Since 2013, StoryRunners has worked with national trainers to complete 26 School of Storying language projects in the Francophone Africa countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad and Togo. People are coming to faith in Christ, and their lives are changed as they turned away from voodoo practices.
Story groups have formed and churches have been planted, often in very remote places where previously there were few, if any, believers. God is at work, and He is using oral Bible stories to advance His kingdom among oral people groups because stories speak to their heart, especially stories in their mother tongue. However, the impact of the support we receive doesn’t end after we complete a School of Storying.
Even though StoryRunners has never worked in Niger, a 99.5% non-Christian West African country of 22 million people, StoryRunners is still having an impact in Niger!
With few believers and a literacy rate of only 19%, Niger is a perfect place for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with oral Bible stories!
Eli*, a West African School of Storying leader, has seen the potential harvest firsthand. A Fulani from Benin, he is a multi-lingual veteran School of Storying trainer who has participated in six School of Storying projects, including Fulfulde, the language spoken by his Fulani people. When I met with West African School of Storying leaders in December, Eli* described the open door to take oral Bible stories to the 1.8 million Fulani people of Niger.
“Pastor Tambaya from Maradi in Niger invited me to share oral Bible stories with the Fulani people in Niger. He explained that they have serious difficulties reaching the Fulfulde and Tuareg people because they are nomadic. In November, I trained eleven people who are now ready to use oral Bible stories to reach the many, many Fulfulde who don’t yet know Christ. Also, Pastor Tambaya plans to train pastors at the Fulfulde Bible School in Dakoro, Niger.”
“I was amazed how quickly the word spread about the training. Soon after I returned from Maradi, some pastors in Niamey, the capital of Niger, invited me to meet with them. They proposed an orality strategy for evangelism throughout the entire country in languages like Hausa, the most spoken language in Niger, plus other languages such as Zarma, Dendi, Fulfulde, and Gourmanchema. Although I was there only one day, I met some truck drivers from Burkina Faso, and I used an audio player to share stories in their language, Moore*, and then I demonstrated how to lead a small impromptu story group.” (*StoryRunners completed the Moore set in 2014)
Each visit to Africa strengthens my confidence that we are working with the right people. Eli* exemplifies these faithful, devoted people. Not only does he serve as a School of Storying trainer, but he uses the training he received from StoryRunners to reach people who need to hear about Jesus, most recently the people of Niger. StoryRunners did not ask him to go to Niger nor did we provide any financial resources for his mission trips to Niger. However, Eli* followed his calling from God, responding to this opportunity from God. Just like his evangelist grandfather and his pastor father, he is sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those who don’t know Him, with those who live in a world of spiritual darkness.