A new model

​In 2014, with an emphasis on ECPNG’s Honinabi district, the team ran a trial Bible storytelling workshop series for pastors and other Bible teachers. The series consisted of an Old Testament workshop early in the year and then a New Testament one late in the year. It included the Kubo, Samo, and Gobasi language communities. Since then the team has been working very hard to help with follow-up there and to scale up our capacity to extend this approach to other North Fly language communities. Now we are full into the last stages of planning with ECPNG’s Debepari district, which includes the Pa (Pare) language community.

Pastors‘ Workshops, part 2

 

The 2014 highlight of our work in the North Fly was definitely the two trial workshops. The goal of the workshops was to use “storytelling” to bring an accurate understanding of the Bible to all members of the community. We use the term “storytelling” to refer to the primary method of learning and saving information in an oral society. Both the PNG English expression “we’re telling stories” and the Tok Pisin expression “yumi stori” imply that one person (at a time) is sharing what they know, and a group is repeating it and discussing it.

The workshops targeted the pastors and other Bible teachers of the Honinabi district of the Evangelical Church of Papua New Guinea. The participants as a group studied forty-five passages selected from all major divisions of the Bible. They learned the flow of the Story recorded in the Bible and became familiar with the Bible’s „library“ structure. Along the way they also Improved their study skills.

The workshops also facilitated plenty of practice in incorporating Bible storytelling into preaching and Bible teaching. The workshops each concluded with an analysis of the spiritual needs of the community, and strategic ministry planning and follow-up.

Extended family

 

Although we thought we were co-sponsoring a workshop for pastors, it quickly became clear that the event would be a great experience for the whole family! Still there were times when the parents found it hard to concentrate, and we are hoping to introduce some activities for the kids in the New Testament workshop coming up in October.

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Deacons

 

Before the workshop, I noticed that Pastor Soli was doing too much of the practical preparations and not finding enough time for preparing the teaching content. He himself made this observation in an after-church meeting. As my contribution to the discussion, I retold the story in Acts of the development of the role of deacon. In response to this story, the deacons of the Honinabi church took on much more responsibility for the food and accommodations side of the workshop.

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The Bible is for everyone

 

As we have changed to a more holistic approach to delivering God’s Word, the churches have been reaching people in unexpected ways. The boy with the open shirt has a handicap – due to a defect in his legs he can stand and walk only in a squatting position. He also cannot talk. But he is not disabled! He squat-walked about three kilometres from his village to watch a Christian movie that was shown during the pastors‘ workshop. As you can see, he also has a beautiful attitude to life that warms the hearts of all who are privileged to know him.

Partnership

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This photo of a rain guage is very symbolic to me. It is a minor example of what can be accomplished through partnership. In this case, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), Appropriate Technology Projects, SIL (Wycliffe), and the Honinabi leaders work together in an airstrip maintenance program that includes recording rainfall.

The success of the pastors‘ workshops is also dependent on a partnership between SIL, MAF, and the Evangelical Church of PNG. Our ability to work together comes from our ability to share a vision that is driven by the Church.

Pastors‘ Workshops, part 1

 

The first trial Pastors‘ Workshop took place from 24 February to 14 March. It was fantastic, but exhausting. Now I’m finally ready to blog a number of snapshots from that three-week event.

Here I have just finished an introduction to Genesis, and Pastor Soli is writing the reference for the Creation account on the board. He then told the story as he had beforehand orally translated it into his language, Samo. It was beautiful to listen to, and then God guided him to use the local village meeting style to lead a group study of the passage. It was an immediate success in terms of group understanding and participation. This was a small miracle that set the tone and pattern of Bible study for the rest of the workshop.

A pound of nails

[Photo to be added later with better internet access.]

The only materials that had to be bought for the construction of this building (photo) was a half-kilogram bag of nails. The rest of the materials all come from the surrounding jungle – ironwood for posts and round timber for the frame at the moment. Later bamboo strips and sago leaves for the roof, black palm bark for the floor, and sago frond ribs and split cane for the walls will complete the construction of this „kitchen“ – which will be used to feed the participants and staff during the upcoming pastors‘ workshops.

Please pray for everyone involved in the preparations.

T minus 10 weeks

[Photo to be added later with better internet access.]

We are now in a ten-week countdown to the first pastors workshop! Following the advice of David Tute, while he and his family were here in the village with us, today we finished a draft of a ten-week work plan. Johanna (photo) made a three-page table that clearly shows who should do what when, so that by the start of the workshop everything should be ready. We are thankful for this progress!

Please ask God to help us tomorrow to finalize this work plan and distribute it to the workshop staff, make the invitation letter for the pastors, and initiate a process to develop a business plan for the workshop series.