TWR Europe’s “Epic Story” in North Africa
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Imagine attending church one Sunday only to find that the pastor has decided to give his sermon in Spanish. You might remember a few words from that high school Spanish class, but a whole sermon is too complex to understand. As hard as you both might try, the pastor's effort to communicate would be lost on you.
This, in essence, is what has happened for many mission organizations over the past century. Having equipped their missionaries to learn a new language, it took many years for these ministries to realize that the format of teaching was just as important. Two-thirds of the world's population consists of oral learners - people who can't, don't, or won't learn by literate means. Yet most missionaries are trained as literate communicators, using outlines and step-by-step processes, even when speaking.
How can we reach those who learn differently? “With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything" (Mk. 4:33-34). In Jesus' time, the whole of society was made up of oral learners! So Jesus became a storyteller. And so must we.
In North Africa and the Middle East, 41% of the population is considered non-literate. Yet just four percent of Christian media production is audio-visual, despite the fact that non-literate people can learn just as well as literates and generally have a superior memory. However, information must come to oral communicators through stories, parables, poems, songs, proverbs, and other similar formats.
Radio provides an amazing opportunity for telling the Good News in story, song, and radio drama format. In a culture where oral communicators pass down stories from one generation to the next, just think how impactful the story of Jesus could be!
Will you help Jesus tell His story?
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is my second letter that I write you to tell you a great thanks for the good work you are doing for God's glory, as well as for the salvation of humanity. I received your mail. Thank you for the Bible and the movie that you sent me, which helped me a lot to fortify my faith. Certainly, you have heard about the new laws promulgated against evangelism by authorities of our country. Some think that this event is going to sadden us; but the opposite happened, for it only confirms what Jesus said: If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will also keep yours. In conclusion, we know that the victory is acquired, and that no person in the world will be able to take from us our joy and the peace that our Lord gave us. Say Amen with us! Let's continue praying for one another. See you soon."
“Hello, my brothers in Christ. We used to say that we came out of darkness to the light, and this is true. Personally, I was in the darkness when I browsed the ocean of [another] religion for more than 20 years. I made a lot of trouble for my wife and my children. I often threatened my wife to marry a second woman. When I consulted the [religious leaders], they all encouraged me to get a second wife. They were saying that our prophet…had married several women besides the concubines he had. It was a dark evening that evening!
“I went home; everybody was crying, my wife and children. Five minutes later, there was a knock at the door; it was my Christian neighbor; he heard the cries, and he also knew about my intentions. After greeting him and telling him that I am at his service, he whispered to me: 'I brought you a hand!' I asked, 'Which hand?' He answered: 'A hand that is going to wipe away the tears from the eyes of your children, the hand of Jesus!" I looked at my three children and saw that each of them had their hands on their eyes and wiped away the tears and smiled. My wife did the same. For me it was like a vision. I saw that it was the hand of Jesus who wiped away the tears from the eyes and brought back to them joy.
“The scene touched me so much that I started to cry. I would appreciate if you could read my letter on the program so that my Christian neighbor could hear this testimony. He said to me: 'Enough cries! Jesus, where he enters a home, wipes away the tears of the family.' And at once a smile came to my face. He opened the book of songs and suggested that we sing the song, "Yes you deserve to reign in our heart, Alleluia!" My neighbor sang first, and we repeated after him. From that day the whole family belongs to Christ, and the peace of God the Father is on us. Receive my brotherly greetings."
- The news and other media sources often focus on the needs of starving people around the world who don’t get enough to eat each week. Youssef compares the 15-minute TWR broadcasts to food to illustrate how little spiritual nourishment his people are receiving. Why does the Church seem less aware and concerned about spiritual malnutrition than physical nurturing?
- When Youssef discovered TWR, he was so eager to contact them, he dictated letters to children who could read and write. Do you remember a time when you were that eager to learn more about the Christian faith and salvation? What boundaries do we have to overcome to learn more about Christ?
- Youssef uses various colorful stories in his speech. TWR uses stories to better relate to oral societies, as Jesus did. Are there strata of our culture that you feel would better relate to this format of communication? Should we adjust to the growing number of people in our churches that prefer to relate this way?
- Youssef refers to radio as a lifeline for him and those like him. What lifelines do we have in our lives? What would we do if they were cut off or reduced?
- To build a fire, you need kindling and then larger and larger pieces of wood. If you want to have a fire that will keep you warm and provide light, you cannot use just the small kindling. How can you build up the fire in your life? What about the fires in other people’s lives?
Oral societies respond to storytelling through radio - you can help them by sponsoring all or part of these programs!
- Arabic - "Right or Wrong"
- Per week - USD $705
- Berber Kabyle - "New Hope" for Youth
- Per week - USD $1,000
- Bosnian - "Stories from the Past"
- Per week - USD $375
- Farsi/Persian - Oral Bible
- Per week - USD $1,050
- Iraqi - "The Way"
- Per week - USD $705
- Kurdish Kurmanji - "Old Wise Man"
- Per week - USD $1,650
- Moroccan Arabic - Bible Fountain
- Per week - USD $515
- Serbian Romani - Shalom Romalen
- Per week - USD $62.50
- Tamazight (Berber)
- Per week - USD $470
- Uzbe - "Path to Truth"
- Per week - USD $485
Please contact us regarding specific countries or languages for which you would like information. Call us in the U.S. at 1-800-456-7897 Or, find an Area Director or country office nearest you: www.twr.org
Further Information and Resources
c/o TWR Central Europe
PO Box 12
Websites on North Africa
- BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/country_profiles/default.stm
- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Africa
- AllAfrica: http://allafrica.com/northafrica
- News Journal: http://www.north-africa.com/one.htm
- U.S. State Dept.: http://www.state.gov/p/nea/ci