A Lisu village pastor in northern Thailand listens to the Bible for the first time in his own language
A village pastor traveled a jungle trail, hardly noticing sharp pebbles as mud squished up between his toes. He followed the path automatically as it wound left, right, left again, around thorn-thickets growing beneath towering trees. Sunlight filtered through staggered, leafy layers of overhead canopy fueling fast growing under-brush. Energized in sticky late afternoon heat, insects droned and whined, though after a lifetime in the jungle only silence would have startled him.
His left hand waved away a wasp, while his right felt the solid lump, safe in his pocket. He’d run out of thread weeks ago. But fortunately, filaments stripped from a vine fit the needle’s eye allowing him to fix the remaining white sack in his fraying shorts. It should hold its precious cargo, but his hand remained, protecting his connection with a bigger world.
New Cargo: Pilots have been known to have flown all sorts of things … pigs, coffee, generators, you name it. One thing that is now becoming a common piece of cargo in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is called the “Bible Box.”
A local ministry in PNG, Christian Radio Missionary Fellowship (CRMF), provides radio flight communications for MAF-AUS. In addition to this, they are currently partnering with MAF-US Learning Technologies to provide Christian resources to isolated communities. CRMF has been busy creating Bible Boxes for pilots to take on their flights.
The Lord continues to position MAF-Learning Technologies into the middle of His working through technology. Our niche, of course, emphasizes using technology's tools to deliver Christian education to church leaders ministering to the least of the least, the remotest of the remote, those living in the last mile.
We recently started using LT’s Estante program as part of our monthly meetings with our hanger staff. I had received the program and Bible study software while at the IT conference in Uganda. Looking over the material I thought that our staff could really benefit from the topics of marriage and stewardship especially.
The MAF-LT Oral Strategies Workshop took place last week at the Riverside Hotel in Boise. The goal of the workshop was to equip participants to share the Gospel through the use of a storytelling model called Bible Storytelling & Discussion.
You may not know this but MAF-LT operates in many different areas of the world. Check out this blog post by LT PNG.
Praise God for the work He is doing in Papua New Guinea! How exciting to see that so many are hungry for the Word of God! It is cool to hear that audio, as well as print, versions are being distributed and that so many people are interested in study materials too.
In an oral strategies video our team has been working on, Regina describes a piece of candy to her friend Laura. When Jim comes into the picture, Laura has not yet tried the candy. She attempts to tell him what she heard from Regina but she struggles to remember and repeat what she was told. Then she takes a bite of the candy. It’s like the lights come on! Now she gets its! Now that she’s tried it and experienced it for herself, she easily expresses—in her own words—how good the candy is.
I had the opportunity to teach at Church recently. I chose Luke 8:4-15, The Parable of the Sower. My dad was a farmer so I really enjoy when Jesus uses stories related to farming to teach spiritual lessons. Jesus uses metaphors that engage the imaginations of His listeners, which prepares them to receive His teaching—like the farmer prepares the soil.
Most of us living in the developed world have easy access to a Bible or to discipleship and training resources. We can either visit a Christian bookshop in town, look up an online Bible or read a Bible we have downloaded to our mobile device. In fact it can be so easy that we take for granted the level of access we have to resources which can help us grow in faith and spiritual maturity.
The reality that 2/3 of the world’s adults don’t, OR WON’T LEARN FROM READING, has challenged one of MAF-LT’s clients to move their leadership training materials from 6th grade to 2nd grade level. A common mistake made by literates when simplifying training for these “Oral Learners” is the temptation to “dumb down” the material. After all, what can they teach if they are limited to a 2nd grade vocabulary?
But the adults they are working with are not second graders. Many are intelligent men and women who may be perceptive believers. As Oral Learners they just don’t have the ability (or desire) to use written material. They don’t divide life into abstract categories like “love” or “forgiveness.” Neither did Jesus. He told memorable stories, like the Prodigal Son!
Since an Oral Learner’s capacity for learning is limited largely to memory, the challenge is to make important lessons more memorable. Here are some ideas: