Storytelling reaches into a non-literate community

Again and again we have witnessed the effectiveness of storytelling in oral cultures. Our Central Asian country is a multinational country where many nations and ethnic groups found their home. One such group is the gypsies.

The majority of the gypsies are illiterate and have an oral culture. In 2017 the first Bible school for the new believers in this ethnic group was established in Z-town. Considering their culture based on orality, the teaching method is based on storytelling. So we tell stories from the Scripture, different interesting parts of stories and parables.

It is interesting that they learn, not through reading and writing, but by listening and repeating stories and verses from the Bible. Believers in Z-town are glad to hear the stories. They like to repeat and to retell them, and what is remarkable, they do it very thoroughly.

Movies are also part of the program. So one day after they watched one of our movies, one woman was so excited that she could not stay silent, saying:

“This movie is all about us! What an amazing care and love God granted us, illiterate people, not knowing even how to read or write!”

Many children, boys and girls, are being filled with joy because they can learn by heart the Scripture verses. Some teenagers can even retell whole chapters from the Bible.

We believe that these stories, verses, truths from the Gospel will not only fill their own hearts, but will also be spread by them among other people who also cannot read and write. Those who now gained hope, faith, God’s grace and the love will surely pass on these beautiful gifts to their friends and relatives.

Today there is a small Christian community among them, 20-25 people. Many women quit begging and started to earn money with certain things they can do; for example, collecting and selling empty plastic bottles. Also men are starting to receive passports for themselves and birth certificates for their children. This is huge step because now their children can have access to education! And children are truly thirsty for knowledge. School teachers say that these children are very well-behaved and learn fast.

This is amazing work of God that we witness and we praise the Lord for an opportunity to be part of it.

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