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Story telling power   PDF  Print  E-mail 

March 2009: Asher is a young man from Pakistan. He felt helpless when he heard that a number of Urdu speaking migrant workers from Pakistan were attending a Telugu language (a South Indian language unrelated to Urdu) gathering, as there were no Urdu speaking teachers to help them.

In March, Asher attended a training workshop to learn how to tell Bible stories. He was one among a group of 30 men and women who attended a 20-hour training course in story telling in Jebel Ali, Dubai.

Story telling is fast catching on in the UAE asan effective method of sharing the Good News with literate and non literate audiences alike. As a result, attendance in youth groups and labour camp meetings is increasing, and there is renewed interest in studying and applying Scripture to daily life.

As part of its overall objective to engage in effective Scripture distribution, the Bible Society in the Gulf supplements its distribution programs by organising workshops and training sessions to equip individuals to share the Gospel. With the support of the United Christian Church in Dubai, the Bible Society office in the UAE invited a Simply the Story (STS) team of The God's Story Project to train a group of selected people in this new but traditional method of communication. Participants representing 14 different languages, includng Urdu, had the privilege of being trained.

Simply the Story is an "oral style" inductive Bible study. This "hands-on" workshop is designed to equip participants to tell accurate Bible stories and to teach Scripture, discussion style without the use of personal notes. First, the audience hears a Bible story or passage three times. It is then discussed and finally the listeners themselves contribute personal applications.

After the training Asher felt ready to use his newly-learned skills of storytelling. So he contacted Anand Rao, the Telugu pastor, and asked him if he could share a story in Urdu during the Telugu meeting. The Urdu listeners were deeply touched by the story Asher shared in their mother tongue. They wanted him to come and teach them every week. They have decided to meet every week, separately from the Telugu group, to study God's Word together in Urdu.

The workshop has similarly impacted others who underwent the training.

A participant from the Coptic Orthodox Church, who used the STS technique in his youth group, said, "Since I started using this method, the response has been amazing" .

The pastor of an Amharic language congregation said, "STS changed my style of teaching Scripture to my congregation".

Another person said, "It has affected my daily meditation".

Still another said, "I always found it difficult to memorize Scripture. Now I learned how to remember the exact words in a Bible story easily".

One innovative participant even shared a story in an online chat room and 25 people joined in.

This is the kind of story that news channels reporting the economic downturn in Dubai tend to overlook; however, the Bible Society in the Gulf believes that this is the time when migrant workers and others need to hear all the more, the message of hope that the Bible gives.
BSG Information Officer

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