Stories have the amazing ability to take us on a great adventure to make us laugh, make us cry and enrich our thoughts and conversations. They are also some of the most effective ways of teaching. Jesus often used stories to speak to the people around him through parables.
For a large proportion of people in the world, oral communication is their primary and sometimes only way of sharing their history and teachings. They pass these accounts and tales down from generation to generation. Often, it is far easier for them to engage with Scripture and understand it when they can hear the message.
In 2013, whilst in a meeting about Siberia, God spoke to three men about ‘feeding’ communities by using stories. Then in July 2014, teams were commissioned and sent to four communities in Eastern Siberia with the goal of translating stories from the Bible. Anton was part of the team that visited the Nanai people. Here’s a short extract from Anton’s story about his experience:
During our visit to one village, we met two Nanai women, who invited us to tell them about God. We had blessed discussions and prayers. But there was one interesting detail, which touched me very much and showed the importance of the particular kind of work we are doing. When we were talking about God’s Word, I asked one of the women, “Do you ever read the Bible?”
“Yes,” she said, “I tried to read the Russian Synodal Bible, but I didn’t understand anything.”
Of course, my next question was, “Have you read the Nanai Gospel of Luke?” and I was ready to get the classic Wycliffe example of how reading in the language of the heart makes such a great difference. But I was really surprised to get the answer, “Yes, I tried, but it was even more difficult than reading the Russian Bible! I wasn’t even able to finish the chapter.”
Amazing! What had gone wrong? She explained: “The situation is that we never use the Nanai language for reading; it’s an oral language. Of course, if I had audio recordings with Bible stories in Nanai, I would listen to them with pleasure!”
When we told her that the main purpose of our project is to produce such audio stories, she was very happy, and said that she desired to have these stories very much. She would share them with all her friends.
You can read more from the team members in the full article at wycliffe.net.
Enabling communities to learn and engage with Scripture is vitally important. Recording audio versions of Bible stories is one of the ways this is achieved. Find out more about Scripture engagement and how you can help.
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