as they apply His Word to their lives. Pastor Paul Kigosi, from South Sudan, said the training helped his marriage.

We are grateful for your partnership in this ministry which makes it possible to share God’s Word around the world. This ministry began in January of 2018 and it has continued for seven years on the support of faithful friends who believe that it is possible reach people around the world with this unique style of education. We praise the Lord for your generosity toward the 2023 Hike and Bike. We raised $14,277 above our regular monthly pledges. That will sustain our monthly budget and allow us the ability to expand into new areas.