Jump to content

- - - - -

Beyond Expectations

Posted by Connie Seale , in Orality, Asia 03 May 2019 · 0 views

From an IW serving in Indonesia


Impact. Like a stone thrown into a pond that sends out ripples far beyond its impact point, so was my hope that the orality workshop that I had led on our campus, Jaffray Theological School in Makassar, Indonesia, would change the hearts and habits of the participants far beyond the time that they spent in the workshop. A few weeks later one of the participants, Randy, asked if he could come talk to me in my office. When he came this is the story that he told me:


“Sunday, March 31 2019. ‘Beyond my expectations’, this is what I said in the middle of a discussion about a Bible story with a group of youth and youth leaders. I felt a little different that day. The month before all the Sunday School teachers and youth leaders at my church had agreed to divide into two teams of about 6-7 teachers; each team taking one month. That month was not Delvy and my team’s month to teach. We came to church to get together with the youth and Rian and Berlin, the leaders of the other team. I was looking forward to enjoying a time of sharing and hanging out with the youth when I was surprised by Rian and Berlin; they were not prepared to lead the discussion that day.


I was a bit worried, but the Lord reminded me about the orality workshop that I had attended. In my heart I felt happy and thankful that I was going to get a chance to put into practice this method that touched my heart when I first heard about it. Because this was the first time for me to use this, I was a bit uncertain what I should do. I only remembered a few of the principles: Tell the Bible story and ask the 6 discussion questions.


Finally, I decided to choose a story that wasn’t too long, because this was the first time for me to do this and there was no preparation time! I chose the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10: 38-42. From there I began to be even more impressed about orality.


We prayed and I asked the Holy Spirit to lead us and we began to study the story by reading it. I thought about actually telling the story myself, but I eventually decided to not do that because it would be a disaster and embarrassing because I didn’t remember the entire story. I asked everyone to read the story by dividing it up. I was the narrator, all of the girls would read the part of Martha, and all of the boys would read the words of Jesus. After that I asked them 4 of the 6 reflection questions.


The discussion was more alive than usual. I was amazed. Some of the youth were enthusiastic about answering; it was like a race to see who could answer. I had never experienced a situation like that before. In fact, I had thought about giving up on this ministry. I had sometimes felt that they didn’t pay attention; a few of them would play around on their phones. I felt that this ministry was not fruitful. Yet that day was different. I also felt happy and enthusiastic; the Lord increased my burden for ministry to teens.


One of the teens asked a question about people who do not yet believe in Jesus but live a moral life. At that point the Holy Spirit led me to talk about the Gospel to these teens. I told them that even though a person leads a moral life, that is worthless if they do not believe in Jesus. They are not saved. I went on to explain that we are not saved by our good works, only by grace in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and rose again. I said, ‘You need to remember this: our lives are already different. We do good works not so that we can be saved or so that we can make sure that we are saved. We do good works because we want to live in tune with the Lord’s will. I want to do good because I love God. God has shown his love for me, and because of this, I want to do good.”


I am not sure what the youth were feeling and thinking at that moment, but I felt like crying after I explained that. I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with my “younger brothers and sisters” that I loved. At that moment I looked at my teaching partner and said, “This is beyond my expectations.” I had never thought that the Lord would lead our group to this point through using orality.


I am thankful because God worked through this method of Bible storying. I have found a method that I like, fits with me, and carries me into the world of the Bible story. I have shared with the Sunday School teachers and youth leaders at our church about this method. Now, Delvy and I use it in our youth ministry. We are continuing to study about this method. Praise the name of the Lord!”

Yes, praise the name of the Lord for the rippling impact of his word!

New to the Orality Blog?

An oral learner is:


Someone whose most effective communication and learning format, style, or method is in accordance with oral formats, as contrasted to literate formats.
Someone who prefers to learn or process information by oral rather than written means. (These are literate people whose preferred communication style is oral rather than literate, even though they can read.)
Someone who cannot read or write (this represents about 5% of the world's population).

Did you know?


There are an estimated 4.35 billion people who are oral learners. This includes 3 billion adults, 900 million very young children, and 450 million children between the ages of eight and fifteen; all of these have basic or below basic literacy skills. They are oral learners because of their limited literacy skills.
The vast majority of missions work has been done for a literate audience. Unfortunately the vast majority of the true audience is therefore not able to connect with the Gospel.
Oral cultures are very relational - they share their lives with one another.
Most oral cultures will communicate with one another in narratives, dialogues and dramas, proverbs, songs, chants, and poetry. When asked what he thought about a new village school headmaster, a Central African replied "Let's watch how he dances".

Partnering Projects

Onestory (OS)

Simply the Story (STS)  

Storying Training for Trainers (ST4T)  

ION  International Orality Network