Friday, June 1, 2007

Two weeks ago, this week, next week (Email Update)

Update- June 1, 2007

Update- Short Version
· Two weeks ago: Our training in Thailand went well- learning how to make professional recordings of our stories, and how to possibly put the stories on the radio. It was also encouraging to reconnect with other teams and hear what He is doing in different countries.

· This week: Testing the whole set (29 stories) – with people who haven’t heard them.

· Next week: Conducting our Second Storying workshop- June 6-7th.

Longer Version
THIS WEEK (Testing the whole story set!)
I have already tested the whole set (our 29 stories combined are 2 hours and 3 minutes long!) with some friends from the highest caste and today, I finished testing the set with a friend of our house helper’s who is part of the lowest caste. This 45 year old woman has a third grade education and can’t read or write.

After hearing all the stories, the following conversations took place:

Me- “Do you think Moses, David, and Peter have a special relationship with God?
Friend- “Yes, because they listened to God, and did what he said…”
Me- “Do you think Kahani people would want this relationship with God?”
Friend- “yes…”
Me- How could they have that?
Friend- following God, trusting in Yishu, listening to what he says…
Me- But this God says to not worship other gods, so if you follow Him, what would that mean?
Friend- it means you can’t follow other gods.
Me- When I go to Kahani people’s homes, I see many pictures of gods and staues (idols), so I think for Kahani people this would be hard, or make them angry- what do you think?
Friend- yes, maybe…
Me- What is the benefit of following Yishu?
Friend- he can help you, he can do good things, you can also become good, etc.

In whom, or what is your confidence?
On a positive note, it seems that the idea that one can’t follow Yishu in addition to other gods seems to be getting across. But, it would also be nice if the answer to “what is the benefit of following Yishu” was, “to forgive my sins and help me have a right relationship with God!”

We realized several months ago that Kahani people don’t practice forgiveness, so because of that, we added phrases in our stories and additional stories that illustrated forgiveness to try and emphasize that point. However, I’m starting to wonder if most of the Kahani people do not see themselves as sinners- or at least not really bad sinners. So, even though now they might understand the concept of forgiveness from the stories, they don’t see a need for it themselves, and so they don’t mention this in their answers.

Realizing that the part of the message of the stories is perhaps still not getting through, I became discouraged. Thinking back over the two years that we’ve been here, I started to wonder what could have been done differently, or what other stories could have been told to make the message clearer. I felt hopeless, feeling like the stories are only that- just stories, and nothing more. Then, this morning I read:

“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by heat or worried by long months of doubt. Their leaves stay green and they go right on producing delicious fruit.”
~ Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT

God showed me that I had made the stories my confidence and hope. I started realizing that the stories are actually just stories. Yes, they are God’s Word, but without God’s holy spirit working through them, ‘ke ni hoon’ (‘nothing will happen’- a popular phrase among Kahani people). I thanked God for the reminder that my hope should be in Him. I also realized that I need to earnestly ask Him to fill in the gaps in the stories and for Him to reveal the truth to people.

I am so excited about what He will do at this workshop. There are more people planning to come to this one, and hopefully more women this time too! I can’t wait to share with them some of what we’ve done, but more importantly, model how they can craft stories and use them to reach the Kahani people.

While my main focus during the past years has been these stories, being able to pass on the tool of storying to nationals seems to make our work more worthwhile. It also feels like such a high privilege! I can’t wait to take it on!

Since Robin is away, I will be conducting the workshop, by myself. Pray for perseverance!

Praise for a refreshing time in Thailand.
Praise for reconnecting with neighbors, and them saying they missed me, and also missed the stories!!
Pray for Robin, as she has been in another country visiting a good friend for two weeks. Pray for a refreshing time for her.
Pray for Robin, as she travels to help with some consultant checks.
Pray for the storying workshop- Pray that I would be able to effectively and practically communicate the idea of storying. And pray that the participants catch the vision of how to use stories to reach their own Kahani people!
Pray also for adjustment to the idea of leaving my “home” here in less than 3 months.

Til All Have Heard,

~ Elizabeth

“It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.”
~ Ephesians 11a

No comments: