The Launching of a New Chapter: Oral Bible Storying

Wednesday of this week will kick off an exciting new chapter in our ministry to the Kwakum people. Two of our friends and colleagues with Wycliffe/SIL will be joining us in our village to help launch an Oral Bible Storying project. We plan to have about 30 Kwakum people assembled to learn how to translate and transmit Bible stories orally. The two stories chosen to demonstrate the process are Elijah and the Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18) and the story of the Pharisee and tax collector (Luke 18:10-14).

Our rationale in launching translating and transmitting some Bible stories orally before we move onto written translation is as follows:

  • We want Bible stories to be accessible to all – not just to those who take the time to learn to read. We pray that hearing truths from the Bible will then motivate people to put in the time to learn to read in Kwakum so they can (one day) read more of the Bible for themselves.  
  • Translating stories orally removes dependence on the French text and makes the stories sound more “Kwakum” and less French.
  • We hope to work with people on Oral Bible Storying for the next six months in order to see who is the most teachable and capable to continue on with us in a written translation of the New Testament in a full-time capacity.

I was struck today by a passage in Luke 6:12-13 which says:

“In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.  And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles.”

This passage shows us that Jesus prayed all night right before he chose his twelve disciples. We too ask our readers to join us in prayer as we begin this new chapter in our ministry. Please join us in praying the following:

  • That the Lord’s Word would go forth in power and cut people to the heart.
  • Pray that those present would see that their Creator is all powerful and deserves our worship and allegiance, especially in the face of false deities (as demonstrated in 1 Kings 18).
  • Pray that those present would see that we are made right before God not through our religious works, but rather through the mercy of God given to those who are broken over their sin (as demonstrated in Luke 18:10-14).
  • Pray for a spirit of cooperation, humility, and focus among the participants at the workshop.
  • Pray that our children (who will be present) would be considerate during the workshop and that they too would be excited about the work.
  • Pray that the Lord would provide people who are humble, teachable, team players, intelligent and who could continue on with us in full-time Bible translation starting in January 2020.
  • Pray that those who come to the workshop would leave excited about Oral Bible Storying and pray that there would be much momentum for the ministry.
  • Pray for Dave as he continues to analyze the way in which the Kwakum tell stories. He has made progress, but there is still more work to be done as we shift our focus to translating Bible stories into Kwakum.
  • Pray that the Lord would give all leading the workshop love for those present, a spirit of grace when correcting error, and an energy for the work that would be contagious to all present.

Thank you for joining us in prayer that the Lord would do well above even what we can think to ask.

Little Kwakum boy looking at recently-hung Bible story pictures in our translation classroom
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Author: Stacey Hare

Stacey is a wife, mom, linguist, and Bible translator. Right now she is working on the writing system for the Kwakum including how to mark tone. Literacy among the Kwakum is already beginning and translation is scheduled to begin in September 2019!

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