“The Bible stories you gave us we will share with everyone. We will not forget you or the stories you gave us. We have heard the Word of God and it has changed us.”–Mama Elizabeth, a co-founder of the inter-church group we trained.
“While we were sleeping we were hearing the stories!” –Pauline, the Maasai organizer for the training
“We didn’t make this plan; God made this plan.” –a participant referring to the training
I so wish that you could see the women share stories from Mark 4-5! In the same way that they tell each other their own stories, they now tell Bible stories–with excitement, drama, and lots of movement. One woman even wrote a song about Jesus’s power in these stories.
God was there in a big way as our team of three women–Cindy Henderson, Jolene Balazs, and I–went to the Maasai tribe in the small community of Osupukiai in southern Kenya to do orality training. Over the course of four days we taught around thirty women to tell a set of stories from Mark and encouraged them to learn more. Jolene has trained others around the world, and she felt that this was an exceptionally successful trip.
The women came from the surrounding area and included participants from three nearby churches who ranged in age from teenagers to “Mamas,” women of the oldest generation. Only the young women can read, but all of them in every age group loved sharing the stories in an oral and dramatic way in their native Maasai language each night with family and others they encountered. Those who heard told them to return to the training and come back with more stories.
Our team is so humbled that God would sovereignly move Mama Loice, who lives across the world from us in a small mud-floor home without electricity, running water, and bathrooms, to invite us to come train the women of her Christian community service group. Her nephew Pastor Julius found our ministry online, and Loice rode tied to the back of a motorcycle to travel about 12 miles to the internet cafe in nearest town to send me emails.
BOW also provided water filters for their community. Maasai men volunteered each day to build them under the direction of Vincent, a Kenyan who works with an organization that has developed a filtering system. The men not only built two filters that will stay at the church where we did the training, but they are now building two more to sell to neighboring communities. From that they use funds to build more, while keeping part of the proceeds.
These types of filters require no power; instead they use layers of natural products such as gravel and sand to filter the water. (I wish I could remember all the details!) Vincent trained the men to check and maintain the filter so that it will last for many, many years to come, protecting the precious people in the area from many diseases. He taught them to find the best sources for the cleanest water first and then use the filter.
Thank you for your prayers for us! We had no transportation problems–unless you consider the Nairobi traffic nightmares. All of us returned home healthy and grateful that God allowed us to be part of something far greater than ourselves. We left behind women who have already shared the stories we taught them with other Maasai. God answered prayer and provided for all of our needs.
Part of our hearts will always be with these gracious and joyful people on the other side of the world. Although their experiences and culture greatly differ from ours, we share the same faith and our hearts are forever entwined with theirs. We are praying about returning next August to train the women in a set of stories that together tell the metanarrative, or big story, of the Bible. Pray for wisdom, provision, and planning. We hope to take a larger team of women who have been trained in orality through E3 Partners, just as we have been. Pray that God will raise up just the right women to join us.